Welkom In België – Welcome to Belgium

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Author: Clemens Snoeijer
Program: Business Administration – International Business
Study Abroad Location: Ghent, Belgium

“The trouble with travelling back later on is that you can never repeat the same experience,” as Michael Palin said. I personally find that this quote applies to future experiences travelling and studying in Belgium, as this wouldn’t be my first time travelling to a European country.

On February 2nd, 2008, my family and I decided to immigrate to Canada. This was what inspired me in the beginning to study abroad while studying here in Canada. The thrill of learning a new language, adjusting to a different culture and building new connections was overwhelming but extremely rewarding. After learning all about Canada and its culture, I was searching for that same thrill again. But where was I going to get it? That was the problem that I faced at the time.

When the time came to apply for different post secondary programs, I found Seneca College and its Business Administration – International Business program. Through this program, Seneca would give me the opportunity to study abroad. However, like any other college student today, my only problem was finding a way to support myself financially speaking. It felt impossible as I was raised on a farm, living with nine other people all while soon to be living two hours away from home and attending Seneca. I found that by combining school and work at the local grocery store, I managed to save up and start my first semester in September of 2014.

Since starting my studies at Seneca, I have been lucky enough to meet different individuals who have come from all around the world. The cultural differences and their experiences had me wanting to learn more about the different cultures that this world has to offer. The one group of international exchange students that stood out to me the most were the students from Belgium. Their genuine friendliness and intelligence inspired me to explore Belgium further.

Later on in the summer, I decided to visit Belgium in the summer after visiting my family that is still living in the Netherlands. While in Ghent, Belgium’s students’ city, I instantly fell in love. I fell in love with the historical feeling of the architecture in the city and how it was able to almost blend in with the modern buildings that were in the area. Walking around Graslei with one of Seneca’s previous Belgian exchange students, I realized that Belgium was going to be the place for me. I started to realize how I missed out on my teenage years in Europe, which I am hoping to experience again from doing my exchange in Ghent.

I am also really excited to get the experience to study at a different school. While in Belgium, I will be taking several courses with a European perspective. I am excited and nervous to see the differences and similarities of Seneca College and Artevelde University College. I am hoping to gain more international connections within Europe, build new connections with fellow classmates and maybe even having the opportunity to network with future employers in my field!

Another reason why Belgium was the ideal selecting was because flying out from Belgium is also a much compared to other nations. I have made several plans with a fellow exchange student named Kexin who will be joining me in this phenomenal experience. We are hoping to visit many other European cities during our spare time. We are looking forward to what each European city has to offer us during our time there.

Hope you enjoyed my first blog post and I can’t wait to share more of my experiences studying abroad with you!

Best,
Clemens Snoeijer

 

 

An insider’s take on Ulm vs Neu-Ulm, Germany

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

Between the green borders of the German provinces Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, split between a wide winding river, lies Ulm and Neu-Ulm.

This place has been my home for five beautiful months. It has natural beauties and urban treasures. It can be a place to escape, build a family, start a business, even study a semester abroad. Ulm and Neu-Ulm are extremely small in comparison to Toronto but don’t be fooled by their size as they have much to offer for any student abroad.

Getting a job is possible here even if you don’t speak German. You can always use your own language to your advantage. It’s possible to find jobs in translation as well as jobs that don’t require speaking at all. There is always a need for dishwashers or back of house workers in local restaurants. It’s also possible to find a job through the University by inquiring with the International Office at HNU. I was lucky enough to find a job in translating web pages for a local company which allowed me a few hours a week to have a little bit of extra spending money and didn’t take up too much time.

Ulm

Twenty-five minutes on foot from the student residence in Neu-Ulm, you will find yourself in awe at the sight of the Ulm Munster. This church is Ulm’s pride and joy sitting 750+ steps high (which you can climb!) as the world’s tallest church. Climbing up these steps is exhausting and to be honest, quite terrifying, however it’s worth the view once you reach the top.

