Peter Mate
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By: Peter Mate, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver Campus, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team.

I advise my fellow travelers to take time to reflect in order to review their growth during their time away from home. Reviewing their growth will enable new ideas to take shape by providing time to reflect on their life’s journey. When I was living in New York and Budapest, I lived off the energy of my surroundings: Protests, exploring and achievement became a regular occurrence. However, my time abroad elicited contempt: I finished my studies confused about my career and overall intentions. 

When reviewing my time abroad, I realized that I pursued many endeavours simply for their achievem...

Category: Writers In Residence
Janna Wale
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By Janna Wale, Thompson Rivers University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team.

Okay, so I don’t know how many of you guys packed your own lunches growing up, but my mother made sure I was self-sufficient. We would go to the grocery store every week and my older sister and I were allowed to each pick a few items to include in our lunches for the school week to come.

As we got older, we pumped the brakes on some of the things we knew were a definite ‘no’ (chocolate, candy, chips, cakes) and actually began to pick out fruits. As we progressed from grade to grade we had a better understanding of what was going to get squished in our backpacks and what wasn’t. 

To this day, every time I s...

Category: Writers In Residence
Peter Mate
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By: Peter Mate, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver Campus, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and a member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team.

Packing the minimum amount of supplies for a study abroad experience is essential in optimizing your international experience. As such, minimizing your supplies reduces travel cost, while providing extra freedom to travel. This optimization of cost and freedom is evidenced in reduced luggage fees and travel convenience. The cost of additional luggage for major carriers consumes a disproportionate size of airfare costs. As such, lightly packing preserves funds that compliment your travel experience. Moreover, the freedom of moving from place to place without the burden of extra suitcases preserves...

Category: Writers In Residence
Kyla Oshanek
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So your study abroad experience has ended. Perhaps you are home and looking for a summer job, or permanent employment. Your study abroad experience has changed your life, but did you know it can also land you your dream job? There are many skills that you have gained during your time abroad that set you apart from other applicants. Here are a few to help you turn your next job interview into a conversation about your study abroad experience and help you land the job:

  1. Ability to work independently: Whether you travelled abroad alone or with a group, you were no longer within your support network. Forced out of comfort zone, you had to make decisions and plans independently. Your employer will value your ability to think and work independently with confidence. 
  2. ...
Category: Writers In Residence
Kyla Oshanek
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For the majority of students I have spoken with wishing to participate in a study abroad program, funding is a major barrier. Many students pass up the opportunity of their dreams because they are already swimming in student loans and cannot think of adding to this burden. Beyond dipping into your savings, adding to your debt load, or working yourself to the bone, there are a number of ways to acquire the funds you need.

From scholarships, to bursaries, and various forms of fundraising you may be able to fund your entire trip without spending a dime. Most students are aware that scholarships and bursaries exist, but did you know that not all scholarships and bursaries require top grades? Some are indeed merit based, while others are specific to your program, your travel destination or your...

Category: Writers In Residence
Kyla Oshanek
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Have you heard that the majority of people fear public speaking more than they fear death? Personally, I get it. I have always dreaded the seemingly constant public speaking associated with higher education. We have all been there. From introductions on the first day of classes, to the instructor calling on you unexpectedly, or worse: class presentations.

I would never have guessed that studying abroad could play a role conquering this fear. I went to Japan without expecting to speak in front of a group, so I was surprised when, on my first day, the program leader at the school I was visiting marched me to the front of a large class, handed me a microphone and asked me to introduce myself and discuss my visit. This was totally unexpected. I gave it my best and was relieved when it was over...

Category: Writers In Residence
Interesting foods during my research, Kyla Oshanek
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Do your homework. This goes both literally and figuratively. Many study abroad programs take academic achievement into account when selecting applicants, so hit those books. Additionally, researching the country you are applying to visit will not only help get you excited to study abroad, it will improve your understanding of the country’s culture, history and politics, as well as enhance your experience during your time abroad. 

Some topics I researched before my trip to Japan:

  • The weather during my stay. This helped me decide what to pack and what to expect when I arrived.
  • Blogs written by other students about their study abroad experiences. These students know first hand what you are likely to encounter and are an excellent resource for tips and adv...
Category: Writers In Residence
Camille James
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Before I actually began packing for my study abroad trip, I felt as though I had really been packing mentally for months. I thought about which particular articles of clothing I would need during the rainy English winter, whether I would need anything fancy, and specific supplies that I would need in my dorm room.

It took me a few days to gather everything I needed, and a few more to actually pack everything into my suitcase. (Rolling literally everything you own and packing things into vacuum storage bags takes time!) Here are some items I found particularly helpful to pack from home before beginning my journey abroad:

  1. Travel adapters. You will need an adapter from the moment you arrive in your host country, and having been on an airplane for hours you may be anxious to charge...
Category: Writers In Residence
Kyla Oshanek
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Humans are dynamic. We are always changing, learning and growing. The person you are after your study abroad experience will likely be different from who you are now. Here are three attributes that you can cultivate to help you during your study abroad, and beyond.

  1. Curiosity: curious people have a hunger for knowledge. They take pleasure in discovering new things. They ask questions and investigate. For example, a curious traveler might enjoy researching their host culture or country before leaving, providing them with a broad foundation of knowledge before they arrive. Alternatively, the curious traveler might want to experience as much of the culture as possible and seek out unique adventures, such as sampling local delicacies or participating in a local tradition....
Category: Writers In Residence
Taken during my solo trip to Isle of Skye, Scotland
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Having completed a study semester abroad in England, I was given many travel opportunities during my time there. Overall, I was able to visit 16 different countries over the course of a few months. I was able to travel both in a group and with just one friend, but I also took a few trips alone. I consider myself a pretty independent person, however whether or not you are should not affect your ability to travel solo. Travelling in a group has its perks, but I believe travelling alone almost has more. My favourite part of solo travelling is being able to do whatever I want whenever I want to, without worrying about what others want to do. I am free to explore and rest as I please, and can go at my own pace. This is also really beneficial when your travels are not entirely planned, as you are able...

Category: Writers In Residence

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