“For me, the biggest reason that it’s worth it is the community aspect here. The ability to grow spiritually, socially and academically all in one location is quite amazing.” – James Bustard, TWU ’12 Psychology Major
Although prestige and location are important considerations in choosing a University overseas, it is equally important to consider the social and community aspects, after all, you will have to live in the University community for 4 years of your life. Studying abroad presents various pros and cons, and uprooting your life to a brand-new country and culture is by no means a casual walk in the park. Just because it’s sometimes difficult, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t persevere, because you really can’t put a price on the memories and personal growth as a result of investing in overseas higher education. It is critical to choose a University environment as much as you choose a University brand.
“Studying at a new university means meeting lots of new people and the opportunity to make new friends,” Esther Nassaris of The Independent notes. “Because this will be a unique experience, you’re more likely to appreciate the friends you make. The bonds…will be lifelong, which will be incredibly useful for when you finish uni and want to travel,” she adds. “Need a place to stay during travelling? Well, now you have friends who live in those places.”
A first-rate institution known to harbour an unparalleled community vibe is Trinity Western University (TWU), ranked Canada’s best in terms of its enriching educational experience. Set in the city of Langley, a quaint municipality of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, TWU offers an elite education in the heart of one of the safest and most stunning global regions. As a premier North American University, TWU blends a local, national and international campus culture, with a vibrant population representing more than 40 nations. As a prestigious university built on Christian tradition, students receive a ‘whole-person’ education that inspires heart and mind.
“For me, the biggest reason that it’s worth it is the community aspect here,” says James Bustard, TWU alumnus. “The ability to grow spiritually, socially and academically all in one location is quite amazing,” he says. “It’s changed me because I’ve been able to think through what I believe. I’ve been able to invest in others and grow as an individual, and others have been investing in me.”
TWU appreciates that it takes time to acclimatise to the university environment. Add the fact that you’re also adjusting to a foreign country and culture, and it’s likely you’ll rely on a solid system of support. At TWU, the UT1 Year is specifically-designed to help you thrive throughout your first year, granting you free and invaluable access to experienced learning and language coaches, while offering the chance to learn alongside the University’s ambitious international population. Each cohort begins the program at the same time, learning together in 50 percent of their total classroom time and learning with students in their major for the other 50 percent of the time.
An International Host is also there to help you get settled, welcoming you from the moment you arrive and lending a hand for the duration of your stay. From helping you arrange your bank account and insurance, to showing you how to use the buses and make the most of daily life, the Host has your back for every second you send at TWU – and even long after you leave. After this first year of support, you are integrated totally into the second year of study without missing a beat. You are on your way to completing your degree in four years.
Taking the plunge as a non-native student can sometimes feel lonely, isolating and a little overwhelming, but the best way to say bye to those study abroad blues is to delve into activity beyond the classroom walls. It really doesn’t matter whether you choose to live on- or off-campus, there are plenty of ways to become part of the Trinity Western family. Whether you love sports, theatre, music or just chilling out with friends, TWU’s celebrated campus programs will allow you to connect with those similar to you. If you like to watch Sport or Theatre, you will have the opportunity to experience sports teams that have won 10 national championships in the past 10 years, nationally recognized music and theatre, as well as studying from an academic community that consistently receives a nationally-rated A+ grade in Quality of Education.
“At Trinity, I’ve really gotten plugged in and connected with others, my peers, through dorm life, academics in my classroom” adds James. “Soccer and pick up sports allow me to bridge the gap with a lot of guys,” he explains. “You quickly put a game together and make it happen in the middle of campus. Guys are walking by and you can just pull them into the game and, before you know it, you’ve got four on four and it’s a good time.”
The TWU campus community is colourful and global, with a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and adult degree-completion programs that consistently produce leaders who influence the world. And the best thing about living and learning in one of the world’s most beautiful countries with people from all four corners of the globe? Enriching your life with varied worldviews and discovering a new respect for international cultures.
“When I first came to Trinity, I guess I had a very different worldview than I do now,” James explains. “Things just seemed black and white, and in a lot of ways I hadn’t really thought through and processed a lot of the things that I believe. I’ve [now] been able to develop a critical worldview and to look at a lot of things that I just hadn’t thought through before, and so I guess it’s freeing.”
“I think a lot of times in life in order to get growth, you either need to go through a hard time or take time to work through and develop what you believe,” he concludes, “so that’s very much what Trinity has allowed me to do; to deconstruct my worldview and break it down to the fundamental beliefs that I have, and then in turn, pore over those things and rebuild them to continue to establish a worldview that’s going to take me forward from here.”
Trinity Western University is much more than your home for the next four years. It is, in fact, your second global family, and one that remains for your entire life.