Why I love living and studying in Toronto, Canada

31 May

Daksh Sikri, who grew up in Mumbai, India, didn’t know a lot about Canada when he accepted a spot at University of Toronto’s engineering program four years ago. Back home, Canada can get overshadowed by the vast number of US schools when you are trying to decide where to study. Here, the 22-year-old Daksh, now in the fourth year of the undergraduate program in industrial engineering, shares his experience of living in Canada and studying at one of the top 20 universities in the world. His story in his own words:

I was fond of math and science in high school, but I wanted my university experience to be about more than just book learning. I applied to three Canadian schools, and U of T (University of Toronto) was my first pick.

Toronto is one of the best cities to live in in terms of career prospects as well as the diversity of the city, and even diversity of the food (I learned to eat sushi here). It has helped me develop as a person.

The diversity is welcome, especially at a time when there is political turmoil in other parts of the world. I have friends from Thunder Bay and Vancouver, as well as from Trinidad and Hong Kong. That’s a great network. In Canada, the value system is built on immigration and people are so receptive, it’s incredible.

At the same time the standards are every bit as good as they are at places like Yale and Carnegie Mellon.

My engineering program was great because of the professors and resources. My internship experiences included doing business development at a growth-stage start up, and consulting at IBM’s global headquarters in New York. I have already signed up for a consulting job at AT Kearney, which I will put off until 2018, because after I graduate this spring I want to focus on my own start-up venture for a year. It has to do with artificial intelligence but I can’t say anything more about it.

I found a place to live five minutes from campus and 10 minutes from Bay Street, the financial center, so I walk everywhere. I also keep myself busy on campus. I joined the model United Nations club at Hart House on campus, and ended up organizing a model UN conference. I love playing ping pong, and found a club called Spin with ping pong tables, close to the university; that’s the kind of place you’d never find at home. I also got involved with Your Next Career Network, a 50-member non-profit career development organization that organized Canada’s largest-ever start-up Expo last year. We brought together 170 companies and 6,000 students.

Another amazing benefit of studying in Canada is that if you have a job once you graduate, then you are eligible to apply to become a permanent resident here. That is a real advantage that I don’t think the US, UK, or Australia offer to international students. For people who don’t want to return to their home country, U of T is a great path to citizenship.


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