Adventuring while Studying Abroad

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Author:
Avery Navikevicius
Program: Fashion Business Management
Study Abroad Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Iceland was absolutely amazing! I definitely plan to return one day. I went with two friends, Georgie and Geena. We rented a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a hot tub. On our first day we went to the Blue Lagoon, and spent many more hours than expected there. It is a beautiful spa, and I don’t think my skin has ever felt so nice! The next day we went to the black beaches and saw an abandoned plane. On our way back to the cabin we hiked behind a waterfall.

That night we went to an authentic Icelandic restaurant, where the waiters were dressed in Viking outfits. The following day we tried to go to the highlands but could not make it without 5 where drive, so we explored Glacier Lake instead. On the horrendously long car ride there we stopped for Icelandic ice cream. On top of the AMAZING ice cream were gooseberries… which I had never tried before! On our last day we explored the area surrounding the famous Strokkur Geysir. We hiked up a mountain and saw an amazing double waterfall.

We did lots in Scotland this month. There was a walking tour about Aberdeen’s medical history involving body snatching. We also went to a Harry Potter murder mystery night. We tried butter beer and guessed the wrong murderer. We went to Glasgow twice, one weekend to see the Lumineers and the next to see Kip Moore. We ended up being able to get a picture with him at the end of the night!!

My roommate and I also got our dose of culture in when we went to see Swan Lake. Although, being up so far on the balcony gave us both a slight dose of vertigo. Next time we will splurge on better seats!!!

This was sort of a difficult month to be away from home. I had just missed Easte, and shortly after I missed my mother’s birthday. It was quite difficult to be away from family dinners, especially when they would facetime me to show me all the wonderful homemade food they were eating… I also missed the birth of my best friend’s son a few days ago. He is a beautiful baby boy that I am very exciting to go home and meet him face to face and not just through Snapchat!!!

In the midst of being so very busy I finished up a few final projects. This month was non-stop! We are currently planning a trip to London, Greece, Croatia, Italy and France. After that I will be meeting my family in Edinburgh for a road trip around the Scottish Highlands and then heading home. What an amazing experience this has been!!!

A Place Like Home

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Author: Catherine Camara
Program: International Business
Study Abroad Location: Bavaria, Germany

Arriving in Neu-Ulm was a smooth transition in lifestyle for me. Since we arrived a couple days ahead of time, I had the perfect opportunity to take a tour of my new city and get to know my surroundings. Neu-Ulm is located in the Bavarian province of Germany. The city is filled with beautiful sites such as the Ulm, Munster and “Blautophf”, the nearby natural spring. Neu-Ulm is a relatively smaller city than Toronto, but similarly as vibrant with a lot to offer!

My transition into starting school at HNU was also a smooth process. The school had planned two weeks of registration, activities, language classes and events that not only helped me stay informed, but also kept me busy and allowed me to make some great friends! I had already taken care of my Visa and Health Insurance before I left Toronto. All that remained for me to do when I arrived in Neu-Ulm was set up a bank account and register my seat of residence. The International office at HNU was very accommodating throughout the whole process and I immediately felt comfortable settling in. A key factor that helped ease my transition into HNU was being paired up with a student tutor.

One thing I learned while travelling abroad is that it is really important to keep an outgoing mind-set, be confident and stay organized. It is also a great idea to connect with your student tutor prior to leaving for your trip. I lucked out when I was paired up with my student tutor, Sophie Jonke, because Sophie and I have similar personalities. We both share a love for travel, food, business and an overall enthusiasm for life. Therefore it was easy to become friends with her and even make plans to travel together for the upcoming semester break! Sophie picked me up from my hotel on move-in day and helped me get settled in at home. She was even nice enough to bring me to IKEA afterwards for some much needed shopping!

