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
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
Matthew Hoogwoud
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By: Matthew Hoogwoud, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

“I’m terrified. I have never done something like this before!”

These were the thoughts that were rolling around in my mind during the twelve-hour flight to my exchange destination, Kyoto, Japan. It felt like the longest twelve hours that I have experienced in recent years as I sat nervously in my seat watching the on-screen map move incrementally towards Japan. I don’t even know how to cook properly, I thought.

But I also could not wait to land and see Japan. Once the plane landed and I passed customs, I was greeted by a smiling face and a sign with my name. At that moment, I knew that I was going to be all right.

. . .

Whe...

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

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