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.
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.
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.
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.
After spending the past few months living abroad, I have learned a lot about the world in ways I never could have within a classroom. Foreign exchange rates, politics, food and cultural holidays are all examples of concepts that are better understood once experienced in a different culture. Furthermore, having had a myriad of travel opportunities, I can officially call myself an expert in booking travel and flying, as well as sleeping on overnight buses and trains; my passport is evidence of this.
The Food: during our month in San Pancho we dined at nearly every restaurant. I was surprised and delighted by the variety of food we found here. We even had a special dinner prepared for us in a local home as well as a private cooking class where we learned to make huevos rancheros and tortilla soup.
After spending 2.5 weeks in Costa Rica and landing in Prince George, I can safely say I’m already missing it. During this last week we have done some pretty amazing things. This includes ziplining, river rafting and swimming in the ocean. The zipline course included 12 lines with the longest line being over 800 meters long. Riding through the canopy is very beautiful. It allows you to view from the top of the canopy instead of viewing everything from below. Rafting was also very cool, we spent all day rafting down the Pacuare river.
I can honestly say that I have started and stopped writing this post a few times already. The magnitude and variety of new things I experience each day is sometimes overwhelming. How can I write just a brief post about a sliver of this adventure when I want to go on and on?
I chose to write about the top 3 things I am fascinated about in China so far.
Food (of course!)
While adjusting to life in England, there were definitely some cultural differences to get used to, even as a Canadian student. Now, having lived in the UK for a few months, I am finally beginning to adjust to living in a ‘flat’, going up ‘lifts’, wearing ‘jumpers’, and eating ‘chips’ instead of fries. However, I was pretty confused when my English friends discussed going to the ‘chemists’ (apparently a pharmacy).