Studying abroad had a profound effect on Bryanna Davidson

November 3, 2017
UNBC student Bryanna Davidson spent a semester studying abroad and it changed her life.

When Bryanna Davidson decided to travel half-way around the world three years ago in 2014 to study abroad, she didn’t realize how much the experience would change her personally and professionally.

In the midst of earning her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree in biomedical studies, Davidson enrolled at Massey University in New Zealand for a semester.

It turns out a semester wasn’t long enough. She wished she could have stayed for a full year.

“I feel like I went very young and naïve and I came out more mature with a lot more life experience,” said Davidson.

In four short months, where she enrolled in transfer courses in New Zealand that counted towards credit here at UNBC, Davidson’s study exchange changed her course of studies and made an impact on her career path.

“I’ve always been really interested in health, but I’ve only ever seen the Canadian system,” says Davidson, who grew up in Vanderhoof. “When I went to New Zealand, I learned their outlook on health is a lot different than ours which was really interesting.

“I was taking health sciences courses there, but the people I was taking them with were taking a nutrition degree. Their outlook is a lot more proactive. It’s a lot more focused on general wellness and you’ll see a lot more people running (for example). Dieticians and nutritionists have a lot of opportunities there.”

Upon her return, she said she’s witnessed Canada following a similar direction as that of New Zealand.

The experience meant that she changed the focus of her biomedical degree.

“I chose to study health-care systems when I returned and hopefully I can make an impact of learning more about health-care systems around the world, not just in New Zealand,” said Davidson. “And hopefully I can integrate those aspects that I’ve learned from around the world into something meaningful.”

Davidson crossed the stage in May with her Health Sciences degree and is now enrolled in UNBC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Her future plans include becoming a nurse practitioner and earning a doctorate-level degree, so she can make an impact on the health-care system.

“I hope to travel the world after I’m done so I can gain even more perspective on how to improve health care in the North,” she said. “I hope to work as a nurse abroad, gain more experience and learn more about health-care systems.”

None of it would be probably possible though if she hadn’t taken the necessary steps to study abroad. The experience transformed her.

“My confidence has improved. My problem-solving skills and my communication skills are all just immensely improved and I’m better at organization and planning and just every aspect of life,” said Davidson.

And she wouldn’t hesitate to do it again if given the opportunity.

“I would say absolutely do it – study abroad – be absolutely prepared as you can, dive right in and you won’t regret it.”

To be eligible to study abroad, UNBC students must have a GPA of 2.67 or higher; complete at least one semester at UNBC before applying and complete 30 UNBC credit hours before departure.

UNBC has two international outbound exchange programs.

Students can go on a bilateral exchange, meaning students enroll in courses that will count towards their UNBC degree or study another language and culture at one of UNBC’s partner universities for a semester, academic year or summer. UNBC has bilateral exchange agreements with 36 institutions in 15 different countries.

Students who are interested in Northern Studies can choose the North to North mobility program within the University of the Arctic.

UNBC is a member institution of the University of the Arctic and students can study at one of the partner schools in Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Greenland for a semester or academic year.

Scholarships and awards are available.

The application to apply to go on outbound exchange for 2018-19 is Nov. 15.

For more information about studying abroad, contact International Student Advisor Annick Pereira at