"> Kristen Allen, a first-year student in the Co-op Social Sciences and Humanities program, graduated from high school in New York City and decided to study in Scarborough. (Photo by Raquel A. Russell)
Kristen Allen, a first-year student in the Co-op Social Sciences and Humanities program, graduated from high school in New York City and decided to study in Scarborough. (Photo by Raquel A. Russell)
Sunday, October 8 - 2017
Raquel A. Russell

First-year student Kristen Allen had been attracted to studying abroad for some time before she chose the University of Toronto Scarborough.

“My step-father is a U of T alumni and he told me about this school,” says Allen, a student in the Co-op Social Sciences and Humanities program.

At first, she says she wasn’t too sure, thinking of Toronto’s distance from her hometown of New York City, but after a recruitment event at her high school and eventual tour of the campus, she had a change of heart.

“Everyone seemed warm and nice,” she says. “U of T also has a great reputation, so that certainly helped in my selection process."

This September, U of T Scarborough welcomed almost 50 new students from institutions in the U.S. Of the 10 countries that students held citizenship, 12 of the new students are American citizens.

This September, U of T Scarborough welcomed almost 50 new students from institutions in the U.S. Of the 10 countries that students held citizenship, 12 of the new students are American citizens.

For Allen, her choice to study in Scarborough goes beyond the “nice people” and “great reputation.”

“The political climate in America – it’s a bit wild for me,” she says. “Regardless of your political opinion, it’s very tense.”

Considering the recent political conversations around race and gender, Allen says a break sounded nice “especially as a woman, and a woman of colour.”

Even as she keeps aware of headlines from south of the border, Allen is focused on her studies and well-being in her new home away from home. She hopes to get a specialist in psycholinguistics and later launch her career as a speech-language pathologist. She also looks forward to studying French in Canada, “one of the best places to study the language,” she says. 

Today Allen is part of the Admissions and Recruitment team at U of T Scarborough as a student recruitment assistant, a role that few first-year students have filled.

“I like to know that I’m helping students, especially students that are in a similar situation to my own not even a few months ago,” she says.

To students who hope to study abroad, Allen has simple advice.

“Think about it carefully,” Allen says. “Examine if you’re ready to leave a lot behind, and if you feel strongly about it, go for it.”