Inside of the Musée alsacien in Strasbourg
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By Mariam Ali, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team

Study Abroad Destination: France

The first day of my exchange in France was difficult for me because it was the first time that I was travelling by myself. When I arrived at the airport in Paris, I was confused about directions, lost my baggage and missed my train to Strasbourg, my exchange destination. Thankfully, I could book another train ticket to Strasbourg free of charge, and I later received my lost baggage, but at that moment I felt incredibly anxious. I had to endure a twenty-hour journey without sleep, and when I finally arrived at my new place, I cried because I was so overwhelmed. I actua...

Category: Writers In Residence
Gigi Lin
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By Gigi Lin, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and member of the BCSA Writer in Residence Team.

Study Abroad Destination: England, United Kingdom

Wow, time really flies. Life for me on exchange pretty much operated on a standstill. I’d manage to see so much in one day, landing and exploring a city from top-to-bottom in what 14 hours a day provided. As of late, I’ve been thinking of how I’ve been back for almost one year already, and small remnants here and there remind me of my travels:

Plan ahead. I don’t think I would have been able to go on exchange if I had not planned ahead. I know, I know… we are young, and we want to live on the waves of life. But planning takes commitment and...

Category: Writers In Residence
The second-last day of my travel. Venice, Italy.
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By Alice Wang, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team

As I sign off on my time being a Writer-in-Residence for BC Study Abroad, I am thankful for this opportunity to reflect, so profoundly, about my travel abroad. This prolonged self-reflection has allowed for a soul-searching that yielded more meaning-making than I could have ever anticipated. It was Andrew Solomon who once said to overcome adversity, one must “forge meaning and build identity.”

Of course, on many levels, what I had experienced cannot be construed as adversity. But I would argue that if one is generous about the sheer amount of toll a body must undergo in the experience of exhaustion and loneli...

Category: Writers In Residence
Mariam Ali, Heidelberg, one of the many cities I visited in Europe.
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By Mariam Ali, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team

One of my biggest concerns before my exchange in France was earning enough money to pay for it. My uncle recommended that I create a budget and find out in advance how much rent, transportation, food, entertainment and travel would all cost. By talking to other students who had already went on exchange in France, I learned that I would need roughly $15,000 to fund two semesters and live comfortably. Using the advice and the information I received, I set about making a plan to earn enough money for my exchange.

I applied for as many scholarships and bursaries as I could, working hard to boost my GPA above 3.5 out of 4...

Category: Writers In Residence
Adeline Hadijanto, Paris
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By Adeline Hadijanto, International Hotel Management student at Royal Roads University and a member of the BCSA Writer in Residence Team.

Like many student travelers, I wanted to explore Europe as much as I could while I was on exchange in Austria. Surprisingly, with some careful planning I was able to visit more than 35 cities and towns in 13 different countries in one semester without straining my budget too much. Here are a few of my suggestions that will hopefully help you to be more cost efficient:

  • Plan ahead.
    1. Make a list of all the places that you want to visit and prioritize the destinations base on your preferences.
    2. Make sure to check your class schedule before you make your itinerary!
    3. Use the GoEuro App (...
Category: Writers In Residence
Vancouver artist Kenneth Yuan in from of Yves Klein’s IKB (image courtesy of Yuen)
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By Alice Wang, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team

Image credit: Vancouver artist Kenneth Yuan in front of Yves Klein’s IKB (image courtesy of Yuen)

My piece of advice as a Writer-in-Residence is this: wherever you go, visit the local art institutions and expect to be confused by the works. Art is a piece of history crystalized in an object. It is not supposed to be easily understood. And if it is, it’s probably very bad art.

Good art takes a lot of time to unpack. I used to abhor paintings that are of one color such as Yves Klein’s blue painting IKB 3 (1960). “What was the point of that?! I can do that and call myse...

Category: Writers In Residence
Mariam Ali, Mahurangi Regional Park in New Zealand
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By Mariam Ali, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team

When I came back to Vancouver from my time in Europe, I had trouble readjusting to my new life. I disliked being stuck in the suburbs and not being able to explore other cities and countries like I could during my exchange. It was for that reason that I bought a ticket for New Zealand three weeks after I returned and flew there mid-December. My exchange had given me a desire to get out of my comfort zone to explore the world and I now had the confidence to do so.

Going to New Zealand was a comparatively less intimidating experience because I already had family there who would welcome and take care of me. Since this w...

Category: Writers In Residence
Gigi Lin
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By Gigi Lin, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and member of the BCSA Writer in Residence Team.

It’s crazy! I just said “BYEEEEEEEE!!” to one of my good friends, who is going on exchange to Monash University in Australia. I think it’s safe to say that ever since I’ve been back, I have become a very active exchange advocate. The memories and lessons of exchange have, and never will – entirely leave me. I’m glad to know of a few whom are most likely starting to pack their bags (or have), filling their last week or so with meet-ups and farewells, and double/triple/quadruple-checking that they’re got everything (visa, funds, etc.).  For those of you out there who are scouring last minute blogs/websites/forums for tips – just...

Category: Writers In Residence
Alice Wang
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By Alice Wang, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team

I wish I have more coherent nuggets of ideas to share with you. But alas, I have exhausted the creative well of my journey. For now. Will you indulge me in sharing a few snippets of thoughts leftover from this prolonged journey of self-reflection?

  1. When travelling, if you have the resources, leave the big cities to visit smaller townships. It will feel like a vacation within your vacation.
  2. Balance your financial standing regularly. I had been lazy about doing that, thinking that to “spend on things that are absolutely necessary” would be sufficient to keep financial anxiety at bay. It did not. Im...
Category: Writers In Residence
Hallstatt, Austria
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By Adeline Hadijanto, International Hotel Management student at Royal Roads University and a member of the BCSA Writer in Residence Team.

It has been over three months since I returned from exchange, and I still feel that part of my soul was left in Austria. Let me tell you why Austria is one of the best places you could go for your study experience!

Canadians are known to be some of the friendliest people in the world, but in my opinion, Austrians are just as easygoing and approachable.  Most of the people I met were very well versed and curious to learn more about me and my background in an authentic way. We had fun conversations and exchanged our cultural knowledge. My host-campus, IMC University of Applied Science Krems, and the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) als...

Category: Writers In Residence

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