Life in Croatia

profile picture NEW

Author: Stephanie Rukavina
Program: Business Administration – International Business
Study Abroad Location: Zagreb, Croatia

My first month in Zagreb has been absolutely amazing!! I have completely fallen in love with this amazing city, and now I am sure I made the right choice when I chose to study abroad in Croatia.

When I first arrived in Zagreb, the beautiful architecture of the city was the first thing I noticed. The city is wonderfully kept, clean, and there are plenty of people always walking around, whether it is 12 in the afternoon, or 8 in the evening. I was lucky finding the apartment that I did as well. It had everything I needed, and was beautifully decorated. It was also in the perfect location, close to the school, the mall, and in easy access of all of the bus and tram lines. I got the hang of traveling by bus and tram pretty easily, and in no time I felt like a pro at it!

My first week at school was really fun. The first day was filled with new information about the school and the city as well. I received my class schedule, an information booklet, a RIT-Croatia t-shirt, and even met some new people who were first year students to RIT just like me. The following weekend the school hosted a “Welcome BBQ!” for all students new to RIT at a cute little restaurant in the center of Zagreb which had a lovely outdoor patio. That was a great experience to socialize and eat some delicious food. Asides from all of the socializing, my academics have been going well. The school is small so it is very easy to find all of my classes, causing me to never be late for class, so that’s a bonus! There is also a cafe super close by, so on my longer breaks you can usually find me there having a coffee or doing some homework.

Now, with my first month in Zagreb almost over, I have slowly settled into the Croatian lifestyle of everything being more easy-going, relaxed, and social. I have been to the center of Zagreb, which is similar to the Downtown area of Toronto, quite a few times now, and every time I go I am absolutely amazed with this city! I have quite a few more adventures planned and I cannot wait to explore some more!

Best,
Stephanie

When Life Takes Flight (South Korea)

new headshot

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

Working in Korea has developed me as a person as well as my motivation to my career goals of being an airline pilot. I have learned so much about the aviation industry as well as the working environments and the working culture that I cannot wait to start working after I graduate from my Seneca degree program. Everyone I met and worked with were truly amazing and considerate of the little cultural difference they may see in me, but it was a great experience personally going to a foreign country on my own and spend a few months to work and travel.

Before I went to South Korea, I had some knowledge of what to expect but I could have planned it out more specifically of what I can do to spend my leisure time while traveling and visiting places that I have never visited before. More planning was needed for experiencing the new type of foods as well.

Since I’ve worked at the airport, I have seen many tourists around the world that would always get lost in the subway system because it is just too confusing at first even if you are proficient in Korean. My advice regarding transportation is to have a smart phone with any Korean navigation applications because Google Maps doesn’t work in Korea.

My return to Canada was a long trip and I guess the most challenging part was the jet lag that I had for a few days but that was about it since everything else regarding the lifestyle is pretty much similar to what we have here.

The four months have gone by quick and I am already missing my relatives and coworkers.

Thank you to Seneca Abroad for the great opportunity they granted me and thank you all for reading my blogs.

Cheers,

Ki Oh An

Was I ready? (Belgium)

profile picture new

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

As Barbara Haines Howett once said “just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, he became a butterfly.” I personally feel strongly connected to this quote, as it seems to relate to my life. At the stage of the caterpillar, I grew up in the countryside of The Netherlands. Biking to school, hanging out with fellow classmates and spending holidays with family seemed ordinarily perfect. My life changed drastically when my parents made the decision to move to Canada. I had envisioned a different lifestyle that included many strong social attributes. At that point when I entered Canada, it felt like I could never adjust, as I started to get older, I always said that I would move back to my hometown, but was it maybe because of the culture shock that I was experiencing?

During my transition of becoming a butterfly and spending time in my own cocoon, I would say that the culture shock has finally worn off. I have been able to accept Canada as my new home with the opportunity to grow, through education and work. Having finally gotten over the culture shock of living in Canada, I still often thought, what if I just stayed? Could I continue onto the next chapter and catch up on many moments I had missed or did Canada become my new home?

