My Life In Scotland

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

After spending some time in Scotland and in the university, I was getting accustomed to lectures, tutorial and group work. I was fortunate to make friends very quickly. Among them, two became my best friends, one from Aberdeen and the other from Italy. They stood up for me and were also my group mates. They were both very humble and gentle people and were with me on all my courses. I felt lucky for having them as my friends and hope we can keep in touch even with the distance.

Besides studying, I also enjoyed my time travelling as much as I could. One of the places I visited was the heart of Scotland, Edinburgh. Edinburgh is also the capital city of Scotland, a place which contains the high courts; sheriff courts just to name a few. A fun fact for all Harry Potter fans is that J.K. Rowling, the author of the books, started writing the books in Edinburgh in a cafe named The Elephant House. When I heard about the place, I had to go there and visit it. At the cafe entrance there is a sign written “The birthplace of Harry Potter” as well as some pictures of J.K. Rowling writing the books. I took the opportunity to have a coffee and a bite there before heading to the Edinburgh Castle, one of the top 3 castles in all of Scotland.

This is the castle where the first Kings and Queens of Scotland had resided. In the castle, there were certain cannons, and the cannon balls with it as well as the armory which contains weapons of the ancient times. One of the interesting facts about this castle is that it was used as a prison in the older time, and prisoners from different countries were held in Edinburgh Castle. It was a great experience to have known their way of living, eating and entertaining. A high point is absolutely the view, which you can see the entire city of Edinburgh.

Right next to the castle is a museum of single malts which was an interest of mine while staying in Scotland. The museum was insane! There were over 3,400 single malt whiskeys from all around the world collected by a single person named Claive Vidiz. This visit taught a lot about single malts, the heartbeat of all single malts is in Scotland.

The trip to Edinburgh was incredible. Once a lifetime chance to see the capital of Scotland and I embraced it.

Fitting Into France

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Author: Meghan DuCille
Program: Public Relations – Corporate Communications
Study Abroad Location: Paris, France

I arrived in Paris on February 2, 2016 and I will be staying here until June 1, 2016. So far my experience in Paris has been fantastic! There are of course good days, and bad days, but that comes with moving to a new city. I am studying at a private university that specializes in Journalism, Media Arts and Communications. Many of the courses that I am taking are marketing and brand focused, which compliments my first semester of public relations really well.

The learning environment in France is very different than in Canada. In France, for the most part the instructors do all of the talking with minimal group work or class participation. Most classes typically have one large assignment that is your grade for the semester. The classroom sizes are small with a maximum of 35 students in each, allowing you to really get to know everyone in your classes. This year, there are eight other international students from a variety of European countries.

European international students are referred to as “Erasmus students”, which stands for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. In each European city there is an Erasmus Student Network that organizes events and activities for students every week. Thus far, I have participated in a weekend trip to Normandy, France and to Cote A’zur in the South of France with the Erasmus Network.

Aside from academics, the city itself is quite beautiful. There is always something to do in Paris and it usually involves strolling aimlessly along Parisian streets on a warm day. In France, between the hours of 5pm-8pm there is “Apero” which is a type of cocktail hour where bars and cafes offer discounted cocktails and drinks while you enjoy appetizers! This is a very student friendly way to socialize in this city. Paris also has a lot of “grec” or “kebab” restaurants places which are great cheap eats if your stomach grows full of one too many baguettes. The main student district in Paris is called the Latin Quarter at the metro stop Saint Michel.

The weather has been a bit dreary lately, but when the sun is out, myself and a few friends will be planning to have a picnic in Jardin Tuileries. This garden is located in front of Le Louvre museum and has the best ground view of the city and the Eiffel Tower! I cannot head home to Canada without experiencing at least one Parisian picnic!

The Belgium Diaries: The Last Page

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Author: Jamie Sterling
Program: Public Relations – Corporate Communications
Study Abroad Location: Ghent, Belgium

Classes have just ended here at Artevelde and, despite a final project and an exam in a few weeks, the goodbyes have already started.

