Lucy Dabbs with Panda
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

Sleep deprivation is something most teenagers experience at some point in their years, usually during the school year when procrastination is common and getting homework done early is not. We stay up late on our phones with no regard to how we're going to feel the next day, because we know we have the weekend to sleep in and stock up on sleep.

At the Beijing Royal School, it is like being on school time, the schedule fills every hour of the day. We go to sleep late and get up early, especially on the days we have outings. By the time Day 6 comes, we are all pretty run down, tired of cafeteria food and tired of the heat and tired in...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

After we are nourished and briefly rested on the bus ride, it’s time to walk around a massive shopping centre for 4 hours! I was prepared to go shopping, and am very glad to hear we were aloud to go off independently if we met back for dinner.

The first store I go into is a clothing store, and my first hour is spent trying on clothes and getting used to the different sizes, which I find to be much smaller than Western sizing. I do like the styles of clothing though, they seem a lot more colorful than our boring gray clothes back home.

I pull myself from the enticing fashions and explore the rest of the mall with a friend fro...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs, Great Wall of China
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

People surrounding you, pressing in on all sides, hot bodies brushing against one another. A sea of orange shirts soaked with sweat, people speaking different languages all around you. You are standing on a steep incline, on stone steps about a foot high and half a foot wide. Somebody trying to squeeze past on your left knocks you off balance, your heel goes off the edge of the step and you waver backwards. You catch yourself just before you teeter into the person behind you, a glance over your shoulder showing a bad potential for the domino effect if someone were to fall.

Your feet anxiously want to move, you move your head from s...

Category: Student Blog
Mariam Ali
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By Mariam Ali, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

It has now been two months since I came back from Europe, and five months since I finished my exchange in Strasbourg. I spent my summer travelling around the continent, visiting exchange friends in their countries and exploring their cities and villages with them. It was hard for me to come back to Vancouver after all of these adventures; I was crying as the day of my departure arrived and passed. I miss the lifestyle that I had in France, the short commutes, visiting other cities conveniently, being close to everything, the good food (especially the cheese). I also miss my exchange friends; I often watch them on Facebook as they graduate, travel and pursue new opportunities. Most o...

Category: Student Blog
Sean Paul Veltmeyer
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By: Sean Paul Veltmeyer, Langara College, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Sunday morning I wake up to vibrations and the sound of jackhammers. Several minutes of shaking pass and I lose any hope of reprieve from the cacophony. Down a floor I turn a corner to find that the hallway to the gym, functional just yesterday, has overnight turned into an impassible rubbish heap; full of smashed tiles and debris. It appears I have discovered the source of the jackhammering. It’s sunny outside and there is much to see so I settle for a walk in the city.

Within steps I’m perspiring, but, despite the heat and humidity, there is a pleasant breeze and the air is palatable. A blue sky, green trees, and brown and grey buildings with colourful (often red) signs m...

Category: Student Blog
Lenelle Kutzner, Reichstag Building, Berlin, Germany
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By: Lenelle Jordan Kutzner, University of Victoria, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Life after study abroad; it’s almost as confusing as while you’re away. I find when I’m returning from trips, I get in a mindset to go home. It becomes a peaceful bittersweet departure, as opposed to just bitter or just sweet. It’s amazing to return to familiarity, be reunited with friends, and finally be still as opposed to constantly on the go. However, I found I was left with a ‘what’s next’ feeling. I had a very acute awareness of what my life suddenly consisted of, or rather, didn’t consist of. No school. No travelling. No job. Just me, myself, and all the still very fresh lessons, memories, and even regrets that may have surfaced. Travelling not only expands the mi...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs, Chinese paper cutting
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

Each classroom holds a new set of students, and a whole new set of people to meet from multiple different countries. Throughout the day I learn numerous traditional Chinese Art and technical skills while laughing and getting to know the people in my class. Trying new things together is a great way to make friends.

After lunch I do paper cutting and Chinese ink painting. Patience is not my strongest suit so I don’t end up creating exquisite masterpieces, but I learn some cool techniques.

Soon it’s dinnertime, and I meet back with our group to hear about the different classes they took. When I finish eating, I head out to the...

Category: Student Blog
Cheryl Olvera at Bat Out of Hell The Musical
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By Cheryl Olvera, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Ah, Vancouver. What can I say? I love you and I’ve missed you, but I’m so so sad to be back in Canada. My apartment I sublet whilst gone is extremely dirty, my lamps are broken… I just feel lost. Turns out I really settled down in Brighton. I made some great friends, found a community in the local CrossFit gym, and even had a boyfriend.

My time in England was so much more than a study abroad semester—it was a new dimension of life for 6 months. It was really great for my academia to study at a research-based Uni (University of Sussex) with different professors for a semester, but what I really took away from this experience was profound personal growth. When out of my dail...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

At your feet lies a black headset, a thick visor to go across your eyes, and two nunchuck like controllers on each side. You pick up the headset and fit it onto your head like a crown, your eyes fitting into the visor like a pair of snorkelling goggles. Two cylindrical eye holes fill your vision, windows into another reality. A vast plane land, like the sandy terrain of Mars surrounds you. Your hands grope around, using touch and senses to pick up the controllers in the real life you can no longer see. Looking down to where your hands should be and in place there are two white controllers. You have no legs.

This is the virtual real...

Category: Student Blog
Lucy Dabbs
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By: Lucy Dabbs, Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, participant of the 2017 Beijing International Education Exchange (BIEE) Summer Camp.

The BC group still sits together at dinner, but this is the first official night, so people are still getting used to the idea of being able to walk up to any group and be talking to people from countries I haven’t even heard of. I could just sit down and have a meal with the people from Bangladesh and have conversations about homemade flutes with a side of dessert. The dessert, by the way, is amazing. They’re these fluffy cakes that are soft like a kitten’s fur and yet taste like vanilla.

The track had become the central unofficial hangout spot, where groups would gather in the evening in circles. This type of societal formation w...

Category: Student Blog

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