On August 23rd, I began my journey to Amsterdam to reconnect with my family and friends. When I was reunited with my family, I noticed all the different progress and growth that they made while I was away in Canada. I was extremely proud of them and how far they have come while I was away. I was going to take full advantage of the time that I did have with them as I realized there was lots of opportunities to make new memories with my family and friends that I was visiting. I realized that I was not just here to strengthen the bonds between my loved ones, but I was also there to start something new.

The first night in Ghent I was mesmerized by the difference between apartments in Toronto and Ghent. I was now located in the heart of the city, a few steps away from famous tourist locations, something I had really wanted. Although the location of the apartment was great, I was a little unimpressed with my apartment. Not only was it tiny, many things were not functioning properly. The shower upstairs was leaking down to a housemate’s room, and I couldn’t properly open the front door to the building. It sadly also is badly maintained and seems rather dirty, but I’m hoping I could slowly adjust especially having to share it with 12 other housemates. I suddenly realized that living in Belgium compared to Canada would obviously be a little different, but I did not expect it to be so extreme, but I knew I was here for a new learning opportunity and thinking about the positive side of things was going to help me get through this culture shock. The one of the few positive things about this new experience is being able to make different friends from all around the world, right in my classroom.

The city of Ghent is beautiful and relaxing, making the progress of being in an unknown country easier. I enjoy sitting by the riverside of the Graslei and the beautiful architecture surrounded around the river. Besides the Graslei, I enjoy walking around browsing through small local stores, occasionally grabbing a delicious chocolate treat (Mmmh!)

Orientation week has been phenomenal. In the beginning of orientation week we had the opportunity to meet other fellow exchange students. I was set to make new friends where I forget to pay attention to sessions themselves; luckily they seemed very straightforward. During my campus tours I got to know several students, from Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Germany, United States and more. We haven’t really been separable since, as we had spent the rest of the week together going to local bars and restaurants. This definitely helped get rid of the culture shock, and I no longer had to explore the city alone. I am very excited to see what the next few weeks have to offer, and cannot wait for the schools kick off on Wednesday September 28. I have my first class early in the morning at 8:15, but luckily the rest of the week I start later. I’m excited to see the difference between educational system of Seneca and Artevelde University College. Lastly I am hoping to become the butterfly I want to become by discovering if Canada or Europe becomes my new home for the future.

Best,
Clemens

 

Where to go next? Utrecht, Netherlands

amanda-cook-profile-picture

Author: Amanda Cook
Program: Honours Bachelor of Commerce – International Business Management
Study Abroad Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands

After enrolling at Seneca, I immediately knew that I wanted to go on an exchange. At first, I wasn’t sure on where, but after attending a few presentations and checking where was compatible for my program, I chose Utrecht, Netherlands! The Dutch culture and people are just so welcoming and friendly, thus you never feel like an outsider. Besides that, almost everyone here can speak English (which is nice when you’re lost haha).

Since I previously did an exchange in high school, I kind of knew what to expect. However, at this time, it was in a completely different country, and I instead of living with a host family, I am living with both Dutch and other international students!

I chose to live in a big apartment style complex. I share the flat with 11 other international students. In our building there are 8 different flats for international students and about 16-20 flats for Dutch students. Therefore, when you do the math there are a lot of young people living all together, so there’s always something going on and people to hang out with.

My flat mates come from a variety of countries such as, Finland, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Vietnam, England and France. It makes for a very cool environment to hangout in and to learn about our different cultures. I share a very big room with another girl, but some rooms are singles. We all share a kitchen and living room as well as two bathrooms.

As for meals since we are cooking for ourselves, I haven’t had too much of a culture shock, but I definitely love the stroopwafels and the bitterballen (which are fried balls with creamy beef like filling). I have also found that food and drinks are extremely cheap compared to Canada, which is very nice!

I am starting Dutch language classes on top of going to school and I love every minute of being here!

Hope you enjoy my first blog post and stay tuned for the next ones!

Safe travels,

Amanda