Emily Tsui

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Year: Fourth

Home Town: Scarborough, Ontario

Program of Study: Specialist in International Relations, major in European Studies, and minor in Political Science

College: Trinity College

Why did you choose U of T?

U of T has the best international relations program in the country – it combines an essential mix of history, economics, and political science. I also selected it for its Trinity One - International Relations program which I knew would be a welcome challenge as well as to interact with professors on a personal basis early on.

What advice would you give to first year students?

Get involved! You'll never know who you might meet. In my first year, I worked on the North American Model United Nations conference, which connected me to some amazing upper years and fellow students with similar interests. One of the upper years connected me with the political science community at U of T – 2 years later, this allowed me to be elected to be President of the Association of Political Science Students.

What has been your favourite course so far? 

POL359 - Enlarging Europe – is taught by Professor Robert Austin and through his many anecdotes and engaging lecture style, I have been able to learn (and remember) a lot more about eastern Europe and its surrounding regions than I ever thought possible. Since it also has an International Course Module component, I thought it was fantastic that I got to travel to the Republic of Georgia (near Russia) during Reading Week and did some primary research on energy relations between the European Union and Georgia.

What surprised you the most about university?

The possibilities that are available once I arrived. Originally I came in with an intent to only study international relations, but I quickly became fascinated by the other fields of studies and through attending public events conveniently located at the Munk School of Global Affairs, I became more aware of issues that were not within my studies. I came in with an intent to specialize in German energy politics, but now I am also writing my senior thesis on Arctic governance and politics. I am also pleasantly surprised at the degree to which language instruction has been effective – after over a decade in French, I still can barely speak it, but after three years in German here at U of T, I feel confident that I can have an argument with a native speaker.

What unique learning opportunities have you participated in?

I've participated in: 1. Trinity One Program – this helped me to get a head start on learning and challenging myself in university, as well as to meet a great group of friends and to develop effective study habits early on. 2. Summer Abroad to Southeastern Europe – this allowed me to combine my passion of travelling and learning, and I found that learning a topic and then going in the field to experience it is something that I will never forget. 3. International Course Module – this allowed me to develop strong research and interviewing skills while experiencing a totally different culture, which is something that I would have never been able to do here in Toronto.

What is your favourite thing about the University of Toronto?

The opportunities available here at the University and being downtown are truly endless. From being involved in numerous clubs, I have been able to meet faculty and to be constantly inspired and learn from the high achieving students.