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Zi Jun Shirley Song

1 term - Fall 2007

My Exchange Term in London, UK
By Shirley Song

After returning to Canada from my exchange in London UK, there are times that I found myself embraced by the sweeten scent of Latte, reminiscing the wonderful time I spent in London. I went on exchange at Cass Business School, City University in London UK, and right there, I had the best four months of my life. Going on exchange is not simply attending Actuarial classes in London; more importantly, it’s about experiencing another culture, meeting friends from all over the world, and broadening my perspective and outlook on life, and of course, traveling around Europe was definitely one of the highlights.

My exchange in Cass Business School began in September. Centered in the financial capital of Europe and highly regarded as the world’s leading provider of actuarial and business education, Cass Business School offers a rigorous foundation in the study of actuarial science, investment, and other fields. The great variety of real life case studies prepares students for new challenges in the actuarial profession. The hands-on experience from Cass equipped me with valuable knowledge in investment management and financial analysis.

One of the modules I took was Asset Liability Management, which covered topics such as GAP analysis, interest rate risk, FOREX risk, credit risk and hedging strategies. The assigned project tied closely to the real world, and we did an analysis on the subprime mortgage crisis that happened in summer 2007. The project offered an opportunity to research on the background of subprime mortgage lending, the causes of the crisis and possible future preventions. Derivative Trading and Hedging was another module that I took, and our project was to debate whether derivative trading is a zero-sum game. The project required me and my teammates to research on significant financial crisis caused by the misusage of derivatives. By analyzing the past cases, we were able to understand derivative securities and their role in risk management thoroughly. Both the modules and projects not only gave me great insight to the actuarial analysis and financial market development, but it also helped me develop great teamwork skills.

Aside from studying, the best part was the amazing weekend getaways: a Sunday brunch in the Hotel U Prince in Prague, an amazing tour in Gaudi’s masterpiece Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, a romantic dinner in Venice, a walk down the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Christmas celebration on the top of Europe in Switzerland and New Year’s Eve countdown in Scotland… These trips were exhilarating and definitely unforgettable, and I wish I could experience it all over again.

This exchange has been the most enriching and rewarding part of my undergraduate studies, and I am glad that I did it. I would definitely recommend anyone to go on exchange and experience something that will change your life.

Shirley Song
Actuarial Science/Finance
University of Waterloo