Shelby Anderton, Shanghai, China
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I still can't believe it, but here I am - China. Today officially marks one month that I've been away from home participating in a field school opportunity offered through my nursing program and traveling around China. To put into words what this time has been so far is seeming to be an impossible task. It's been a month of time change, language barriers and culture shock. A month of new smells, new food and new people. A month of realizing that a simple smile really is a universal language as I try and navigate myself around this giant country using sign language and interpretive gestures. I have learned so much during this field school experience so far - both related to the curriculum in which I participated in Shanghai but even more about myself.

I didn't know what to expect when embar...

Category: Student Blog
Kyla Oshanek, Mexico
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If you are an introvert—like me—you can probably imagine that being in a group setting in a foreign country 24/7 for thirty days will pose some challenges. Introverts need quiet time to recharge, so being in a group all day can be draining. Before departing for my field school I pondered how I would navigate the upcoming reality of very little quiet time in addition to the regular ups and downs of a field school experience. I have now spent the past three weeks in a group of mostly extroverted individuals, and it has been a great experience. Here are my top three tips for enjoying your own field school experience as an introvert:

  1. Take time to recharge. Extroverts thrive in groups whereas introverts need quiet time to re-energize. Some extroverts have a hard time under...
Category: Student Blog
Garrett Lakey, Costa Rica
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This first week in Costa Rica has been very enjoyable. Flying for the first time has been very exciting and long. The first thing I noticed once we landed in Costa Rica was the extremely intense humidity. It’s like opening the door to the steam room at the swimming pool. The driving style is very different from driving in Canada. Pedestrians do not have the right of way, and there is constant honking in the streets. Drivers are also very aggressive not hesitating to cut each other off to get onto the road.

During this past week, I have been to San Jose, the dry Pacific coast, the mountain town of Monte Verde, La Fortuna, and just recently the Caribbean town of Tortugaro. The town of Monte Verde is very cool. To get to this place you ascend from the lowlands of the pacific coast up into the...

Category: Student Blog
Kira Daley, Langara College
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In less than 1 week I will be in China! On May 16th I will land in Shanghai with my group from Langara College in Vancouver, BC. I almost can’t wait! I realized that one of the things I am most excited about in China is food! I decided to seek out and try one special dish in each area that we will visit.

Shanghai & “Stinky Tofu”

I figure I may as well tackle this one right out of the gate. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do have a particular fondness for tofu. Stinky tofu is apparently terrible smelling and is even described as “ugly”. It’s made by soaking tofu in a solution of vegetables, meat, and fermented (aka spoiled milk) with the optional add-ons of things like dried shrimp and bamboo shoots. After months in this curious bathwater...

Category: Student Blog
Camille James, Vancouver Island University
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It was only a couple months ago that I packed my entire life into a suitcase, leaving Canada and everyone that I knew to begin my study abroad trip. Finally, I am beginning to get used to converting currencies in my head at the grocery store and having nearly everyone I talk to comment on my “Canadian accent.” School in England is very different from what I was expecting, but it is an experience to see how digital media courses are taught in a different country.

One of the hardest parts to wrap my head around academically were the assignments here; back in Canada it is common to have an assignment due every week for a class. In England, none of my classes had more than 2 assignments for the whole term, some of them only have 1 assignment worth 100%! Having assignments worth more definitely...

Category: Student Blog
Shelby Anderton, Douglas College
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Helen Keller said, “life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. Her words express a longing in my heart for adventure- to experience new places and culture, climb new summits and meet new people. Today however, as I sit here thinking about my impending departure this coming Friday to embark on the biggest adventure of my life, I feel as though I am grasping at the strings of that longing as something to hold on to, and frantically trying to stop shaking in my boots.

It was many months ago now that I was sitting in class, and one of my professors came to announce an opportunity for the Nursing students of Douglas College to go participate in a pilot field school experience in Shanghai, China, to experience firsthand the health care system there. Without a second thought I jumped a...

Category: Student Blog
Kyla Oshanek, Camosun College
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Why are you doing this? I recently attended a pre-departure workshop on building cultural competence and was asked this question. Each of the twenty-five or so attendees shared with the group their reason for participating in their respective field schools. Feeling a bit on the spot, I answered the first thing that came to mind: "I have always wanted to go to another country and volunteer, especially with children, and thought it was a great opportunity to do so through my program of study (dental hygiene)". After the workshop, I started to think more about that question. Why am I doing this? Why have I "always wanted to volunteer in another country"? Is it because it sounds like fun? What does that mean, exactly? 

Many of us don't take the time for self-reflection. In the digital age, our...

Category: Student Blog
Garrett Lakey, College of New Caledonia
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It’s April 30th, the day before my trip to Costa Rica. In this Natural Resource Field School and Cultural Exchange class I will be experiencing and learning about how Costa Rica manages its natural resources and how this country balances the different land uses. Being that this is my first time leaving Canada, I am extremely excited about this opportunity. Preparing for this trip has been a new experience as well. Little things like applying for a passport, getting travel insurance, and taking a day-long Spanish class have been both interesting and overwhelming. I have been working on my Spanish, and feel pretty confident about the common phrases used like greetings, goodbyes, and thank you’s. I’m sure I will continue to learn the Spanish language as I spend time in Costa Rica.

...

Category: Student Blog
Andrea de Bruyns, Old Gothic Quarter, Barcelona
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Here’s an update on my study abroad experience so far: I’ve been here for almost 4 months, with only 2 months left until my journey is over. Spain is a beautiful country with a diverse landscape and culture. Between attending classes and studying, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a few different major cities. Here are some places I’ve been to in Spain:

Barcelona is known for its architectural variety thanks to the famous architect Anthony Gaudi who designed the Sagrada Familia and Park Guëll. No matter where I walked in Barcelona the buildings were beautifully sculpted with many colours and designs, even the simplest apartment building looked like a piece of art.

...

Category: Student Blog
Andrea de Bruyns, University of Victoria
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This semester I will be going on an international exchange through the University of Victoria to the Madrid, Spain where I will attend the University of Alcalá. I will live in the municipality of Alcalá de Henares for five months while I am attending school. I am so excited to embark on this amazing journey where I will experience a new culture, language and way of living. With this incredible opportunity I have been given I hope to be able to immerse myself in Spanish culture and also be able to explore other parts of Europe. I am also looking forward to creating a network of international and local friends while I am on my exchange in Madrid. On my journey I will meet so many other students coming from other parts of the world as well as the local Spanish students. I look forward to expanding m...

Category: Student Blog

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