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

I have finished the majority of my exams now. I have about two weeks left until I return to Canada to start my co-op term. Reflecting back on the past month and a half, I’ve realized how time really flies on exchange.

The mid-semester break in April was pretty sweet. I was able to travel with friends for the first half, exploring the cities of Warsaw, Krakow, and Prague. We chose Krakow because it is the base of the Aushwitz-Birkeneau Concentration Camp. On our day tour at the camp, we were shown how history unr...

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.

Vancouver is not the same as I remembered. I romanticized the city during the past year; like everything idealized, it won’t meet your personal standard.

This realization came in Paris. The city was beautiful, but crime ridden. In the 18th arrondissement, I was followed by boys trying to steal my wallet – at the Sacre Coeur Basilica two men tried to take what little Euro’s I had left. Despite being initially frustrated, I understood that this is part of exploring. You’re in a city unknown to you and some people wish to capitalise upon your confusion.

In this sense, you – the explorer must expect your ideal image of...

Category: Student Blog
View from the Edinburgh Castle
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By Janna Wale, Thompson Rivers University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

It’s been three days since I packed up my Scottish life and left for Canada. Being home feels normal and abnormal all at once. It feels strange (yet familiar) to be watching hockey on television again instead of rugby or football, and to hear words like ‘French fries’ and ‘sweater’ instead of ‘chips’ and ‘jumper’.  While returning to my life at home has been an easy transition from what I left behind, retelling my adventures to my Canadian friends and family brings fond memories of my home stay hosts and the friends I left behind.

Although my study abroad was a huge learning curve that challenged me in ways I could never have dreamed, the experience was invaluable. What I...

Category: Student Blog
Nara Deer
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By: Matthew Hoogwoud, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Summer in Japan is extremely hot. Normally I’m not a huge fan of the heat, but the last few weeks the temperature has grown on me. When I step out of the dormitory, I feel the blanket of humidity surround me. And at night, the warm air still permeates through the area. I love it. Night time walks are beautiful, and the warm air makes it very comfortable to walk around. In the Sanjo area of Kyoto, there is a long river called Kamo River, and in the day time is always crowded. I walk along the riverbank late at night, simply embracing the sounds of water rushing.

Recently, I went to Nara with a couple of friends. Nara is well known for it’s deer. When I was told...

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

I have officially returned from Ecuador. Wow, what an experience! I learned a lot and saw so much. My favorite part of the entire Study Abroad adventure was staying at Sani Lodge in the Amazonian jungle. This place is a community run ecotourism lodge. To get there we flew into a city called Coca, then travelled by boat for almost three hours down the Napo River. After docking, we hiked a short trail to a canoe, where we paddled across a lagoon to the lodge. Every day we went hiking and paddling with a local guide to observe and learn about native flora and fauna, their interaction with one another, native uses, and importance. We saw various species of monkeys, as well...

Category: Student Blog
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

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