Peter Mate, St. Stephens Basilica in Budapest
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By Peter Mate, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver Campus, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Living away from home reorients outward perspectives: friendships blossom, the world changes colour, and ideas change. By reorienting perspectives the world shrinks: dialects between regions are now recognizable; cultures between cities become evident; you recognize ideologies that engulf countries. These differences create a tapestry of beliefs and cultures that you – the explorer – observe.

But there’s more: you may find yourself often alone; however, loneliness is the most profound feeling any international student encounters. Moments of solitude while walking down grand boulevards or university halls intensify experiences. Intense experiences last...

Category: Student Blog
Janna Wale, Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland
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By Janna Wale, Thompson Rivers University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Have you ever had something you really wanted to do on your bucket list for such a long amount of time, that when you are actually accomplishing it you keep having moments of “Am I really here right now?” This is the kind of surrealism that overwhelmed me when I made it to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

It felt wonderful.

Simply put, the Giant’s Causeway is a portion of the Northern Irish coast shaped by the rapid cooling of super-heated magma from thousands of years ago into a series of hexagonally fractured rock columns. Picture rock honeycombs. The columns themselves are all different heights, but are all roughly the same size and are all almost perfec...

Category: Student Blog
Janna Wale, Drumnadrochit on the Loch Ness
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By Janna Wale, Thompson Rivers University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Click here to see Part One of this blog entry.

Growing up, my father made sure my sister and I were capable of survival outdoors. When we complained about the rain, he would tell us we weren’t made of sugar and that we wouldn’t melt in the rain. In recent days, I’ve really been more appreciative of the fact that I am not made of sugar, as the Scottish rain would surely have melted me by now. Good teaching, dad! I’ve already learned not to gamble with the weather; you’ll always lose in Scotland. My host family took me on a cycle down to the Loch Ness when I’d first arrived, and in the sam...

Category: Student Blog
Janna Wale, Urquhart Castle on the Loch Ness
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By Janna Wale, Thompson Rivers University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Another day coming to a close. I’ll try and keep from letting the sound of rain hitting the roof distract me. That’s one thing that I’ve been loving since I moved to Inverness, Scotland. I just really like the calm feeling that rain brings when the sun has gone down and you can just sit with a hot tea and listen, maybe reading another chapter or two of that book. Or finishing that essay that needs to be started…hmm..

Today was normal. Sort of. I’m still learning all kinds of new things about living abroad in Scotland. Crash courses in adapting to change and culture have been offered here and there over the last few years of my life, with moving around and meeting people fr...

Category: Student Blog
Iris Kha
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By: Iris Kha, Capilano University. Winner of the 2016 Remes Family Study Abroad Scholarship.

My decision to study abroad was very last minute. It all began when I woke up one morning and decided something needed to change – myself. I was tired of the daily routines that provided little to no stimulation. My life felt dull and uninteresting. So I thought to myself – I need a challenge, a quest, a journey, and an adventure that will help me grow and become a strong, independent individual – no more friends to rely on, no more dotting family members – just me.

There was a lot on my mind the few days, weeks, and month before my departure: a lot of metal preparation that needed to be done on my part. This was my first time travelling abroad on my own and my firs...

Category: Student Blog
Malavika Santhosh, Simon Fraser University
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By: Malavika Santhosh, Simon Fraser University. Winner of the 2016 Stories from Abroad: British Columbia Study Abroad Scholarship.

Worried about fitting in or seeming like a tourist during your upcoming study abroad semester? Here are my top 3 tips to help you immerse yourself into the local culture.     

1. Getting Around

I found that the best way to learn your way around a new city is to ride like the locals do, such as by renting a bicycle in places like Amsterdam, taking the tram in cities like Milan or even just by foot in those that are smaller and more walkable. Don’t be afraid of getting lost or taking the wrong turn as its part of the adventure. Trust me; you’ll discover so much more than if you took a taxi or were looking...

Category: Student Blog
Malavika Santhosh, Simon Fraser University
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It is nearing the end of what has been a dream of a semester abroad at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Having travelled to over 30 cities in the past four months, I must admit that although studying abroad is everything it is glorified to be and more, there are a lot of moments of utter chaos and confusion that lead to those picture perfect moments. Instances of homesickness, fitting in, and balancing school work with travelling, along with maintaining a social life in fear of missing out. The truth is that, sometimes you find yourself in situations where you have no idea what you’re doing and miss the comforts of familiarity at home. 

However, despite not understanding the language, you find comfort amidst the smiling faces of strangers. Through the wrong turns taken down narrow windi...

Category: Student Blog
Andrea de Bruyns
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My last couple months on exchange were jam packed with traveling to different cities, meeting new people, and cramming for final exams. I had a few weeks off after the semester was over before I had to return back to Canada and was able to travel to some of the major tourist hot spots. My first stop was Paris where I visited the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, saw the Tour de Eiffel for the first time (it’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be), and generally just ate a lot of sugar crepes. My next stop was in Amsterdam, where I ate the most delicious food I’ve had in Europe. The Dutch are notoriously known for making the best desserts and they definitely didn’t disappoint. Amsterdam had a very lively and welcoming atmosphere as well as a rich cultural heritage that was interesting to learn about. No...

Category: Student Blog
Malavika Santhosh, Simon Fraser University
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Time: 8:20 PM

Location: Vancouver

Setting: An array of black hangers cover the floor, surrounding a beat down suitcase - spread open and decorated from scratches to stickers, representing its lifetime of travels.  In the corner stands a bed with a layer of garments messily thrown into piles of “Maybe”, and “Definitely Not”.  Amidst the chaos sits a twenty-something girl, in awe of her ability to fit her entire life into one luggage which she then has to live out of for the next four months. A hint of nervousness and a whole lot of excitement fills the air.

Tomorrow is the long-awaited day. The day she steps on a flight leaving behind all things familiar to a land of unknown, some 5,000 miles away; destination - Milano, Italy....

Category: Student Blog
Kira Daley, Shanghai, China
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So my study abroad trip to China is over! When I boarded my flight leaving Vancouver back in May, it felt like such a long period of time stretched out before me. By the time the last week rolled around, the days just flipped past. And finally, all I had left to do was say my tearful goodbyes and hop on my 10-hour flight home to Vancouver! I don’t know about you, but this is my least favourite part of any trip. On the way there, you’re filled with excitement and anticipation, and you spend the flight daydreaming and reading about your destination. On the way home, it just feels like a long cramped trip in a steel tube in the sky, hurtling back toward reality. This time though, I planned carefully in an effort to make the flight back as comfortable and enjoyable for myself.

Here are my tips...

Category: Student Blog

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