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

Sunday morning I wake up to vibrations and the sound of jackhammers. Several minutes of shaking pass and I lose any hope of reprieve from the cacophony. Down a floor I turn a corner to find that the hallway to the gym, functional just yesterday, has overnight turned into an impassible rubbish heap; full of smashed tiles and debris. It appears I have discovered the source of the jackhammering. It’s sunny outside and there is much to see so I settle for a walk in the city.

Within steps I’m perspiring, but, despite the heat and humidity, there is a pleasant breeze and the air is palatable. A blue sky, green trees, and brown and grey buildings with colourful (often red) signs m...

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

Life after study abroad; it’s almost as confusing as while you’re away. I find when I’m returning from trips, I get in a mindset to go home. It becomes a peaceful bittersweet departure, as opposed to just bitter or just sweet. It’s amazing to return to familiarity, be reunited with friends, and finally be still as opposed to constantly on the go. However, I found I was left with a ‘what’s next’ feeling. I had a very acute awareness of what my life suddenly consisted of, or rather, didn’t consist of. No school. No travelling. No job. Just me, myself, and all the still very fresh lessons, memories, and even regrets that may have surfaced. Travelling not only expands the mi...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs, Chinese paper cutting
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

Each classroom holds a new set of students, and a whole new set of people to meet from multiple different countries. Throughout the day I learn numerous traditional Chinese Art and technical skills while laughing and getting to know the people in my class. Trying new things together is a great way to make friends.

After lunch I do paper cutting and Chinese ink painting. Patience is not my strongest suit so I don’t end up creating exquisite masterpieces, but I learn some cool techniques.

Soon it’s dinnertime, and I meet back with our group to hear about the different classes they took. When I finish eating, I head out to the...

Category: Student Blog
Cheryl Olvera at Bat Out of Hell The Musical
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By Cheryl Olvera, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Ah, Vancouver. What can I say? I love you and I’ve missed you, but I’m so so sad to be back in Canada. My apartment I sublet whilst gone is extremely dirty, my lamps are broken… I just feel lost. Turns out I really settled down in Brighton. I made some great friends, found a community in the local CrossFit gym, and even had a boyfriend.

My time in England was so much more than a study abroad semester—it was a new dimension of life for 6 months. It was really great for my academia to study at a research-based Uni (University of Sussex) with different professors for a semester, but what I really took away from this experience was profound personal growth. When out of my dail...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

At your feet lies a black headset, a thick visor to go across your eyes, and two nunchuck like controllers on each side. You pick up the headset and fit it onto your head like a crown, your eyes fitting into the visor like a pair of snorkelling goggles. Two cylindrical eye holes fill your vision, windows into another reality. A vast plane land, like the sandy terrain of Mars surrounds you. Your hands grope around, using touch and senses to pick up the controllers in the real life you can no longer see. Looking down to where your hands should be and in place there are two white controllers. You have no legs.

This is the virtual real...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

The BC group still sits together at dinner, but this is the first official night, so people are still getting used to the idea of being able to walk up to any group and be talking to people from countries I haven’t even heard of. I could just sit down and have a meal with the people from Bangladesh and have conversations about homemade flutes with a side of dessert. The dessert, by the way, is amazing. They’re these fluffy cakes that are soft like a kitten’s fur and yet taste like vanilla.

The track had become the central unofficial hangout spot, where groups would gather in the evening in circles. This type of societal formation w...

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

The classic phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” should be changed to “time flies when you travel”. I find myself writing my “mid-trip” blog when I only have a week and a half left. One minute you have all the time in the world, and the next minute you are scrambling to see all the museums and attractions that you planned to do ‘next week’. Germany has been a rollercoaster of all kind of emotions and experiences, not all of which have been easy. However, I think the true growth comes from such moments and struggles. It’s not always fun, and sometimes it gets overwhelming. I’ve done a really good job of letting myself experience whatever emotions I’m feeling- whethe...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs, the restaurant
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

Following the commencement of the ceremony, the whole summer camp streams out and walks over to the parking area where 20 buses are waiting. I join Canada and find a seat on the bus, which I learn we are now sharing with a group from Texas school of performing arts.

These buses are tour bus style, with nice fabric individual seats in groups of two. I sit beside a Chinese student named Bunny, who explains to me that every bus has two or three groups, in addition to a handful of Chinese students who are on every bus. Bunny is open and friendly, and asks me questions about myself. She tells me we are on our way to a restaurant for lun...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

As the representative of Canada, I have to get up an hour early to join the other representatives on our transport to Tsinghu University where opening ceremonies were being held. My first day here at the camp and already I have to leave my roommates who I just met to venture forth into my exciting duties awaiting. I put on my elaborate Canadian outfit, consisting of various Dollar store accessories and two flags stuck in my ponytail.

At 6:00 sharp Gloria comes by to collect me, and by 6:15 AM I board a bus along with 32 other students, one representative from each country. Before I even reach the bus, the representative from Argent...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs, Gloomy day in Beijing, China
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

Dreams, in the sense of the visions we have while we sleep, are wonderful things. They are curious, sometimes confusing, sometimes pleasant journeys that our brain takes while our bodies rest. Dreams are messages from the subconscious.

However, sometimes reality can interfere with our dreams, and on the first night in Beijing, here I am in my dorm room dreaming when my peace is disrupted. And what is interrupting my sleep but the ear shattering sounds of construction trucks, dumping massive loads of sheet metal into piles on campus. In my hazy dream like state, my logic is not fully in motion, and I groggily groan to myself that th...

Category: Student Blog

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