Stefan is a second year software engineering student, and in June 2023 he travelled to Toronto with the DMU Careers team to learn more about the employability opportunities in the technology industry. He shared his thoughts with us about his time in Canada
Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?
I decided to travel abroad with DMU Global because I saw it as an incredible opportunity to broaden my horizons and gain a global perspective. Toronto, with its thriving tech industry, was a perfect destination for me to explore and learn from professionals in my field (software engineering). I wanted to immerse myself in a different culture, expand my network, and enhance my understanding of the global tech landscape.
How helpful was the DMU Global bursary in allowing you to participate?
The DMU Global bursary played a crucial role in enabling my participation in this experience. It provided the financial support necessary to cover the costs associated with the trip, including accommodation, transportation, and activities. Without the bursary, it would have been challenging for me to afford such an enriching opportunity. I am extremely grateful for the assistance that made this experience accessible and unforgettable.
Did you notice any cultural differences whilst abroad, that you needed to adapt to?
During my time abroad, I noticed several cultural differences that required some adaptation. Canadians were incredibly polite and friendly, which created a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I had to adjust to their social norms and manners, such as saying “sorry” and “thank you” more frequently. Additionally, the multicultural nature of Toronto exposed me to diverse perspectives, languages, and customs, enriching my understanding of global interconnectedness.
What activities did you participate on whilst abroad?
During my time in Toronto, I had the opportunity to engage in a variety of exciting activities. I explored the historical Casa Loma Museum, immersing myself in its captivating architecture and rich history. The Royal Ontario Museum also offered a fascinating journey through art, culture, and natural history, broadening my knowledge and appreciation for the diverse exhibits. Additionally, as a passionate sports enthusiast and a football referee, I was able to attend a Major Soccer League match which was an unforgettable experience
Were there any local foods or drinks that you discovered and enjoyed?
Toronto offered a delightful culinary experience. I had the pleasure of trying local specialties such as poutine, a savory dish of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. I also discovered delicious maple syrup-infused treats, like pancakes and pastries, which showcased Canada’s love for this natural sweetener.
What was the highlight of your DMU Global experience?
One of the major highlights of my DMU Global experience was the opportunity to visit prominent tech companies in Toronto alongside my peers. We had the privilege of visiting LinkedIn for a brilliant session led by Alix Altow, which shed light on the importance of networks and contacts. The session was engaging and provided valuable insights on how to stand out on the platform. It was an eye-opening experience that emphasized the significance of building professional relationships in the tech industry.
The combined experiences of visiting companies, engaging with industry experts, and learning from my colleagues made the DMU Global trip truly exceptional. It solidified my passion for technology and opened my eyes to the vast array of opportunities available in the field. I am incredibly grateful for the hands-on learning experiences and the chance to network with professionals who are shaping the tech landscape.
What was the most interesting thing that you learnt as part of the trip?
One of the most interesting things I learnt during the trip was the power of collaboration and networking in the tech industry. Witnessing industry professionals discuss their collaborative efforts, cross-disciplinary projects, and innovative solutions was truly inspiring. It highlighted the significance of building connections and the impact it has on problem-solving and creativity. Technological advancements often emerge from the intersection of various fields, reinforcing the importance of collaborative approaches. Networking provides opportunities to exchange ideas, gain new perspectives, and explore potential collaborations. This experience deepened my understanding of the collaborative nature of the tech industry and ignited a desire to cultivate connections for future projects.
Has your DMU Global experience inspired you to pursue further international experiences?
Absolutely! My DMU Global experience has ignited a desire within me to seek out further international experiences. The exposure to different cultures, perspectives, and professional networks has expanded my horizons and reinforced the value of global engagement. I am now eager to explore more countries, engage with diverse communities, and continue to broaden my understanding of the field of technology.
What would you say to somebody considering participating on a DMU Global experience?
I would highly encourage anyone considering participating in a DMU Global experience to seize the opportunity without hesitation. The journey offers a unique chance to step out of your comfort zone, gain cultural understanding, and self-development, and expand your personal and professional networks. It is a transformative experience that not only enhances academic knowledge but also fosters personal growth and global citizenship.