HNU had planned some fun activities for us such as bowling nights, brewery tours, laser tag, intercultural classes, and day trips to Munich and Stuttgart. Attending these events was a great way to meet and hang out with other International students who were travelling on their own as well. In a way, living in Neu-Ulm is very similar to living in Toronto where everyone is from somewhere else! In Neu-Ulm, there were students from Sweden, Jordan, Croatia, Spain, Russia, Finland, China, Turkey, Mexico – the list goes on. This made my trip interesting because not only did I have the opportunity to learn about German culture but I also had an amazing chance to experience different customs, languages and meals from around the world!

Germany has great food options for anyone that loves to eat! The local grocery stores offer a large variety of different ethnic foods including Mexican, Italian, Asian, and pretty much every thing you would find at a local grocery store such as Metro in Toronto (thank you globalization!).

A traditional German dish in Neu-Ulm is Weisswurst, which translates to White Sausage. Tasting this dish was a nightmare at first. The texture of the sausage was too rubbery and not very visually appealing either. It took some time for me to get used to it but I must say the sausage has grown on me (especially when its drowned in German mustard!). If you are ever visiting Bavaria, I definitely recommend giving Weisswurst a try. If pork is not in your diet, the chicken schnitzel is a great alternative and a popular traditional dish in all of Germany as well. There is also no better way to top off a meal in Germany than with a butter pretzel and a litre of brew.

In Germany, it feels as though everything is so different yet so similar in many ways. Realizing the similarities between Toronto and Neu-Ulm helped make my transition that much easier. I was pleased to find out how accommodating the school was and how friendly people around me were. I truly feel right at home! Although I am settling in well, I also know that there is still so much to do but I look forward to it!

Safe Travels,
Catherine Camara

Arriving in Scotland

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Author: Nima Desai
Program: Bachelor of Commerce – International Business Management
Study Abroad Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

My name is Nimai Desai, currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce – International Business Management program at Seneca College. Through this program, I selected to spend a semester as an exchange student at RGU, Aberdeen, Scotland.

After arriving in Scotland through London and settling in my room, I rushed to attend international student orientation. In the orientation, I met couple students from Canada; one is from Seneca and one from Alberta.

In that session, I learned more about the education system and I would highly recommend to anyone going in the future to RGU to attend these sessions.  Besides that, non EU passport students also have to attend another orientation session that is absolutely necessary for the enrollment system. These sessions are similar to orientation week at Seneca , where students have the opportunity to meet people from various other countries and learn more about the institution and events coming up. I was amazed by how warm and friendly people were. I felt home away from home.

Once I had arrived in the city of Aberdeen and finished all my formalities of being a student, I started researching transportation, including how far I would need to travel to buy food. The best way to experience Aberdeen is through being a student. The city offers great discounts for movies, transportation and other excursions.

In regards to doing groceries, there are various grocery shops like ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsburys and cooperative. The closest to my house is Sainsbury, which is like any regular grocery store, but for me it was the first time buying and planning a week of meala by myself. The experience is completely worth it! ASDA is like the Costco in Canada and Morrisons, Sainbury and cooperative are just as Walmart and Freshco.

I have visited a few places and they are magnificent. I have attended a football game, Aberdeen FC vs Celtic game. These teams are the top two in the Scottish league. Scotland is known for its single malt distilleries and I got an opportunity to visit one named Glen Garioch Distillery. It was a wonderful adventure and I was able to experience some of what Scotland has to offer. I still have few castles to visit, another landmark that Scotland is mostly known for. RGU has groups of mostly international students, where they arrange trips around Scotland for students. I qould encourage any student to take part in these trips and excursions as they are a great place to meet new friends, while making lasting memories.

With a busy study and travel schedule, it is easy to forget to take care of your own health. I experienced this in the beginning of March, when I got a bit sick. I would advise anyone travel or studying abroad o always watch what you eat and drink.

After becoming healthy, I visited Slains Castle, located in Cruden Bay. My main goal is to travel to Edinburgh which is called the heart of Scotland and one the most beautiful cities in the country, including Inverness. Upon completion of my studies in Scotland, I plan to visit other European countries.