Oana Salcescu, Rotterdam, Netherlands
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Written in August 2013

As some of you already know, it’s been a pretty difficult week for me because I got a horrible cold that knocked me off my feet. I’ve been stuck in bed blowing my nose every few minutes and coughing up a storm.

On the plus side, I’ve been immersed in many different worlds from watching so many movies! While I haven’t had any energy to leave the house, I’ve had time to myself to just rest and relax. Considering that school starts on Monday I feel that this rest was something I needed to get mentally ready.

Until this week, I don’t think that I fully understood what “hey everybody, I’m moving to the Netherlands for a year!” really meant. Packing up some clothes and belongings, saying goodbye to everyone you know, and getting on a plane to fly acr...

Category: Student Blog
Roya Firoozbakhsh, Germany
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After seeing eight countries and eighteen different cities, I am finally back in Vancouver. I was quite sad to say goodbye to my apartment, friends, and my favorite city, Berlin. It was definitely a mixed feeling between excitement to see my family, especially my brother whom I had not seen for two years and his new wife; and sadness at leaving Berlin. 

When I returned to Vancouver, I immediately had a wedding to go to and I experienced right away a major culture shock. I hadn’t dressed up, worn heels, or done my hair or make up in ages. Berlin in particular is not a place for any of that. Unlike Vancouver, Berlin was very simple: people there don’t ever wear high heels or care much about being fancy. Therefore, I felt uncomfortable being at the wedding. I didn’t even feel like I was mysel...

Category: Student Blog
Roya Firoozbakhsh
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Today I finished the last exam of my study abroad semester. I have three more weeks in the lovely city of Berlin and I can’t help but have all types of strong emotions. In Berlin, I found out who I really am, what I’m looking for, what I can’t stand, and what I wish to have. In Berlin, I found out what true happiness is. Most importantly, in Berlin, I found out how amazing it is to have a simple life.

I feel truly blessed to have had the chance to do my study abroad the final year of my studies because it changed my life for the better and it opened my eyes to possibilities for the future.

In the last four months I visited fifteen cities and eight countries. I met hundreds of people from different cultures and backgrounds and shared beautiful memories with people from all over the w...

Category: Student Blog
Kayla Schofield
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The last few weeks of my trip were tiring and hard, but worth the effort for the work we were doing. For the last two weeks of the trip, we worked in schools with children in kindergarten to grade six mostly. These children have never had the opportunity to have their teeth cleaned. While we did not have the time or resources to clean each and every single child’s teeth, we were able to apply fluoride to help make their teeth stronger and decrease the chances of further decay from occurring. We also provided them with information on how to properly brush their teeth. We travelled by car to many different areas surrounding Cebu City. We spent a week at Mount Olives Christian School in Consalasion and Mandaue. We spent three days at Napo Elementary School in Napo, Guadalupe and we spent the last tw...

Category: Student Blog
Jude Campbell
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Travel days are sometimes so full of new sights, sounds, physical and emotional changes, that it's hard to imagine that the morning was part of the same day as the evening. Today was one of those.

Breakfast in Venice was full of fond goodbyes and best wishes as our field school finished. Some people were heading home but others would continue travelling. Rain poured buckets on the first group as they wheeled their baggage over the cobbled streets, clutching mini-umbrellas or sporting lollipop-coloured disposable ponchos sold by street vendors. I headed to the train station shortly after, reveling in walking the early morning streets. Everywhere vibrated with the commerce of running a tourist enclave; construction, garbage collection, deliveries, repairs, cleaning. What's unique is that eve...

Category: Student Blog
Kayla Schofield
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It is hard to prepare yourself for a different culture because you never really know what you are going to get. Before travelling to the Philippines, I did research, but it did not come close to preparing me for the culture shock I was about to experience.

Upon arriving in the Philippines, the weather was hot and humid, which was expected. We gathered our things and proceeded to climb into a van with our entire luggage. I was definitely not prepared for the scariest drive of my life! In the Philippines, drivers and motorcyclists weave in and out of traffic, sometimes travelling at high speeds on the very crowded roads.

After settling in, we explored the neighbourhood. I never imaged that we would see the roads littered with garbage and so much pollution in the air. I have heard from...

Category: Student Blog
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New York City. What an extraordinary city for art lovers. Art is everywhere, from museums to galleries, in the streets, subways and parks. It's a heady mix.

We're staying in the Williamsburg area, a neighborhood alive with art vibes. Everywhere I walk the walls are blanketed with paintings and pasted works. We are lucky to be here for an important weekend, Bushwick Studio Days, where hundreds of artists open their studios and gallery spaces to the public over two days. Located in an old industrial area, there are many inexpensive studios, spacious and open with lots of natural light from large windows, my dream studios. Hundreds of people wander the streets, music and conversation bubble over. Market vendors sell their wares. Some galleries are even created inside rented U-Haul trucks. It'...

Category: Student Blog
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It has been a few days since I have returned home from my time abroad in Colombia and I can only use one word to describe the transition back; “surreal”. It feels surreal to be speaking English, to be wearing clean clothes, to have hot showers and Deet-free evenings. Less than a week ago, I was in the rainforest; unplugged from the Internet, taking short, cold showers; learning about myself, tasting the local cuisine and battling the evening bugs. I am sitting here fiddling with bracelets made by two little girls in a nearby Amazonian village and it heavies my heart. It is difficult to sum up all my feelings and experiences from this whirlwind trip, and even more difficult to believe it was only two weeks long. Adventures can and should be life-changing and as easy as it can be to pack your bags...

Category: Student Blog
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When I entered the Dental Hygiene Program in September 2014, I had no intentions on travelling abroad to put my skills to test. When the option arose to travel to the Philippines for a dental humanitarian trip, I thought it would be an amazing experience. Not only would I get to use and advance my clinical skills, but I would have an opportunity to experience a completely different culture. Upon researching the Philippines, I learned that one third of the population lives in poverty without many dental necessities, "such a restorations" and other needed dental resources. I was shocked by this information, which ultimately solidified my commitment for this dental humanitarian trip.

Over the duration of the trip, I, along with a team of dental professionals, will be providing educational wor...

Category: Student Blog
Lisa King
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I have been in Bogota for four days, and I cannot get enough of this city. The people, the view, the Spanish language and the food are incredible. Let me tell you a little bit about what I have seen so far.

Let’s start with the architecture. In Canada, I find the architecture to be plain, old Canadian architecture. Perhaps it is because we are a young country, but I find in comparison to other places in the world, it lacks variety.

Every district of Bogota has a different style. Colourful housing, buildings inspired by various countries in Europe from the days of the Spanish invasion, huge brick buildings with unique shapes; it really is a plethora of eye candy and thus a photographer’s dream. The first thing I noticed when I got off the airplane was the amount of graffiti on the wa...

Category: Student Blog

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