The end of study abroad

For what seemed like ages, going on study abroad was my next big thing to prepare for and look forward to, but after what seems like a blink of an eye, it’s over. I’m still getting my head round this and will probably not need much prompting at all to talk about my year for the foreseeable future (hopefully not in too much of a gap-yah style).

Continue reading “The end of study abroad”

Home Sweet Home

By Jing-Jing Hu (University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada)

After another two weeks of travelling in Canada and the US, I eventually made my way back home – first to Germany and then to Manchester (at last).

In Germany, I spent the majority of my time with friends and family, exchanging stories on all the things that had happened in the last few months (and there were a lot), celebrating my sister’s highschool graduation and visiting friends in different cities in the area. It took me a while to realise that I am not in Canada anymore (it is summer, but where is the snow?!), but I eventually got used to the fact that my time in the country famous for its beautiful nature, its icehockey team and maple syrup was over – for now. Writing and talking about Canada still makes me feel nostalgic, but at the same time I have missed my loved ones at home. And there are a few things that  I sometimes take for granted in Germany that I have missed, too:

The architecture, for instance, (here in Freiburg)…

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…or a good wiener schnitzel with spätzle – a typical German dish.

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Back in Manchester I worked as a student ambassador for a couple of days before starting my internship.

IMG_9774As part of the internship I sometimes travel to London and I must admit I was quite surprised when I found a sunny and hot London (it was over 30°C!)  instead of the cold and rainy one I was used to. I mean, where is the rain?! Where is the wind?! Why is it not cold?! Well, at least the red buses are still there and of course, the impressive architecture. London never fails to amaze me in some way or the other – and neither does Manchester.

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Although it is in the middle of summer and many of my university friends are back in their home country or travelling, I was very pleased to see some of them during graduation in July. It is unbelievable how fast time has passed. Two years ago I first arrived in Manchester, not knowing a single person. This year I am welcoming new students to our University in September, with a wealth of experiences to share. And next year? Next year I will (hopefully) be where some of my friends were this July – graduating with a degree from The University of Manchester. Let’s see what the future holds in store for me, but whatever is going to happen – the beautiful memories I have made in Canada will always stay with me.

What happened next?

By Jing-Jing Hu (University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada)

UBCAbout one and a half months ago my time at UBCO came officially to an end and it was time to say goodbye – goodbye to UBCO, but not to Canada. After we had finished our exams, Maria, a friend from Mexico, and I made our way to Banff and Lake Louise. It took us quite a while to get there (yes, it all looks very close on the map… maybe a bit too close), but the view awaiting us was simply breath-taking.

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I would even say that Banff was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Nothing compares to the feeling of sitting on a rock thousands of metres above the ground, somewhere in the mountains, a light breeze touching your skin, overlooking the whole town, and just enjoying the view.

592At some point on our way we got lost and stumbled across a secret spot. It is not just a name that we invented, but it is actually on the map – “The Secret Spot”, except that we were heading somewhere else and just ended up there. I guess putting down your map and getting lost every once in a while is not such a bad idea after all, you might even discover something beautiful. It is another one of my favourite spots (and there were many in Banff). We sat there for quite a while just listening to the sound of the waterfall and the waves passing by. It fills you with a kind of inner peace and satisfaction.

As you can see in the next picture, the weather can change quite tremendously from one place to another in Canada. Maria and I foolishly assumed that the weather would be similar – I mean come on, how much of a change could there be if you travel a few hours to the east? Well, this is Canada, and if there is one thing I have learned about Canada by now it is that it’s very diverse, whether it comes to its scenery, its wildlife, its population or, yes, its weather; it is diverse and it is constantly changing. But at the same time this is what I love about Canada.

Lake LouiseThe picture shows frozen Lake Louise, which is just about thirty minutes from Banff.. Do you see what I’m trying to tell you now?

