I was fortunate enough to go to the University of Calgary for the 2020 winter semester on exchange from Waikato University in New Zealand. I was a second year undergraduate student when I studied at the Haskayne School of Business. I heard about the IBSA program from another exchange student who said she'd signed up to be a part of the mentor/mentee program. As I was wanting to meet new people and get involved, I decided that I too would sign up for the program.
I have absolutely no regrets about signing up and would recommend it to anyone. I was lucky to be partnered with an amazing mentor, who is now one of my best friends and we still keep in contact even after I have returned home. She was a local, brought up in Calgary, so knew all the must do's. She often took my friends and I out on trips or even just to the supermarket which was super handy. She was so welcoming and we got on as soon as we met.
IBSA was a great way for me to meet other business students and some local Calgary people. IBSA organized many fantastic events including, a trip to Banff, a team bonding dinner, a night at a bar, a PBR rodeo, and a pizza night just to name a few. My favourite was the day trip IBSA organized to Banff! We were all put into car groups with our mentors and other international business students. Because we were all in small groups, there were heaps of flexibility and the drivers basically took us wherever we wanted that was close to the route we were meant to take.
We started the day off with the classic Canadian Tim Hortons stop, then made our way to the Bow River and the Bow Falls. They then took us to Banff where we could explore the streets, local shops, and went to a restaurant for lunch. We then went to the Banff Upper Hot Springs, which was absolutely amazing when it snowed in -30 degrees and we were sitting in outdoor hot springs. It was so lovely that all my friends who were also on exchange from my home university got along well with their mentors and we formed a nice little group.
Unfortunately, due to Covid the exchange students had to return home, so we didn't get to do all the things we had wanted or the events IBSA had planned. I'm hoping to return to Canada very soon and complete these adventures we'd planned with my IBSA mentor. I'm so grateful for the people I got to meet through IBSA and would highly recommend it to any business students!