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Archive for the ‘comp lit’

Sep11

corn pops and comp lit: being american at u of t

Dear askastudent,

So I just recently developed an interest in UofT for grad school. Canada seems pretty great, and I want to explore some other places in the world. I would go to school for Literature, which falls in the Arts and Sciences program if my research is correct. Anyway, I was just wondering if you could give some advice about what would be expected from life in Canada that differs from the states. Is there any way to go about making the tuition cheaper? What is the english/comp lit department like?

Any words of wisdom will suffice, like I said: simply curious! Thanks

———————–

Hi there oh curious American,

You asked the right guy! The handsome and mysterious genius behind askastudent may just be an American student, and may also just be doing the undergraduate program in Comparative Literature.

The Centre for Comparative Literature┬áis a fantastic and well respected program. Literary theorist Northrop Frye is just one of the great academics who made their careers at the University’s Victoria College, and your colleagues and professors in the program are of the highest caliber. What that also means is that it’s pretty tough to get in! For starters, the masters program requires you to be highly proficient in at least one language other than English, and for the doctorate, at least two (some students have an arsenal of a half dozen).

Something else to consider: Despite the program’s high profile and prestige, humanities programs in Canada and at U of T are constantly under attack as academia angles towards more profitable ventures like science and business research. Just recently, the Centre for Comparative Literature was on the chopping block, and only thanks to spirited organizing and activism on the part of the students is it still intact.

There is also a larger Department of English, which I know less about except that my English TAs have always been big sweethearts! Poke around the sites and maybe you can see which program suits you.

As for being American in Canada, I can sincerely say it totally rules. The differences are minor, and can therefore sometimes be all the more surreal. Let me prepare you for a few:
– It’s more than likely that you will develop the subtle Canadian pronunciation of ‘out’ and ‘about.’ You might even pick up the dreaded ‘eh’ You won’t notice it until your American friends from home tease you for it, so it can be an ugly surprise, but you’ll learn to embrace it.
– About half of the words with spelling differences in British English maintain them here. ‘Colour,’ ‘favourite,’ ‘centre’ and ‘theatre’ are the first ones to learn, but you’ll be stretching it a bit if you use ‘globalization.’ Either way, I’ve never had a professor get on my case about it, despite my best efforts at losing sleep over it in my first year.
– Money is cute and bright here, and there’s lots more change.
– Hockey is the name of the game here.
– The corn pops are different– and much, much worse.
Regarding the tuition, there’s not much to be done- you’ll be paying international fees for at least a few years of your degree. Even if you get engaged your first week on campus, the process towards Canadian residence or citizenship is longer than a Master’s degree.

Here’s a helpful article about the experience of immigrating to Canada as an American: Immigrant with an Asterisk ()
Stay sweet, and kiss the land of the free for me!

aska

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