When Emily Faubert was just 17 years old, she ventured abroad alone to Scotland to visit a family friend. In high school at the time, Faubert’s time abroad in the highlands left a lasting impression and a yearning to study abroad herself.
Fast forward two years later, and Faubert found herself back in the United Kingdom, studying in Canterbury, England as part of Algoma University’s student exchange program. In her second year of the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program, Faubert spent September to March studying at Canterbury Christ Church University.
“It was an incredible experience,” she begins. “I learned so much about myself, academics, other cultures, and more. I got to travel to other countries. I can’t say enough good things about my student exchange. I learned a lot about myself since this was really the first time I was living alone, taking on the world as an independent adult.”
Now two years later, Faubert has had ample time to reflect upon her exchange and her time overseas. For her, one of the best aspects was being an ambassador for Canada, her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, and Algoma U. “For my first semester abroad, I was one of two Canadians studying in Canterbury. In my second semester, I was the only one. So I learned a lot on how to be a representative of my home university and country. It was a really unique experience to be the only Canadian. What I told others about where I came from, they believed to be true and used that to shape their ideas of Canada and Algoma U. I was responsible for creating an accurate representation of what it means to be Canadian.”
While abroad, Faubert also visited North Ireland, Denmark, Wales, France, Belgium, and Germany. She even had her mother in tow for one stint to another country. “My parents were very supportive of me going abroad. My mom had never been to Europe so I convinced her to come with me when I first left for my exchange. We went to Paris together and then she helped me move into my room in England. I remember saying goodbye to her on a street corner and watching her cab pull away. It was a really scary moment. That first night all I could think was, ‘What did I just get myself into?’”
Those initial apprehensions quickly subsided. Faubert now looks back on her seven months abroad as some of the best in her life.
Back in Canada, Faubert is set to graduate this June. While she plans to return to Algoma U in the fall to take a few additional courses, she has big plans for her future. After attending an information session put on by Student Services, Faubert has set her sights on earning her Bachelor of Education abroad in either Scotland or Wales through the CANTEACH program. She then plans to continue with teaching overseas. She does plan to return to Canada eventually, continuing working in education in some realm, be it teaching, guidance, or student services.
Being from Sault Ste. Marie, Faubert had always planned to attend Algoma due to its proximity to home and affordability. However, the opportunities that have presented themselves to Faubert have made Algoma appear the perfect choice all along.
“I did apply to other schools but I always planned to attend Algoma. The opportunities I’ve been able to take part in have really contributed to my overall experience.”
Aside from her student exchange, Faubert has also been a Tutor in the Classroom, working with elementary school children in preparation for a future career in education.
Her classroom learning has also been anything but ordinary. “I took some biology courses, which were amazing. Because the class sizes were smaller, we were able to do a lot outdoors and lots of hands-on learning. I remember catching and surveying crickets and going in to the St. Mary’s River netting fish. Everyone got those opportunities, which I think is really unique to Algoma.”
Plus, the cultural activities happening on campus are an added bonus, she touts. Identifying as Métis, Faubert has had the opportunity to participate in the workshops, smudging, and pow wows for Indigenous populations on campus. “But what I like even more, is that none of these activities are exclusively for Indigenous people. Everyone is welcome. When I visit the Gathering at the Rapids Pow Wow and there’s a teepee and a ceremonial fire right outside the George Leech Centre, it makes campus feel even more welcoming. Kind of like a home, in a way. And everyone is invited to take part in these activities. We’re all part of this big community on campus where we respect each other. And I’ve noticed this community feeling amongst faculty, in class, and in the various departments around campus. I think the community aspect is what Algoma does best. I’m really going to miss the home-like environment when I’m done taking classes here.”