Presidential Lessons from my Study Abroad Term

Since I announced my candidacy for President of the Mount Saint Vincent University Students’ Union and the start of this election, we have seen an incredible conversation take place on what we would like to see from our Students’ Union.

All this has taken place while I’m on an exchange in Stockholm, Sweden.

And throughout these conversations, I’m sure there is one question that has risen.

How can I run for President while studying abroad?

That is a completely valid and understandable question. Here is my response:

The Mount offers many incredible opportunities for students. Among them is our study abroad program. Throughout my time as an exchange student, I have witnessed the incredible dedication of our Office of International Education. Making connections and working with various University Departments and Offices will lead to future collaboration if I have the opportunity to serve as President.

Throughout my time in Europe this far, I have had the incredible opportunity to learn. I have learned about the political landscape here in Sweden, which is fueled by compassion for each other. I have learned about many of the historical cities here in this incredible continent which showcase stories of passion, drive, sorrow and joy.

But above all, I have learned from incredible students from all around the world.

I have learned about the dreams and passions of students from Poland. About the student movements that take place in France, Germany and beyond. About the fantastic post-secondary education systems found in Sweden and Finland. About the struggles of students in the United Kingdom trying to pursue an education while following their passion. And so much more.

This experience has shown me the importance of continual learning. Of constantly finding opportunities where you can expand your knowledge and examine what you don’t know. It’s like a quote I have heard: The person who knows everything learns nothing.

Now, I’m sure by this point you’re saying “Why does this matter Ryan?”

If I have the honour of serving as your President for the upcoming year, I will take all of these lessons and apply them to the position.

This experience has demonstrated to me the importance of ensuring every voice is heard. When there are students from all around the world coming together, everyone has a story and that story deserves to be heard.

If elected President, I will use this experience as inspiration to ensure every single one of our stories are heard.




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