Group picture after a sunset bike tour in Paris, France
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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

It probably goes without saying that people are what makes experiences special. One can even argue that they are what make the experience in the first place. We are social creatures and traveling is taxing. Hence why I am so grateful that I have crossed path with such an array of people who, even if at the time they did not strike a chord with me, have all become memorable characters of my journey. For those who have entered transiently into my life, I appreciate their passing influence; they have each held an unique role and played it spectacularly well. For those with whom I have managed to stay in touch...

Category: Writers In Residence
Janna Wale, Sagrada Família
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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.

If you are anything like me (poor university student), budgeting is your best friend. This becomes especially important when travelling. The more places you want to see, the more things you want to experience, the better you have to be about keeping track of your money. Luckily, I picked up a few tips about travelling on a budget, even in a more expensive country like Spain.

The first thing I would recommend is to learn the conversion factor from your currency to the currency of the country that you are thinking of travelling in. Spain functions on the euro, and having a conversion app on my phone helped me to de...

Category: Writers In Residence
Gigi Lin, Cornerstone at Simon Fraser University
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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.

A lot has happened in October. As I sit here typing away, I reminiscence back to this time last year, when I had attended the pre-departure orientation. It was the last info session before exchange, but also the first time I had connected with other students attending the same exchange institution. To prospective exchange students: I would really encourage you to take advantage of all the resources available from your home institution. The fairs and/or info sessions that take place are really helpful, and you’ll realize that for a lot of your worries and questions – other students have them too (and you’ll make...

Category: Writers In Residence
Peter Mate, Matthias Church
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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.

You’re bags are stowed – your plane is cruising through the sky. Thoughts swirl in your mind about travel and adventure. Most importantly, you’re looking forward to escapades in new cities, and excitement in untraveled streets. Perhaps these thoughts are padded with vivid images and written accounts from travelers online. Their exploits – whether cultural or spiritual – create an expectation of your destination. However, upon landing, you discover that your dreams don’t match reality. Perhaps the buildings weren’t as ornate, the people less polite, and the food less gastromic. These small disappoi...

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 been exactly 8 months since I had departed YVR for LHR. Half of that time was spent rediscovering myself traversing streets, alleyways, restaurants, stalls, courtyards, gardens … and for the other half, it was a beautiful summer in which the sunny days outweighed the rainy ones, and I made my place at an awesome company with remarkable co-workers. It was definitely a great post-withdrawal period spent as I slowly transitioned into “regular” life again.

...

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.

You might be abroad right now feeling like you have just made the biggest mistake of your life. Why did you ever think exchange was a good idea? You clearly did not understand how hard this experience was going to be.

If you are feeling this way and are miles away from everything you love and know, I can promise you, you are not alone in feeling this way. Society today has become very fearful of the uncomfortable and the unknown.

In particular, North American society has set up residence within the familiar and the secure. To go anywhere the least bit different from the culture most of us have lived in our...

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

My Chinese heritage became very salient to me during my study-abroad. At every city I went, I had someone, often a man, shout out greetings to me in Mandarin on the street. Why they would even think that to be an appropriate behavior is beyond me. And yet these borderline discriminatory remarks enticed me to reflect on what it felt like to wear my ethnicity so visibly around me.

Born and raised in China, my family immigrated to Canada sixteen years ago. Since then, I have acquired Canadian citizenship and accustomed myself with the label “Chinese-Canadian.” I retained the first qualifier—“Chinese”—even though I...

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.

Traveling on a budget requires sacrificing privacy, in exchange for economical transport and housing. This sacrifice is necessary to ensure harmony and good sentiment between you – the traveller and your peers during your experience abroad. Accordingly, finding the optimal balance between privacy and your finances is essential in maximizing satisfaction abroad.

Sacrificing privacy in exchange for optimizing travel experience is a delicate balance between finances and personal desire. Hence, privacy during travel is relative to the resources spent to ensure an enjoyable trip. In order to str...

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.

When I used to think about all the places I would see while I was abroad, my mind automatically jumped to the famous and historic places. I thought about Paris, Rome and London, envisioning coffee at the Eiffel tower or lunch near Big Ben. What I quickly discovered surprised me and completely made my change my thinking about travelling.

While there is something to be said about these famous and historic places, I found a lot of the popular tourist attractions to be overpriced and overcrowded. Don’t get me wrong I am happy I went and experienced all of these amazing places, but when I reminisce about my time livin...

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.

Awareness of surroundings is critical in maximizing satisfaction when studying abroad. This maximizing effect derives from the detection of appropriate actions relative to ones environment. Hence, determining the correct action, relative to ones environment determines the level of satisfaction when travelling. This awareness evidenced itself while I lived in Raday Utca (street) in Budapest’s IX district. This region of the city borders the cities District V (Downtown), District VII (area frequented by tourists), and District VIII (a notoriously seedy portion of the city). Hence, District IX absorb...

Category: Writers In Residence

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