Julie Han, Simon Fraser University
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By Julie Han, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2018 (Spring) Stories from Abroad Scholarship, member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team

Study Abroad Destination: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Growing up in Canada, excellence has always been defined by an exhausting list of accomplishments: straight As, piano recitals, swim team, chess club, debate society, leadership camps, voluntourism in Rwanda, a nuclear family, regular Instagram posts, best friends, an enviable promposal, trendy clothes, clear skin, and anything else you could imagine. Although my life has never lived up to that still incomplete portrait of excellence, ever since high school it seemed as though that portrait was the only option. So, in trying to match this image...

Category: Writers In Residence
Drew Moffatt
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By: Drew Moffatt, British Columbia Institute of Technology, winner of the BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship, member of the Writer and Residence Team

Study Abroad Destination: Barcelona, Spain

When studying abroad in Europe, one of the things I was most looking forward to was travelling solo. Being a female solo traveler is nothing new. Many women all over the world do it! There is this whole community of women and it’s honestly amazing to witness. Now that may not be every woman’s dream, but here is why you as a female should at least try it once!

1) You meet people you wouldn’t meet if you were travelling in a group – being solo makes you talk to more people whether it be aski...

Category: Writers In Residence
Cheyenne Rode
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By Cheyenne Rode, Vancouver Island University, winner of the BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship, member of the Writer and Residence Team

Study Abroad Destination: Melbourne, Australia

Before, during, and after my exchange, I did some travelling. I travelled in both Australia, the country where I was doing my exchange and South East Asia, as it was very close. Some of that traveling was with friends and other times it was alone. As a female, I was extra careful while traveling to keep myself safe. Five tactics I used were:

  1. Be connected at all times - Whenever I got to the airport of a new country the first thing I did was get a SIM card. I felt a lot safer knowing that if I needed to contact...
Category: Writers In Residence
Julie Han, Simon Fraser University
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By Julie Han, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2018 (Spring) Stories from Abroad Scholarship, member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team

Study Abroad Destination: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

More than just humble taverns hiding down alleyways, and abandoned bicycles chained to post boxes, and gentle brick knolls stretching over canals, another critical feature of Amsterdam landscape is the smoke, more specifically the smokers. It’s a completely true stereotype: languid, long-haired Europeans draped over stoops and street corners with zero deference for your low tolerance. My entire first month was filled with a lot of clumsy side-stepping, breath-holding, and side-eyeing.

While a dying practice in Canada and the US, especiall...

Category: Writers In Residence
Drew Moffatt
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By: Drew Moffatt, British Columbia Institute of Technology, winner of the BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship, member of the Writer and Residence Team

When I moved abroad my biggest priority was to maximize all my free time towards travelling. I was on a strict schedule with balancing 6 classes, so I knew I had to make the most of it. In addition to that, I was on a very limited budget (as the EUR is not so friendly to the CAD). With technology today, it is honestly crazy what you can all accomplish from your fingertips. So I am here to tell you the top 5 apps that I used when studying abroad to help maximize my time and money.

  1. Google Calendar – it will be your best organization friend. It is extremely user-friendl...
Category: Writers In Residence
Julie Han, Simon Fraser University
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By Julie Han, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2018 (Spring) Stories from Abroad Scholarship, member of the BC Study Abroad Writer in Residence Team

Study Abroad Destination: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

My high school economics teacher kept a chunk of the Berlin wall in his desk drawer. Of the many non-economics related lessons with which he blessed us, this literal piece of history served as a reminder of the importance of being there. And as someone who had quite honestly lived the majority of her life vicariously through richer strangers on the internet, I easily dismissed this lesson. I always felt the lesson never invest in an African amethyst mine to be much more poignant, and just as relevant.

But now that I was...

Category: Writers In Residence
The Strasbourg Christmas Market (2016)
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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

There are many factors that may influence where a person wants to do their exchange, such as the physical location, travel opportunities, courses offered at a specific school, language learning, etc. As a student in the French Cohort Program, it was obligatory for me to spend at least a semester in a francophone school, either in Quebec or Europe. Before I started the program, I had always wanted to travel to Europe. I also wanted to attend one of the Sciences Pos in France because of their good reputations. I had the choice of going to Sciences Po Reims, Aix-en-Prove...

Category: Writers In Residence
Buildings in Sirmione, a town in Lake Garda.
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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

One of the best parts of my exchange in Europe was travelling around the continent. There’s so many countries, regions and cultures to explore, and they’re all very accessible thanks to the short distances and extensive transportation infrastructure. I recommend travelling by train because you get to enjoy the scenery while arriving at your destination in a timely manner. It can also be quite cheap, especially in Southern Europe, and it’s also possible to get discounts and rail passes. Buses are also quite affordable and convenient for short distances (I often travell...

Category: Writers In Residence
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

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