This first week in Costa Rica has been very enjoyable. Flying for the first time has been very exciting and long. The first thing I noticed once we landed in Costa Rica was the extremely intense humidity. It’s like opening the door to the steam room at the swimming pool. The driving style is very different from driving in Canada. Pedestrians do not have the right of way, and there is constant honking in the streets. Drivers are also very aggressive not hesitating to cut each other off to get onto the road.
In less than 1 week I will be in China! On May 16th I will land in Shanghai with my group from Langara College in Vancouver, BC. I almost can’t wait! I realized that one of the things I am most excited about in China is food! I decided to seek out and try one special dish in each area that we will visit.
Shanghai & “Stinky Tofu”
It was only a couple months ago that I packed my entire life into a suitcase, leaving Canada and everyone that I knew to begin my study abroad trip. Finally, I am beginning to get used to converting currencies in my head at the grocery store and having nearly everyone I talk to comment on my “Canadian accent.” School in England is very different from what I was expecting, but it is an experience to see how digital media courses are taught in a different country.
Helen Keller said, “life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. Her words express a longing in my heart for adventure- to experience new places and culture, climb new summits and meet new people. Today however, as I sit here thinking about my impending departure this coming Friday to embark on the biggest adventure of my life, I feel as though I am grasping at the strings of that longing as something to hold on to, and frantically trying to stop shaking in my boots.
After seeing eight countries and eighteen different cities, I am finally back in Vancouver. I was quite sad to say goodbye to my apartment, friends, and my favorite city, Berlin. It was definitely a mixed feeling between excitement to see my family, especially my brother whom I had not seen for two years and his new wife; and sadness at leaving Berlin.
The last few weeks of my trip were tiring and hard, but worth the effort for the work we were doing. For the last two weeks of the trip, we worked in schools with children in kindergarten to grade six mostly. These children have never had the opportunity to have their teeth cleaned. While we did not have the time or resources to clean each and every single child’s teeth, we were able to apply fluoride to help make their teeth stronger and decrease the chances of further decay from occurring. We also provided them with information on how to properly brush their teeth.
It is hard to prepare yourself for a different culture because you never really know what you are going to get. Before travelling to the Philippines, I did research, but it did not come close to preparing me for the culture shock I was about to experience.
It has been a few days since I have returned home from my time abroad in Colombia and I can only use one word to describe the transition back; “surreal”. It feels surreal to be speaking English, to be wearing clean clothes, to have hot showers and Deet-free evenings. Less than a week ago, I was in the rainforest; unplugged from the Internet, taking short, cold showers; learning about myself, tasting the local cuisine and battling the evening bugs. I am sitting here fiddling with bracelets made by two little girls in a nearby Amazonian village and it heavies my heart.
When I entered the Dental Hygiene Program in September 2014, I had no intentions on travelling abroad to put my skills to test. When the option arose to travel to the Philippines for a dental humanitarian trip, I thought it would be an amazing experience. Not only would I get to use and advance my clinical skills, but I would have an opportunity to experience a completely different culture. Upon researching the Philippines, I learned that one third of the population lives in poverty without many dental necessities, "such a restorations" and other needed dental resources.
I have been in Bogota for four days, and I cannot get enough of this city. The people, the view, the Spanish language and the food are incredible. Let me tell you a little bit about what I have seen so far.
Let’s start with the architecture. In Canada, I find the architecture to be plain, old Canadian architecture. Perhaps it is because we are a young country, but I find in comparison to other places in the world, it lacks variety.