The city of Ulm is a mix of old and new. It has historical heritage that blends in with its student culture. I would describe Ulm as a student city. There are many Universities in the area and local bars and restaurants that cater to students with free entry with student cards. There are restaurants offering varieties of food from Italian, Spanish, French, Asian and Arabic.

Here is a list of some great things to do if you ever find yourself in Ulm:

Climb the Ulm Munster for an incredible photo opportunity. – Your legs will hurt the next day!

Explore the Canals. – Ulm has a magnificent canal belt with old German architecture, it’s a beautiful area to wonder around on a cool fall day or grab a coffee at a local café terrace in the summer.

L’Osteria. – If you’re ever in the mood for Italian, head over to L’Osteria. Their pizza is the largest I’ve ever seen, a great value for the price and it’s delicious. Try something different on your pizza like tuna fish. I had no clue this was a topping but apparently it’s a popular one around Germany.

Christmas Market. – I haven’t been myself, but I have heard it is one of the largest and takes place right in front of the Ulm Munster in the city square.

Grab a Kebab. – Kebab shops are all over Germany and they’re extremely cheap and filling! I think the best I have had in Ulm is at Firat Kebab and it’s even open late!

Transportation between Ulm and Neu-Ulm is easy once you become familiar with the routes. Local trains and buses are free for students on weekdays after 6 p.m. and weekends, so buying a bus pass isn’t needed! It’s possible to take a train from either Ulm or Neu-Ulm to Stuttgart, Munich, Frankfurt and connect to close major cities like Paris, Berlin, Dresden, Salsburg, Amsterdam and more. The cost of travel is relatively equal to the TTC in Ulm and Neu-Ulm but further journeys like Paris and Berlin can be between 20-50 euro one way.

Neu-Ulm
HNU is locatated in Neu-Ulm, in the province of Bavaria. The student residence is within a five-minute walk from the University, close to a grocery store, movie theatre, lake and restaurant. Although Neu-Ulm is much smaller then Ulm, it does have its charm. Neu-Ulm has a small downtown area, train station and mall, making it easily accessible and a great place to live and study with all of its amenities. With Ulm a short distance away, you can enjoy city life while living in a beautiful area.

There are many things to do in Neu-Ulm, such as:

Go for a run (or walk) along the Danube. – This river separates Ulm from Neu-Ulm, Baden-Württemberg from Bavaria. It’s beautiful at sunset or sunrise, or any time of the day really.
If running isn’t your thing you can always opt for a picnic!

Half Price lunch at peach pit. – Close to campus is an American style restaurant with amazing burgers and fries. Get there before 3 p.m. and the menu is half price!

Go to the lake. –
There are many lakes nearby that can all be accessed by bus. There is one lake a short walking distance from the University which is most popular with students. Here you can BBQ, swim, play volleyball, football and much more.

Danau Fest. – This festival takes place in the first week of July. Vendors sell all different types of German food, clothing, trinkets, jewellery and art, which line the shores of the Danube (river).

Schwörmontag. – This event takes place July 18th and is one of the largest festivals in Ulm/Neu-Ulm. Businesses, schools, families and friends make their own boats (or buy them) and sail them down the river for hours, eating, drinking and listening to music. The sides of the river are littered with people, vendors and live music.

With city life in Ulm so close by and beautiful scenery in Neu-Ulm just a walk away, it’s the best of both worlds here in the south of Germany.

Safe travels!

Catherine Camara

Post Scotland

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

Coming home from Scotland felt like a bigger culture shock than my arrival to Aberdeen. When I left for the UK I was prepared for things to be different, but I wasn’t prepared for that coming home. I wasn’t prepared to not recognize part of my hometown due to construction, or how most of my friends had moved away for the summer to work. You romanticize how the food back home will taste, what the weather will be like and how coming home is going to feel. Well to be honest, after moving into a new apartment and starting back at my old job, I want to be travelling again! You expect everything to be the same as how you left it, but it’s not because you’re not the same anymore. I love my job and my home but I want more adventure! It feels like a step back, and I want to continue going forward. I love my life here, but I loved my life out in Aberdeen just as much and I wasn’t ready for it to end. Unfortunately, my wallet told me it was time to come home.

