Jaimie Cryder, University of Victoria, winner of the spring 2019 BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship

Study Abroad Destination: Seville, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen

Enjoying tapas in Sevilla’s lively plazas, cheering on Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, biking along the canals of Amsterdam and swimming in Copenhagen’s clean waterways are just a few of the highlights from my time studying abroad. Along with countless memories with new friends, the Uvic European Urban Sustainability Field School offered me a worthwhile learning experience that has helped me shape my future academic and professional goals. Prior to the field school, I had a passion for the subjects of environmental studies and social geography. Through my study abroad program I have developed a new critical lens through which to understand the urban realm. This has motivated me to focus my studies on the area of sustainable urban development. The engaged learning curriculum introduced dynamic research projects and meaningful work. I feel energized by the new career paths that have been revealed to me through this process as I look towards graduation.

In addition, my international experience has encouraged me to explore opportunities to pursue a graduate degree abroad. I discovered that there is a wealth of potential to cultivate academic, professional and personal growth when you immerse yourself in a new setting with an appreciation for diverse understanding of a subject. Having the opportunity to meet and learn from urbanist, activists and planners throughout Europe provided me with a variety of perspectives on the pathways and barriers to creating more sustainable cities. Through this process, I gleaned valuable insight into the solutions to problems that are similar to those we face in Victoria, BC. At the same time, we delved into unique local issues. By leaving the Uvic campus I saw different creative approaches to creating greener cities. This expanded my understanding of what is possible and how I want to contribute. I feel excited and inspired to apply what I learned through my studies abroad. My time abroad will be an invaluable asset in realizing my academic and professional aspirations. 

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