Congratulations to Zachary Wong for submitting this winning entry to the Day in the Life of a Global Intern contest. He participated in the 2017 CIEE Summer Global Internship program in Toronto.
As I walk out the doors of Innis Residence for another day of work, I'm greeted by blue skies and balmy weather. It's another beautiful day, one in a long string of beautiful days, and everything around me almost glows in response. I come from a dry, arid land, southern California, and so it's been easy to fall in love with the weather here in Toronto.
I take a second to soak it all in - the soft harmonies of blue jays, the faint whir of passing cars, the gentle rustle of the greenest leaves I have ever seen, the cheerful laughter of tourists and students – and with the blend of nature and the city as my soundtrack I turn and start my short walk to work. It's about a fifteen-minute jaunt down an enchanting little sidewalk, tucked in among the college buildings and sheltered by a diverse array of flora.
At around 9:30, I finally arrive there, a basement lab at the University of Toronto. I've been given the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest students that I've ever encountered, Ph.D. candidates in the field of microfluidics. My own work is a mix of research and experimentation, with enough new material to constantly keep me busy and enough questions to keep me curious and passionate. The summer brings a whole host of academics from all over the world, and if you spend enough time in the halls you'll see them bustling here and there with confidant, purposeful strides. It's an amazing environment, and one where I do my best work, surrounded by professionals with practical advice to give and an incredible work ethic to emulate.
I leave work at around 5:30, with more than enough time to go and explore the city. Each day I try to take a slightly different route back to the residence, and I'm never disappointed. The city has tons of touristy places to visit, but I personally enjoy walking through the quaint neighborhoods, where people of all cultures have blended their Canadian identity with their origins, representing both in small details from flags to murals. Today, however, I cut a path straight through the heart of campus. With a menagerie of architectural styles and hidden gardens, the UofT campus like a microcosm for the city itself - vibrantly unique with prominent influences from all over the world.
Almost home, I stop for dinner at one of the many food trucks located around the city and contemplate visiting one of the two museums located just down the street from the residence. It's been a long day, so I eventually decide not to. As I settle back down in the comfort of my room, I'm incredibly grateful that I took this opportunity to study abroad. Traveling has allowed me learn so much; from the endless experiences to the incredible conversations, a new world with new perspectives has beautifully unfolded before my eyes. It's not something I could've imagined myself doing just a few years ago, but it's something that will stay with me for many years to come.