We didn’t really have the appropriate clothing for the weather, but we nevertheless walked around the whole lake (and went hiking for hours in the mountains in Banff). At some point we were even walking on the lake, but we didn’t even realise until we got back and viewed the lake from afar.

There are many other spots and viewpoints that I particularly enjoyed, but before I show you and tell you too much, it would probably be best if you go there and see for yourself. Because, whether you believe me or not, even the most beautiful pictures that I have taken do not fully capture the beauty of the view I have seen in real life.

Manchester beanie takes on North America

By Ros Harwood (Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada)

To finish up my blog posts about my year abroad, I have some photos to share giving a snapshot of the five weeks I spent travelling to mark the end of my year abroad. It was a fantastic trip and I ticked off a lot of places I have always wanted to visit! I attempted to mark each place with a Manchester beanie picture. Travel is such a key part of study abroad, make the most of the opportunities!

Canada

Toronto > Rocky Mountains (Banff and Jasper) > Vancouver

Moraine Lake - Lake Louise, Rocky Mountains
Moraine Lake – Lake Louise, Rocky Mountains
Jasper, Rocky Mountains
Jasper, Rocky Mountains
Stanley Park, Vancouver
Stanley Park, Vancouver
Second Beach, Vancouver
Second Beach, Vancouver

USA:

Seattle > Portland > Yosemite & Sierra National Parks > Death Valley > Las Vegas > Phoenix & Grand Canyon, Arizona > San Diego > Los Angeles > Pacific Coast Highway > San Francisco

Pike Place Market, Seattle
Pike Place Market, Seattle
Washington State Rose Garden, Portland
Washington State Rose Garden, Portland

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Yosemite & Sierra National Parks

Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Visiting another Manchester student abroad, Phoenix
Visiting another Manchester student abroad, Phoenix
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Ocean Beach, San Diego
Ocean Beach, San Diego
At the Hollywood sign, Los Angeles
At the Hollywood sign, Los Angeles

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Driving the Pacific Coast Highway: Santa Barbara > Big Sur > Carmel > Monterey, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

And that’s a wrap on my year abroad! Coming home has been a small novelty, but quickly got boring. Make the most of it!

My Vancouver Top 10

By Katie Lewin (Simon Fraser University, Canada)

Now I’m finished at SFU I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve got up to this year – time has gone so quickly! I thought I’d make a list of my top 10 favourite things to see/do/eat in Vancouver for those coming to SFU or UBC in the future, or anyone just visiting. So here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Stanley Park

    Seawall
    Seawall

This is an obvious one, but walking or cycling the seawall is lovely when the weather’s nice with views over the ocean and mountains. The park also contains aquarium, which is good value, and trails through the forests and beaches. At Christmas they also put on ‘Bright Nights’, which is just loads of Christmas lights and displays – it’s cheesy but amazing.

  1. Grouse Grind

    Grouse Grind
    Grouse Grind

Grouse Grind is a very steep 2.9km trial up Grouse Mountain with over 2000 steps and takes about an hour and a half. Although it is very tough, it is worth it – at the top there are amazing views, a bear enclosure, a free lumberjack show and a BeaverTails pastry shop.

  1. Earnest Ice Cream

    Earnest Ice Cream
    Earnest Ice Cream

This ice cream shop is really nice and the ice cream is so good. They do interesting flavours and it is perfect for a sunny day.

  1. Commercial Drive

This street has a lot of character and contains a nice mix and range of independent shops and restaurants. Cannibal Café is really good value and has great burgers. On the surrounding streets are lots of heritage houses which are nice to walk down as most of Vancouver is quite modern.

  1. Sophie’s Cosmic Café

    Sophie's Cosmic Cafe
    Sophie’s Cosmic Café

This is a retro and eccentric style diner, full of random and fun decorations. I’ve heard the breakfast is great, but I went for burgers which were really yummy and a good price too. It’s in Kitsilano, which is a nice neighbourhood to visit too, sunset at Kitsilano beach is so beautiful!

