University  of Toronto By Mehran Ataee
Reasons for  the exchange: <ul><li>To satisfy my Regional Specialization Requirements at the Department of Near and Middle...
The UofT Experience <ul><li>Pros: </li></ul><ul><li>Large university of a high academic caliber </li></ul><ul><li>Very div...
The UofT Experience <ul><li>Cons  (Can’t think of many, but)  : </li></ul><ul><li>It was hard to find good food on campus:...
<ul><li>My house, located close to Portugal Town </li></ul>
The Department of  Near and Middle  Eastern Studies at UofT <ul><li>Pros: </li></ul><ul><li>The Department has a strong Is...
The Department of  Near and Middle  Eastern Studies at UofT <ul><li>Cons: </li></ul><ul><li>Many courses were not offered,...
The Department of  Near and Middle  Eastern Studies at UofT <ul><li>Some courses I took </li></ul><ul><li>Modern Middle Ea...
Networking and the extracurricular   <ul><li>As intended, I made many interesting connections that really enriched my unde...
Networking and the extracurricular <ul><li>Some organizations I worked with: </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian Muslim Union </li>...
Networking and the extracurricular <ul><li>I also did some volunteer work at El-Farouk Khaki’s refugee law office </li></u...
<ul><li>Some of my co-workers at El-Farouk Khaki’s law office </li></ul>
<ul><li>I recommend Toronto for those GRSers who want to do an exchange, but don’t want to travel too far. Toronto is trul...
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University of Toronto Exchange

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University of Toronto Exchange

  1. 1. University of Toronto By Mehran Ataee
  2. 2. Reasons for the exchange: <ul><li>To satisfy my Regional Specialization Requirements at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at UofT </li></ul><ul><li>To make connections in the more populous Middle Eastern community in Toronto </li></ul>
  3. 3. The UofT Experience <ul><li>Pros: </li></ul><ul><li>Large university of a high academic caliber </li></ul><ul><li>Very diverse student and staff population </li></ul><ul><li>Many opportunities for students to get involved on campus </li></ul><ul><li>The main campus is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Toronto and is connected to the subway lines </li></ul><ul><li>My favourite: there were always interesting and cutting-edge conferences or interesting lectures by world renown academics, activists, politicians, etc. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The UofT Experience <ul><li>Cons (Can’t think of many, but) : </li></ul><ul><li>It was hard to find good food on campus: hot dog stands were ubiquitous </li></ul><ul><li>Students were more competitive and tensions and rivalries were more serious at UofT in comparison to the more relaxed environment at UBC </li></ul><ul><li>And of course, the winters were cold </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>My house, located close to Portugal Town </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at UofT <ul><li>Pros: </li></ul><ul><li>The Department has a strong Islamic studies, Middle Eastern Language studies, Ancient Middle East Civilization Studies (Egyptology etc.) reputation </li></ul><ul><li>It was a relatively small and cohesive department and there was a close relationship between students and faculty </li></ul><ul><li>The student body was very active and up to date with geopolitical and academic developments in the region </li></ul><ul><li>There were weekly lectures on various topics related to the region </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at UofT <ul><li>Cons: </li></ul><ul><li>Many courses were not offered, probably due to a lack of funding; all of the courses I had originally intended to take were not offered! </li></ul><ul><li>The department is not very strong in cultural or critical studies of the Middle East </li></ul><ul><li>There was some animosity between some of the Jewish and Arab students </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at UofT <ul><li>Some courses I took </li></ul><ul><li>Modern Middle Eastern History; very informative and useful. </li></ul><ul><li>Islam and Modernity; a waste of time, but an easy A. </li></ul><ul><li>Modern Muslim Thinkers: a new course that surveyed several Muslim intellectuals from Morocco to Indonesia. Fairly useful and comprehensive. </li></ul><ul><li>Islamic Mysticism: an interesting but challenging senior seminar class. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Networking and the extracurricular <ul><li>As intended, I made many interesting connections that really enriched my understanding of the Middle East and the wider Muslim world </li></ul>
  10. 10. Networking and the extracurricular <ul><li>Some organizations I worked with: </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian Muslim Union </li></ul><ul><li>Iranian Democratic Forum </li></ul><ul><li>Salaam Toronto, a queer Muslim organization </li></ul><ul><li>Iranian Queer Organization </li></ul><ul><li>Federation of Iranian Students at UofT </li></ul><ul><li>I also got to know many Iranian human right activists, journalists and academics </li></ul>
  11. 11. Networking and the extracurricular <ul><li>I also did some volunteer work at El-Farouk Khaki’s refugee law office </li></ul><ul><li>Most clients we worked with were women, queer individuals, or persons living with HIV who had been persecuted in their country of origin </li></ul><ul><li>My job was to do research on the human rights situations in Mexico and the Palestinian territories </li></ul><ul><li>This was a great opportunity for me to hear first hand about the lived experiences of individuals who had to endure human rights violations in places like the Caribbean, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, and learn about the international and Canadian laws concerning these matters </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Some of my co-workers at El-Farouk Khaki’s law office </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>I recommend Toronto for those GRSers who want to do an exchange, but don’t want to travel too far. Toronto is truly a global city and new-comer students can easily find their academic and social niche and have a global experience by proxy through the many transnational communities that reside in this city. </li></ul>

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