In February 2016, I had the opportunity to study in Zagreb, Croatia, for one semester as part of the TRSM’s International Exchange Program.
Studying and living abroad was something I never thought I would do during university. I just never felt like I had what it takes to do that. Even if I did, I never would have imagined doing it in Croatia. But in the end, I couldn’t be happier that I took a leap of faith that led to some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.
When I first heard about the international exchange program, I didn’t even consider Croatia as an option. However, while choosing my top three choices, I decided I wanted to go somewhere that would be different from Toronto, would give me a chance to learn another language, and (most importantly) would be affordable. Croatia is indeed an unusual choice and not a lot of students from previous exchanges have gone, which is another reason it piqued my interest.
Although I didn’t know anyone at all when I landed in the country, my exchange experience was filled with lots of wonderful memories with the new friends I made that I will cherish for life. The opportunities to travel from Croatia to other European destinations are endless and you can do so without breaking the bank (at least not entirely!). Croatia and its surrounding countries have lots of natural wonders and architectural attractions that really amazed me and took me by surprise.
Going on exchange is an incredible experiential learning opportunity that allows you to gain insights on various topics according to your host country’s culture. In my case, being able to study in a smaller country broadened my perspective on topics such as innovation, marketing, and international relations. I also had the opportunity to attend the annual New Europe Business Forum organized by the Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM), which gathers leaders from different fields to discuss various opportunities and challenges in the global business environment.
If you’re planning to go on exchange or about to go on exchange, my advice is to keep an open mind and expect lots of changes! Spin these changes to your advantage and use them for your own improvement. If you are having doubts about going on exchange (been there, done that – I was so close to canceling my own exchange semester), think about all the new experiences you could have. This is not a common opportunity after all and in the end, you will only regret the things that you choose not to do.
Interested in going on your own international exchange?
Visit the TRSM International Exchange website for more information and to find out when you can attend a program information session.