  1. Gastown

This is the old neighbourhood in Vancouver. Although it’s very small, it’s good to visit as it has a lot of character and charm and shows Vancouver’s history. It has tourist shops but also has become a bit hipster with its restaurants and bars. It’s nice to visit at night when the fairy lights and street lamps are lit up and the Steam Clock is on.

  1. Giants Hockey Game

    Giant's Game
    Giant’s Game

Ice hockey is a big thing in Canada, so you have to go to one while you’re here. Canucks are the big team, however the tickets are expensive. Instead, I’d recommend going to a Giants game, they’re cheaper and there’s a lot more atmosphere than at a Canucks game. The fans really support the team so you really get into it, whereas the Canucks game was a lot quieter and therefore not as exciting.

8.   Yolk’s

Yolk's
Yolk’s

Perfect place for brunch, the chicken and waffles are amazing!

  1. Granville Island

Granville Island used to be an industrial area but now is a big public market and marina. There’s lots of nice food and shops. I’d recommend Lee’s Donuts! I also visited a Comedy Club improv night which was different and a fun experience. Taking the aquabus there is fun too.

  1. Purebread

This is a nice café near the Downtown Eastside. They do lots of cakes and baked goods. There’s so much choice and everything is really good.

The End of SFU

By Katie Lewin (Simon Fraser University, Canada)

I leave to go travelling to the east of Canada in two days so I have been busy packing up my stuff, finishing exams and saying bye to my friends. I can’t believe how quickly time has gone, especially the second semester. I am glad I chose to study abroad as it has enabled me to learn and explore so much. I definitely feel so much more confident in myself and I can’t believe how far I have come. I struggled a bit in first semester and it took me a long time to settle in, but once I felt more comfortable with how things work over here and became closer to my friends things got a lot better. You just have to persevere, keep positive and be proactive.

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
Canada Place
Canada Place

I found the academic side of things at SFU and Canada easy to transition into. Trying different subjects and topics both within and outside of Geography was really enjoyable. I will probably miss having midterms as they are easier than one big final, as well as just less pressure to do well as it is only a pass/fail year for me. My dissertation research was a big stress, but I managed to do it in time and I hope I got enough and to a good standard.

View from Burnaby Mountain Park
View from Burnaby Mountain Park
View from Burnaby Mountain Park
View from Burnaby Mountain Park

I have had so much fun being a tourist and going on adventures. My highlights are Hawaii, Seattle and Victoria, but also smaller daytrips nearby such as Deep Cove and Grouse Grind. I have loved meeting people from all over the world, and experiencing different cultures. I have made some lovely friends and look forward to seeing them again in the future. If anything, study abroad has only given me greater wanderlust and I can’t wait to go travelling around the world again soon.

Science World
Science World
Deep Cove
Deep Cove
Deep Cove Hike - SFU on the mountain on the left!
Deep Cove Hike – SFU on the mountain on the left!

I am now finishing my year abroad by going travelling in eastern Canada to Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Niagara Falls and Chicago among a few other places. However, I am looking forward to returning home and seeing all my friends and family as I have missed them a lot. I have an exciting summer planned and then back to Manchester in September!

Bye SFU!
Bye SFU!

The last month of the best year ever

By Giulietta Grassi (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

It’s officially one month ’til I leave the best city in the world, one month ’til I come home to London and start my final year at Manchester. I am lost for words just thinking about it; I can’t believe a year has passed so quickly… I just want to fly back to the beginning and do it all over again. It has been the best year of my life!!

The past month has been packed with trying to see and do as much as possible. We visited Seattle again for the weekend, had one last trip to the USA, and visited my friend’s friend who studies there – the best way to experience Seattle life! It was the best weekend, just exploring the city some more and chilling all together, especially during the long coach journey there, which wasjust filled with us playing pranks on the first person to fall asleep after barely any sleep the night before.

