Dale W. Nelson Award – reflections by award winners


The Dale W. Nelson Award is available to students registered in the History BA programme or History majors in the Arts and Contemporary Studies (ACS) programme studying for at least one semester abroad as part of an international exchange. Further details can be found at and The competition for the Winter 2019 academic term will be announced in October 2018.

Past Awards:

2018 – not awarded

2017 – Erin Pebesma and Noa Borden

2016 – not awarded

2015 – Muna Osman

One of two winners of the Dale W. Nelson Award in 2017 was Erin Pebesma. She received $2000 from the Award to help fund her studies at the University of Lincoln during the Winter 2017 term.

Earlier this year I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a semester at the University of Lincoln in England. Thanks to the Dale W. Nelson award I was able to do more than just study history. Living in Lincoln for five months allowed me to be surrounded by more history than I’d ever experienced. Having never been out of North America, I was in love with all of the old cities and museums that made everything I’ve learned into something more real than images and words. Thanks to the Dale W. Nelson award I also had the opportunity to travel around England and Europe, exploring different cities and experiencing new cultures. York and Budapest were my favourite places to visit because of the mix of historic sites, green spaces, modern culture, and friendly atmosphere. After all of my travels, I’m now quite comfortable with being in new and unfamiliar places. I always knew that I wanted to study in England and travel the world, and now that I’ve had this experience I look forward to being able to travelling more in the future. I am so grateful for the community that so willingly took me in during my time in Lincoln, and I hope to maintain the relationships and connections I’ve made.”

Noa received $2000 from the Award to help fund her studies at Curtin University in Perth, Australia during the Winter 2017 term. Recently Noa reflected on her experience abroad and what the Nelson Award meant for her:

“This winter, I had the opportunity to escape cold and snowy Toronto for Curtin University in Perth, Australia. The campus is wonderfully designed to take full advantage of the warmth and sun of Australia’s west coast. Like Ryerson, Curtin is innovative and friendly, and there is a constant buzz of activity. Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine, and I was fortunate to do so in such a beautiful city. Being overseas, however, made me appreciate the community we have at home and our amazing space downtown. My primary interest as a history student has always been Europe, but the Dale Nelson award helped fund my travel in Australia and Southeast Asia, opening up my learning opportunities to regions I had not yet explored. I was able to participate in a number of cultural activities in Perth, such as Australian Rules Football, more commonly known as ‘Footy’, which is a mix of a number of sports with a special Aussie twist, and the ANZAC Day Dawn Ceremony which commemorates the sacrifices made by Australians in times of war.  Much like traveling from Toronto to either the East or West coasts of Canada, spending a week on Australia’s Eastern seaboard, in Sydney, during our mid-semester break gave me a very different perspective on what it means to be Australian, and the people who make up the incredibly diverse country. While there, I had the chance to give surfing a try at the renowned Bondi beach, followed by some well-deserved fish n’ chips. In Southeast Asia, the sights, sounds and smells were at times overwhelming, and it was truly a lifechanging experience. The major city centers exist on a scale that is difficult to comprehend, making the time we spent in the countryside even more special. it was refreshing to escape the crowds and learn about the local culture, language and food. It was also a good reminder of the privileged, stable lives we lead in Canada. With new perspective, and a little bit more comprehension, I look forward to this coming year at Ryerson, and sharing my experiences with incoming exchange students and those looking to go overseas.”

The 2015 winner of the Dale W. Nelson Award was Muna Osman. She received $2000 from the Award to help fund her studies at Radboud University in the Netherlands during the Winter 2015 term.

This winter I had the amazing opportunity to study on exchange at Radboud University in the Netherlands. The chance to make new friends and explore different places are just some of the many benefits of studying on exchange. My exchange would not have been possible without the Dale Nelson Award. It allowed me to have a much more fulfilling experience in the Netherlands than I otherwise would have. It funded both my local and international trips where I was able to learn about new cultures, meet new people, and sightsee. For example, I had the chance to take part in the festivities at this year’s Kingsday in Amsterdam and get in touch with the Dutch. This was done by wearing a ton of orange and showing my Dutch pride. I also got to visit Denmark and was lucky enough to be there during Queen Margrethe’s 75th birthday celebrations and even caught a glimpse of her royal highness.  As a History student it was truly amazing to visit places I learned about in class such as Neue Wache in Berlin or the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and Palace of Versailles in France. And after going to museums such as the Louvre or Victoria and Albert Museum I probably won’t be able to look at the ROM the same way. Visiting museums for free is just a luxury us Torontonians sadly cannot afford. Not to mention I got to try my hand at learning new languages much to the amusement of the locals. It was also a bonus that my host university was located in one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. Where else but in Nijmegen can you have the world’s best hot chocolate in a pub built in 1542? Ever since high-school I always knew I wanted to go study abroad and in January 2015 I finally got to fulfil one of my dreams through the Dale Nelson Award. I now have new life-long friends, a second home, and heaps of memories that I will hold onto for the rest of my life.”



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