It’s unreal.

But surprisingly, it’s not as much sad as it is disquieting. Life is about to change, again and I feel busier than ever. My days are full of studying, researching and applying to jobs, planning a short trip and slowly packing all of my things. On top of that, I’m trying to soak up every last bit of Ghent before I go.

Literally. It’s still raining!

Despite being completely in love with this city, the rain is something I don’t think I could ever get used to. Actually, throughout this experience there have been a few things that have remained completely foreign to me. For instance, there are ‘second chance’ exams where if you fail the first time you can try again during the rewrite period two months later. I just can’t get my head around it.

At the same time, there have been some things that have grown on me. I was reluctant but I learned to appreciate that grocery stores close at 7 p.m. every day and don’t open at all on Sundays. It’s inconvenient but it feels more relaxed, in a way.

And of course, there have been many things that I have embraced wholeheartedly. I will certainly miss cycling everywhere, spending sunny days sitting by the river in the medieval city centre and perusing weekly markets. Not to mention treating myself to a warme chocolademelk where the milk comes piping hot and you stir in the chocolate chips yourself!

In fact, I’ll miss all of it.

Whether I understood it, accepted it, adapted to it, or not — every part of this experience contributes to the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired simply by being here. Without the observation, problem solving and resourcefulness that come from being out of one’s comfort zone I might have never found my way to my apartment on a cold and misty morning four months ago. More importantly though, I’ve developed my relationship-building and communication skills in the context of an evolving intercultural awareness. There is nothing quite as special or as memorable as the diverse connections I’ve made here and I’m grateful to all the people I spent time with, learned from and have been fascinated by.

It’s bittersweet that the semester has come to an end but I know that when I leave, I’m not just leaving the city, the culture and my friends behind. I’m bringing with me a broader world view, an alternative perspective of my field, and a global network of wonderful and intelligent communications professionals.

So I won’t say vaarwel but dank u vel, I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.

Summer in Seoul!

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: Ki Ho An
Program: Honours Bachelor of Aviation Technology
Study Abroad Location: Seoul, South Korea

I have recently finished my third-year at Seneca College in the Bachelor of Aviation Technology Degree Program where I study and train to become an airline pilot. The program requires us to find a co-op placement related to the aviation industry and work for fourteen weeks during the summer. I was fortunate enough to find a position at the Air Line Pilots Association of Korea by connecting to the employer through an upper year student who had previously worked at the organization.

I was born in South Korea but I haven’t had the chance to see my relatives for such a long time due to the intense workload of studying. Then I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to work and travel at the same time to see my families. Working at the organization will also be a good investment from a future employment standpoint because I get the chance to work with active airline pilots and have an opportunity to receive tips on how to get started on my career. I am also able to see and experience a variety of affairs that the pilots have with the government which will help me enhance my understanding to become more mature, professional, and successful towards becoming an airline pilot.

It is my first time travelling alone anywhere far, especially to a country I haven’t been to for many years. However, being fluent in the Korean language gives me the confidence to go abroad. I love facing challenges and I am very excited to go abroad to meet great people during the summer. The organization that I work for is located right beside Gimpo International Airport; the second largest airport in Korea. It was pretty hard to find a place to live due to population density. Therefore, I decided to live with my relatives who also happen to be studying aviation in Korea and I thought it would be a great chance where we can talk a lot about our common interests.

The commute to work takes about an hour and twenty minutes one way but the place that I am staying at is located right beside a subway station and it doesn’t require much walking. The public transportation system seemed very confusing at first because the map looked like a spider web! There were multiple buses at a bus stop that travelled in different directions. I had to spend few days getting used to it, but it was very systematic and advanced. There was Wi-Fi available everywhere so I would always be able to use my smartphone in case I was lost.

There is so much variety of food in Korea that are very delicious. In fact, there are so many different foods that I still haven’t had the same meal more than once since I arrived here! There is still tons more to do and see during the 14 weeks that I will be here. I know it’s going to be a busy but amazing summer!