Ryan Dunn's Story
Memorial student Ryan Dunn embodies the Memorial adventurous spirit. A fourth-year student in the bachelor of science and geography program, he has always been fascinated with maps.
“I grew up in an immigrant hub in Ontario, so I was exposed to other cultures early and I have always enjoyed learning about other places and international politics,” said Mr. Dunn.
These interests sparked his adventurous spirit into what it is today. Recently, Mr. Dunn took a year off his studies to travel. From July 2011 through March 2012 he hitchhiked across Canada, from St. John’s to Victoria and then down the west coast into the U.S. to San Francisco.
“The most interesting part of this journey was the people I met along the way,” he said. “I made a point to talk with everyone I met, about whatever topic that person chose to discuss. As a result, I found myself talking about everything from conservation to self-sustained housing!”
Mr. Dunn’s next adventure will take him across the Atlantic. From June 24 this year until “March-ish” 2014, he will be abroad. His itinerary will take him first to Harlow, England, where he will participate in the Harlow program through the Department of Geography, studying architecture, urban geography, and cultural heritage.
From there, Mr. Dunn will go to Norway to attend Tromsø University, the world’s northernmost university, where he will study natural resource management, territorial rights, politics for the arctic, and fisheries.
“I plan to travel around Europe and Northern Africa while abroad, and hope to include some hitchhiking. Instead of planning all of the minute details, I research the areas I’ll be in, and then let events unfold naturally. I generally tend to not worry.”
Mr. Dunn has advice for other students interested in travel and adventure.
“It is not difficult or expensive to study abroad, but you should start researching early. If you have an idea, somewhere you want to go, talk to the staff at Memorial and see if they have ideas about how you can get there.”
When forming his plans, Mr. Dunn attended the Go Abroad Fair with Memorial’s Go Abroad Office, and worked with the Internationalization Office.
Chelsey Laird at the Internationalization Office recommends travel as an invaluable experience for students.
“Experiential learning from studying abroad will help you to develop knowledge and skills that will enhance your education,” she said. “It will also expose you to wonderful opportunities.”
Memorial has reciprocal exchange agreements called memorandums of understanding with 48 universities around the world, so there are many options for traveling. Mr. Dunn managed to fund his trip through several programs; he received the Harlow travel grant and the Program for Northern Mobility grant, which will cover tuition and living expenses.