The festival of Holi also happened on campus, thousands of UBC students gathered in the rugby field where Indian music blasted from speakers and we covered each other in paint. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! By this point I actually recognised the different Indian songs playing after spending a year being shown the ropes by one of my best friends here who is from New Delhi.

Also, my best friend from London came to visit – it was amazing! I took her to all the main spots, downtown, Stanley Park, Granville Island, Main Street, the Museum of Anthropology on campus (it’s amazing and free for students!), all the blossom tree spots and then on the final day I took her to Whistler where we met all my friends who had been skiing for the day for apres-ski. It was amazing having her here and having her meet all my friends; it felt like she had always been here… the best reunion!

The past week has been filled with exams, and as cheesy as it sounds, I have actually been enjoying studying and the work I’m doing. I love the freedom of choosing what your final papers are on (yes, apparently I say ‘paper’ instead of ‘exam’ now…) and using your own research and articles found; it makes me excited to think about dissertation writing when I get back – I never thought I’d see the day when I would say that. Also, the non-stop work period means everyone is downstairs in the main commons block of Walter Gage (my accommodation) studying together into the early hours, half of the time is spent studying but the other half is spent hysterically laughing together and procrastinating; my favourite time of day.

The weather has also turned back to summer weather, as it was when I first arrived, and I LOVE IT. The trees are covered in blossom and campus is covered in people studying, listening to music and SUN. I never want to leave this place! It’s weird how in a year you can find a completely new life for yourself, one that a year ago you had no idea about but now is the most important thing to you.

The next month is going to be filled with doing as much in Vancouver with everyone as possible, along with travelling up to Banff and the Rockies, and being with my friends 24/7 until we all have to say goodbye. The thought of it hurts, but I just feel so lucky to have had this year here, that has been life-changing. All I can say is… STUDY ABROAD !!!!!!!! If you get the chance RUN AT IT, because I promise you it will be the best decision you have EVER made.

Stanley Park seawall
Stanley Park seawall
Blossom on campus
Blossom on campus
Holi festival
Holi festival
Ferris wheel in Seattle
Ferris wheel in Seattle
My best friend from home
Reunited with my best friend in Vancouver
Goofing around in Seattle

 

Halftime – 2 months gone and 2 to go

By Jing-Jing Hu (University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada)

Two more months in beautiful BC. To some it may sound like a lot, but I feel like a day passes in the blink of an eye and two months are gone only too soon. Before I arrived here, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but there is just so much to do and to explore, I discover something new every day. The more time I spend here, the more I want to stay.

163Today I went hiking on Knox Mountain with a friend and the view was simply breath-taking. I was especially amazed by the water and the different shades of blue you could see. It looked so pure and clean and mirrored its surroundings, as if there was a thin layer of glass between the water and the air. It was a really beautiful kind of quietness that surrounded the area and there were benches along the way up, for you to sit and enjoy the view. It’s the kind of place you go when you just want to take a moment to escape busy city life to enjoy nature, to think and clear your mind.

091The legend says that this is also where Ogopogo, the lake monster, lives. It’s a bit like the Canadian version of Loch Ness.

We also saw some deer, three younger ones and a parent (I think), and a baby squirrel. Unfortunately, the baby squirrel escaped before I could take a picture of it. It was tiny and very cute. I find deer so adorable, the one on the photo looks pretty much like a real-life Bambi to me. My Canadian friends laughed when I told them that we have deer in zoos and that I have never seen one outside of the zoo.

240They were like, “That’s so strange, they are everywhere. We often find them in our yards”. And me? “I would love to have deer in my backyard!” But the Canadians? “Nah, they are so annoying, they keep eating our plants.” – Excuse me?

That really surprised me, but the thought that, as one of my friends once said, having deer in zoos for Canadians is like putting dogs in zoos for us made me smile. It’s funny how Canadians are used to having so much wildlife and nature around them that they sometimes forget how beautiful their country is.

