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By Janna Wale, Thompson Rivers University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

Another day coming to a close. I’ll try and keep from letting the sound of rain hitting the roof distract me. That’s one thing that I’ve been loving since I moved to Inverness, Scotland. I just really like the calm feeling that rain brings when the sun has gone down and you can just sit with a hot tea and listen, maybe reading another chapter or two of that book. Or finishing that essay that needs to be started…hmm..

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By: Matthew Hoogwoud, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship.

“I’m terrified. I have never done something like this before!”

These were the thoughts that were rolling around in my mind during the twelve-hour flight to my exchange destination, Kyoto, Japan. It felt like the longest twelve hours that I have experienced in recent years as I sat nervously in my seat watching the on-screen map move incrementally towards Japan. I don’t even know how to cook properly, I thought.

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By: Iris Kha, Capilano University. Winner of the 2016 Remes Family Study Abroad Scholarship.

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By: Malavika Santhosh, Simon Fraser University. Winner of the 2016 Stories from Abroad: British Columbia Study Abroad Scholarship.

Worried about fitting in or seeming like a tourist during your upcoming study abroad semester? Here are my top 3 tips to help you immerse yourself into the local culture.     

1. Getting Around

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It is nearing the end of what has been a dream of a semester abroad at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Having travelled to over 30 cities in the past four months, I must admit that although studying abroad is everything it is glorified to be and more, there are a lot of moments of utter chaos and confusion that lead to those picture perfect moments. Instances of homesickness, fitting in, and balancing school work with travelling, along with maintaining a social life in fear of missing out.

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My last couple months on exchange were jam packed with traveling to different cities, meeting new people, and cramming for final exams. I had a few weeks off after the semester was over before I had to return back to Canada and was able to travel to some of the major tourist hot spots. My first stop was Paris where I visited the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, saw the Tour de Eiffel for the first time (it’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be), and generally just ate a lot of sugar crepes. My next stop was in Amsterdam, where I ate the most delicious food I’ve had in Europe.

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So my study abroad trip to China is over! When I boarded my flight leaving Vancouver back in May, it felt like such a long period of time stretched out before me. By the time the last week rolled around, the days just flipped past. And finally, all I had left to do was say my tearful goodbyes and hop on my 10-hour flight home to Vancouver! I don’t know about you, but this is my least favourite part of any trip. On the way there, you’re filled with excitement and anticipation, and you spend the flight daydreaming and reading about your destination.

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After 51 days through 2 different countries, 6 beautiful cities across 2 different time zones by trains, planes, automobiles and boats- it is true to say; there’s no place like home. It feels like everything at home is exactly how I left it- except for me. To say that my time in Asia was “life changing” is an understatement but I suppose that phrase will have to do. 

Category: Student Blog

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