                I can’t say being home has been all that bad though. We surprised my grandmother for her birthday with my arrival back in Canada. We kept it a secret that I was coming home with the rest of my family! It was nice to see how happy she was. I am also very glad that I am home for our family reunion in August. It will be nice to see the whole gang again. And there are benefits to being home! Like my mother’s cooking, or a nice big bed and bonfires with friends. Having a car is definitely a bonus to being home! As fit as I got walking around all the time, I prefer the McDonalds drivethru.

                All in all, I am glad to be back. It was time to come home and to plan the next stage of my life. I am hoping to go back to Europe as soon as I can save enough money for a short trip to visit friends I made abroad. I feel like I have grown into a well-rounded adult, with the sense that I can do just about anything that I put my mind too. So here’s to the next chapter of my life.

Cheers! Thanks for reading along everyone.

Looking back at my Scottish Adventure

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

I was recently lying down on my bed and summing up everything I have done in the last six months in Aberdeen, Scotland. I remember taking a bus from London and travelled overnight for 12 hours to Aberdeen with two big suitcases. I was travelling in the dark, but I was so excited to be in Scotland. I still remember having the first look around my cozy room. Since then, I have been to so many new places, including London, Edinburgh, Cruden Bay, Stonehaven, Old Trafford and so many other memorable places. I have met so many people who became my friends from all over the world. All these trips taught me how to plan my way through anything, keeping my budget in mind. This experience definitely taught me how to be independent.

I am glad I had the opportunity to go on the exchange program and discover more about myself.

Thank you for reading my posts!
Best,

Nimai Desai

Last Month In Scotland

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

Sorry everyone for my last few blog posts being late! My last little while abroad was crazy! I will try to remember as much about my crazy adventure as I can.

April and May was a little bit of a haze of final projects and studying for exams. May 11 marked my last day of school at RGU and the next chapter began!

My roommate and I flew to London on the morning of May 12, my birthday, and spent the day at Warner Bros studio. It was a magical birthday spent with props from the Harry Potter film series.

After spending a few days in London, I traveled to the Greek island of Zante. I had a few lazy days by the pool and beach at a beautiful hotel. I enjoyed food, met new friends and sweated off the stress of the end of school.

I then met up with my roommate again to head off to Croatia for a week-long cruise. What a week that was! Our Sail Croatia boat was crazy fun. We saw amazing sights and explored this heavily underrated country. I will definitely be back as it was the highlight of my trip.

At the end of the week, we said our goodbyes to our cabin mates on the cruise and headed off to Italy! We visited Sorrento, Amalfi, Rome, Florence, Bologna and Milan. My time in Italy included some not-so-great moments, like dropping my phone from a rooftop in Amalfi, but it had great moments too, like when my phone still worked after its fall!

Seriously though, Italy is absolutely amazingly beautiful. The people are kind, the food is great and the sites are unbelievable. While we were there I met some cousins on my mom’s side of the family for the first time. They were very gracious to us and I cannot wait for another opportunity to visit them.

From Italy, we traveled to our last stop, Paris. We were in the city during Euro Cup, so the atmosphere was incredible. We saw the sites, celebrated with the winning team’s fans and soaked in ambiance of the romantic city. Our favorite part of being France was actually not Paris, but Euro Disney! We fulfilled our childhood dreams and hung out in Disney for three days. By the end of those three days we were exhausted and finally headed back to Scotland to meet up with our families.

                Seeing my family again had a very calming effect. Traveling on your own can be stressful, but when you’re with your parents they help share all the logistical responsibilities. I was nice and relaxed, that is, until my family made me navigate through the highlands. I can proudly say we only got lost once! My parents fell in love with the scenery, the castle, the landscape and the animals. However, on our last day we got a flat tire and after that we were all pretty much ready to go home. It’s not like we were going to be doing much more driving anyway!