When we first saw ducks here my friend actually asked me whether we have them in Europe too and whether they look the same, which really made me laugh (yes, we have ducks in Europe and yes, they look the same, same colour, same shape). I sometimes wonder what people from Kelowna (good weather, city life, wildlife and friendly people) would think of Manchester. But then again, people are often attracted by opposites. And even though I’m falling in love with Kelowna, I still miss Manchester from time to time. Every place is unique and beautiful in its own way. Beauty, after all, lies in the eyes of the beholder.125

Last week I also went skiing for the first time. Although we fell quite often during the first two times, we managed to ski without falling by the end of our little trip. There is a student offer on most Fridays where you take the bus to Big White with other students at the bus stop in front of the EME building, which is also the only bus stop on campus. From there you can take the 97 to Walmart, the mall (Orchard Park) and downtown.

As mentioned in my last post, I also went to the B.A.R.K programme this week. Below you can see me hugging Bailey. When you are trying to leave or sometimes for no reason, Bailey reaches out to you with his paw. He is also able to stand on just two legs with both of his paws in your hands.

136The B.A.R.K. programme is the first of its kind in Canada and was established about three years ago. A man who kept running into people who would stop to pet his dog started it as a programme against stress and mental illnesses and it has been quite successful so far. There is a short survey about your stress level before and after your visit. All dogs are trained and very calm. They have also introduced a B.A.R.K. To Go programme – a dog somewhere around campus that you can pet when you pass by instead of a drop-in session. I love it.

My current stress level? Very close to zero.

A week in Vancouver

By Jing-Jing Hu (University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada)

Thursday, 12th February

It’s reading week – hip hip hooray! As soon as classes ended last Friday, my friends and I packed our bags and headed to the Greyhound station (a Greyhound is a coach that takes you to different cities in Canada for relatively cheap prices). Destination: Vancouver.

I’m actually at a friend’s house in Vancouver right now as I am writing this post, which means we are already halfway through reading week *sigh*. Here are some pictures of my trip:

228One of our first stops was the UBC Vancouver campus. A friend who goes to UBC Van showed us around. The campus is much bigger than the one in Kelowna. I still haven’t seen all of it, but apparently even some first year students that go there haven’t seen all of it – that is how big it is. There’s a greater variety of food places to choose from and it seems busier, but it also takes longer to get from one place to another, and it is easy to get lost when you first arrive there (if your sense of direction is as fabulous as mine). Another thing I noticed is that their dorm rooms (at least the ones I have seen while we were visiting) are tiny compared to the spacious rooms we have at UBCO. 223

The Vancouver campus is beautiful, but also quite overwhelming; I don’t actually know which one I prefer, both campuses have their pro and cons, but as an exchange student I quite like the small campus environment in Kelowna – it is easier for me to get ar200ound .

When I was there I also stumbled across a little talent show that they called “The Coffee House”. It was really cozy. People played instruments, presented poems and sang which was really nice to watch.

086On Friday we went to the Vancouver aquarium near Stanley Park. That was the first time I had seen a beluga whale (as far as I can remember). We went to all the shows, except for the penguin show which we missed because of a 4D movie. My favourites were the sea otters. Sea otters are so incredibly cute! Did you kno237w that they have the densest fur in the whole animal kingdom? We were told that their skin never actually gets wet which is hard to imagine since they are swimming almost all the time. I really enjoyed my visit there. The Vancouver aquarium is amazing and I would highly recommend going there if you are in Vancouver and as much of an animal lover as I am. Also, when you go there, tell me whether you could find the sloth, because it’s always hiding. I eventually found it laying very high up in a tree, but it wasn’t really moving. In German, sloth is “Faultier” which literally means lazy animal. If that really was the sloth, I can see where that is coming from.

