Sean Paul Veltmeyer, Vancouver from the north shore mountains
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By: Sean Paul Veltmeyer, Langara College, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Tomorrow myself, thirteen of my classmates and two instructors depart Vancouver on the Langara China Field Studies program. Fourteen hours in the air will bring us to our first stop: Shanghai. This mega city inhabited by more than twenty four million people will be unlike anything I have seen before in my life. More than two thirds the population of Canada living in one urban center. Having grown up in a northern British Columbian town of eight hundred people, to me Vancouver is a busy place. But what I hear from many of the people I know from Asia is that Vancouver is slow; in the cities of Asia everything moves faster. I think this change of pace, along with the clean air, moder...

Category: Student Blog
Kathleen Megan Harfman, Cajas National Park
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By Kathleen Megan Harfman, College of New Caledonia, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

I have arrived in Ecuador despite a bit of a marathon getting here! We got delayed on one of the flights and missed a connector as a result, so we were stranded in the New York airport for 24hrs. That was a bit of an adventure, but we eventually made it! Our first big excursion in Ecuador was to visit an organic shrimp farm. The CEO of the company toured us around and showed us how shrimp are raised, harvested, and how the farm is operated. It was an excellent learning experience and afterward they fed us a 4-course feast of fresh shrimp! It was delicious!

Later on, we visited a mangrove ecosystem. Mangrove trees grow along riversides in the brackish waters of ri...

Category: Student Blog
Lenelle Jordan Kutzner
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By: Lenelle Jordan Kutzner, University of Victoria, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Well, here I am; two more sleeps and I’m off to Europe for the first time! At this point, my suitcase has hardly been touched, I have no shampoo or conditioner, and have a mountain of neglected dirty laundry waiting for me. The program I will be doing in Germany is a six-and-a-half-week intensive language immersion program. I will be living with a host family for the duration of my stay, and as far as I know, they speak little to no English (which is both nerve-wracking and wonderful!). I’m certain that living in a German household will provide even more opportunity for me to learn and understand the language. However, it will also certainly challenge me by forcing me to...

Category: Student Blog
Peter Mate
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By Peter Mate, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver Campus, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

I’m nervous – my hands tremble. I fly home bearing more questions than I can answer. 

My semester, academically, is a success – I have a basic grasp of refugee law and contemporary citizenship; I’ve walked along the Danube, Siene and Thames; I’ve marched to Hungary’s parliament and climbed the Buda Hills; I’ve sat in wonderment at the Big Ben and the Eiffel tower. Yet, I’m restless. 

I’m restless because of the world I leave behind. In a Hungarian refugee reception center, I saw people living in shipping containers. Surrounded by razor wire and isolated, many were idle, hoping to be granted Asylum. In mass demonstrations in Budapest, threats ag...

Category: Student Blog
Janna Wale with host mom and dad
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By Janna Wale, Thompson Rivers University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

It’s another quiet evening in the house that has become my home over the months of my exchange in Inverness, Scotland. My host mother is probably downstairs obsessively cleaning something or spoiling her ‘wee dog’ Millie, while my host father watches the documentary channel while taking trips to the kitchen for chocolate. Even though I am so far away from my family, studying abroad has taught me that ‘home’ is more than the house you are living in.

Most of you have probably experienced uprooting at some point – whether moving neighborhoods yourselves or having friends and family that are beginning a new chapter in their lives. The process, while leading to all kinds of gro...

Category: Student Blog
Kathleen Megan Harfman, College of New Caledonia
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By Kathleen Megan Harfman, College of New Caledonia, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Well, the bags are packed and ready to go. In less than 24 hours we will be off to South America! Eight of us from the College of New Caledonia will be flying out tomorrow morning; destination: Ecuador. We will arrive in Guayaquil and from there will meet Claudia, who, for the next three weeks, will be guiding us around the country as we explore the unique ecosystems, environments, and resource management issues of the area, as well as experiencing the culture.

Our adventure will begin at the Ecotec University in Guayaquil where we will attend a couple days of lectures. After finishing at the university, we will tour an organic shrimp farm. Shrimp production is a...

Category: Student Blog
Gigi Lin, Simon Fraser University
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By Gigi Lin, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Where do I even begin? It seems that the last breath I took was at the airport, waiting for my flight information to appear, directing me to my gate. When I look down at my feet now, I think about the different cities I have been to, the many restaurants where I’ve reveled in a new cuisine, and the never-ending list of monuments I’ve had the opportunity to see. 

Though I am technically an exchange student, I’ve spent a considerable chunk of time planning trips, buying tickets and revising travel itineraries- than I have reading textbooks or lecture slides. It is not to say that I have neglected my studies; but rather, I work hard so that I can truly relax when...

Category: Student Blog
Gigi Lin, Roman Baths
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By Gigi Lin, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

How many undergraduates can say that they get the opportunity to have Europe at their fingertips and also study within a city famous for its baths? That’s one of the many perks that come with enrolling in an exchange term, depending on where you decide to go. I’m proud to say that for the semester of Spring 2017, I will be a visiting student at the University of Bath in England. Yep, I haven’t made a mistake in the name of the city in which I’ve become a semi-permanent resident of: Bath.

Here’s a p...

Category: Student Blog
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

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