SeeotterIn the evening we went to an ice hockey game (a must if you are visiting Canada), the Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins. I especially loved the beginning when the lights went off and they sang the national anthems as well as the breaks with the funny ‘Kiss Cam’. On the Kiss Cam picture below you can see Fin, the mascot, kissing (or rather eating) someone.

FINAll in all, it was a great Friday the 13th (no bad luck, but maybe I shouldn’t say that too loud) and a wonderful reading break.

Finally, another picture of the picturesque landscape on my way back to Kelowna. This is one of my favourite parts of Canada –  everywhere you look you see beautiful nature. Whether on the train, the bus or the Greyhound, I just love staring out the window. I think the view of the mountains is one of the things I will miss the most. I don’t know why I like them so much, but I just do, and I still keep staring at them every once and a while when I go to class.

I can’t believe how fast time has gone by again. 001What really suprised me is how fast the weather here can change, one day it is sunny, the other snowy, and then misty or windy (luckily, rarely rainy, an advantage of being in Kelowna instead of Vancouver or Manchester). However, it’s definitely getting warmer and spring is approaching, which means the kangaroo zoo opens soon! I am also going to the BARK programme next week, basically a room full of dogs that volunteers have brought there for you to cuddle with! 🙂 I certainly wouldn’t mind a room full of dogs  in Manchester (or cats, but I’m more of a dog person).

Semester 2 so far…

By Katie Lewin (Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada)

After a lovely Christmas break at home, I returned to SFU feeling refreshed and excited for the second semester. So far I have enjoyed this semester more than the first as I just feel so much more settled and in the swing of things. I took the opportunity to do two courses from Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, as well as two from Geography. I have found these really interesting and definitely recommend other exchange students to do courses outside of their normal subject as it’s a nice change and a chance to learn about other things that interest you. I have also been trying to sort my dissertation out as I was undecided for a long time, but now have an idea so will hopefully be starting my research as soon as possible as I only have just over two months left at SFU! Time really does go quickly, so if you can have things like your dissertation sorted before you arrive for your exchange and start the work early then you won’t need to stress as much as I have, and have more time to enjoy yourself.

Apart from doing small stuff in Vancouver, my main travel and exciting experience of this semester so far has been going to Hawaii for reading break. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii and when I heard previous Vancouver exchange students had gone I knew this was my chance to go. Luckily, one of my closest friends here also wanted to go so I didn’t need to worry about going alone. A direct flight from Vancouver to Honolulu is about six hours, which is quite far, but this is the closest I am going to get and for the cheapest. The trip was worth it just for the sunny and warm weather alone, which was a nice break from rainy and foggy cold Vancouver. Our trip included exploring Honolulu and Waikiki, visiting Pearl Harbour, hiking, visiting different beaches such as Lanikai and Kailua, snorkelling at Hanauma Bay and going into the mountains to Manoa Falls where they filmed some of Lost! I had such a great time, Hawaiians are so friendly and helpful and the island has such a nice feel. I would definitely recommend it, although now I have definitely seen enough retired Americans in Hawaiian shirts to last a lifetime!

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View from Lanikai Pillbox Hike
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Sunset on Waikiki Beach

I am so glad I took the opportunity to go to Hawaii, an example of the amazing opportunities and experiences available to you when you choose to study abroad! I have managed to do a lot of the things I planned to, which I am proud of as it shows I am making the most of my time abroad and that I will have little to regret. However still left on my study abroad bucket list are visiting Victoria in Vancouver Island, and exploring east Canada after I am finished at SFU. So fingers crossed, I will have seen and done everything I wanted to by the end of my time in Canada!

Manoa Falls Hike
Manoa Falls Hike
Snorkelling at Hanauma Bay
Snorkelling at Hanauma Bay
Manchester Beanie from the top of Diamond Head
Manchester Beanie from the top of Diamond Head

Trips (Seattle, L.A. and Whistler)

By Giulietta Grassi (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

The trips and travelling have been one of the best things about studying abroad! I’ve loved going away with everyone, from researching where we’re going and where we’re staying right down to getting on a plane all together and finding our way in a new place. Here is a breakdown of some of the places I’ve been to so far during my first semester:

SEATTLE
Seattle was the first place on our list of places to visit. It’s so easy to access from Vancouver, a 4 hour coach journey and you’re across the border and in the US of AAAA. I loved Seattle! It’s got a big city vibe, similar to Vancouver, minus the mountains and sea. We were lucky because we knew some people studying in Seattle, so we got the full American college experience. We visited the public market, wondered the thrift shops and went to a college Halloween party. It’s amazing how a border can make so much difference, Vancouver and Seattle are right next to each other, yet there is such a difference in feel between the two. I loved every moment of this feeling and this trip, and I am definitely going back to Seattle before I leave.

L.A.
Los Angeles!!! What I loved most about this trip was the spontaneity of it. We had never planned to go to L.A., but one day it was suggested and a few hours later we had booked tickets to go in 2 weeks time… IT WAS THE DREAM. We spent the whole plane journey singing Miley Cyrus Party in the USA. We managed to find a cheap apartment to stay in, right off of Hollywood Boulevard, and spent the 4 days wondering Hollywood. I definitely recommend going there for a short break, it was perfect just to get some sunshine, chill at Venice beach and feel like Hollywood stars for the weekend.

WHISTLER
I’ve visited Whistler 3 times since being here, all 3 of which have been amazing. The first time was (when there was still some warmth in Canada) for Thanksgiving. We rented camper vans which had tents attached to them. We spent the weekend camping just outside of Whistler village, it was so cool! There were 17 of us cramped into all these different camper vans, sleeping on tents attached to the tops of the vans. It was one of the best and funniest experiences of my life. The other 2 times I went were during winter; skiing in the day and going out at night. Being the clumsy human I am, I managed to hurt my knee badly so am unable to ski now, but even without skiing Whistler is amazing; just exploring the village, staying with loads of friends in an amazing apartment, surrounded by snow and cosy winter vibes. I definitely recommend taking advantage of Whistler as much as possible in Vancouver! BUT being really careful skiing and do not be dumb like me. Whether a skier or not, Whistler is perfect for the weekend and chilling with friends.

Seattle
Seattle
Thanksgiving camping in Whislter
Beverly Hills, L.A.
IMG_2223
Thanksgiving camping in Whistler
Skiing in Whistler
Whistler
skiing in Whistler
Skiing in Whistler

Countdown to Canada

By Jing-Jing Hu (University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada)

27th December 2014

One more week, 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes or 604,800 seconds, to go until I will board the plane from Frankfurt to Kelowna; 6 months in another country, 6 months on another continent. When I look back at the past three months, I cannot help but wonder where all the time has gone. I still remember talking to Global Ambassadors and representatives at the Study Abroad fair, going from stall to stall to learn more about different destinations and universities while listening to the stories of returning students. It feels like yesterday when I handed in my application and waited for the outcome. And now here I am, one more week to go until I will be on my way to Canada.

One week, about 5000 words of alternative assessment and two empty suitcases yet to be filled is all that is keeping me from my study abroad destination right now and I am already counting the days.

2nd January 2015

One more day to go!

I hope you all had a great start into the new year. I can’t believe I’m leaving tomorrow already. Today is packing day. My two suitcases are almost full by now, but I am still thinking I’ve forgotten something. I realised that I could have ordered bedding, towels and maybe a SIM card in advance instead of taking it with me or buying it on arrival, so if you’re going abroad and living on campus, check if there’s anything you can order beforehand. I need to finish packing now, but I will keep you updated!

3rd January 2015

Somewhere on the way from Frankfurt to Kelowna

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4th January 2015

Good Morning Kelowna!

2335This is somewhere near the airport, but today is Move-In Day!