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Exchange diaries: The London life

Posted by Styna Tao on September 13, 2014 @ 06:27 p.m. EDT
Tags: Exchange diaries, Study abroad, Travel


The London eye

Through the recommendation of a friend and some rushed visa paperwork, I got the chance to live and work in London this summer as a reservations and reception assistant in a bed and breakfast.

Working in the tourism and hospitality sector in a foreign city means I’m both tour guide and tourist at the same time.

For five days a week, I helped people plan their trip to London by searching for affordable accommodation or directing them to nearby attractions. For the other two days, I roamed around London like any other tourist.

What is thought of as London is actually Greater London, made up of many boroughs. The city of London itself is actually only one square mile in area. Everything is very accessible by tube (subway), which runs quite efficiently and frequently.

London is a vibrant ... Read more...

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Early exchange prep

Posted by Charlotte Gagnier on September 13, 2014 @ 06:23 p.m. EDT
Tags: Exchange, Study Abroad, Travel

In less than a week, I’ll be boarding a plane at Pearson Airport. Seven hours later, I’ll be in the UK, ready to start my year abroad at Durham University. It isn’t far away, but it’s an experience I’ve been anticipating for a long time.

My desire to study abroad started years ago, but it only became palpable last September when I attended the Queen’s Go Abroad Fair.

Applications for most exchanges are due in early January, but a lot of planning and research is necessary to get to that point. It’s never too early to get a head start, especially while the fall course work is relatively light. Here are a few initial things to think about when deciding where you want to go on exchange.

Exchange goals

Think about what experiences you’re looking for. Do you want to immerse yourself in a drastically different culture, pick up ... Read more...

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Exchange Diaries Manchester: Student, tourist, artist

Posted by Prisca Choi on September 11, 2014 @ 05:50 p.m. EDT
Tags: Exchange, Manchester, UK


Manchester

Anticipation. Nervousness. Excitement. These were the three overwhelming bundle of emotions I felt all summer before embarking on my trip to England in September.

There were a million things to do and it was hard juggling all that with my family time and work life. Most people who come back from exchange only ever mention their amazing memories and experiences, but no one ever brings up the fact that there is tons of paperwork, course management and administrative correspondences between your own home university and the partner university.

Personally, I found that the most difficult part of the preparation stage was everything to do with student visas, course transfer credits and finances. Of course, when you finally get it all done, it’s worth it.

I was immensely excited for my trip and on the day of my flight, I ... Read more...

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Exchange Diaries Paris: From quiet Kingston to populous Paris

Posted by Victoria Musial on September 10, 2014 @ 01:22 a.m. EDT
Tags: Exchange diaries, France, Paris


Paris exchange

As I sat in my seat waiting for the plane to take off, reality sank in.

“I am spending two semesters abroad in Paris,” I thought as passengers shuffled past me to their seats.

Soon, the plane began to make its way down the runway, with the safety video playing on the small screen in front of me. I just sat there ― terrified.

What was I doing? I was leaving behind all the people I care about and the university I love. I was heading into the unknown all alone. I spent the next seven hours worrying about being completely alone in a foreign country for nine months.

By the time the plane had landed at the Charles de Gaulle airport, I was ready to jump on a plane and head back ... Read more...

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Exchange Diaries Barbados: Heat, housing and hazing

Posted by Julia Mitchell on September 8, 2014 @ 08:13 p.m. EDT
Tags: Barbados, Bridgetown, Caribbean, Exchange, University of the West Indies


Barbados

The idea of going on exchange first crossed my mind last October. Since then it has been a very long and arduous process involving lots of meltdowns, paperwork and meltdowns involving paperwork (the details of which I won’t bore you with here).

When it was finally time to leave and embark on this amazing journey, I didn’t feel as excited as I expected to — mostly because I just couldn’t believe it was finally happening.

But it did happen. After around 12 hours of flying from Victoria, B.C., I landed in Bridgetown, Barbados and moved into Sherlock Hall Residence at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

I arrived in the middle of rainy season, so the weather has been hot and muggy (my hair straightener is no match for this humidity). I’ve been told that most exchange ... Read more...

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Putting polygamy into perspective

Posted by Emily Gong on September 4, 2014 @ 10:37 p.m. EDT
Tags: Polygamy, Tibet


Polygamy

To us, it might seem taboo, but polyandry and polygyny is regarded as the norm in rural Tibet.

Polyandry, when a wife has multiple husbands, and polygyny, when a husband has multiple wives, traditionally signifies affluence. Evidently, a wealthy person can afford to support more wives and children while maintaining their quality of life.

Worldwide, polygyny is more common than polyandry. But in the case of Tibet, polyandry is considered anomalous within humankind, while also working as a variation in the scheme of adaptive pair-bonding.

I personally witnessed polyandry while driving through Shigatse, Tibet, as part of my Queen’s Research Fellowship. While trying to find parking at a local market, we couldn’t help but notice a young woman flirting with our driver, referring to him as her husband, and her as his wife.

Their coy exchange — “Ain’t ... Read more...

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Parental traps: How to survive a family vacation

Posted by Christine Ellis on August 18, 2014 @ 04:00 p.m. EDT
Tags: Family, Parents, Travel


Family vacation

After spending several months away from home during the school year, the prospect of living under the same roof as mom and dad for the summer can seem nightmarish to some. Add to that the promise of family vacations – where tensions often erupt and boredom can take hold – and you might be considering whether or not to opt out of that camping trip, cottage weekend, or European getaway and head back to Kingston.

While going on holiday with parents is a much different experience than that wild roadie you’ve been planning with your friends since first year, it doesn’t have to be unbearable. Here are a few dos and don’ts you can follow that will help ensure a fun, worthwhile vacation is had by all.

DO help plan the trip, but DON’T forget to include everyone
Read more...

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What I wish I knew before exchange

Posted by Megan Hendry on August 18, 2014 @ 03:46 p.m. EDT
Tags: Advice, Exchange, Travel


Paris

Preparing to leave for exchange was by far the most emotionally overwhelming experience of my life. I can really only describe it as an emotional roller coaster.

There are serious highs, like the day you get your acceptance email and realize its actually happening, or when you remember that you’ll casually be able to jet off to Paris for the weekend if you so choose.

But, there are also some serious lows – a swirling eddy of questions and doubts that loom most strong just before you leave: How am I going to survive on my own in a foreign country for that long? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I get there and realize I can’t handle it?

And as much as everyone tries to be supportive and reassure you that you’ll have a ... Read more...

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A castle to call one's home

Posted by Emily Graham on July 29, 2014 @ 06:23 p.m. EDT
Tags: BISC, Castle, England, Travel


BISC

Have you ever asked yourself, “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?” This summer, I answered that question.

In November, when I was accepted to attend the summer term at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC), affectionately known as “the castle,” flying across the Atlantic Ocean seemed like a lifetime away. As the days until I left decreased, my excitement increased exponentially.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect, other than I would be studying in a 15th century castle. Little did I know an incredible adventure awaited.

The two months I spent at the BISC were academically intensive, sometimes socially awkward and a wonderful whirlwind of epic proportions. Not only was completing three courses in six weeks a daunting task, but making friends was even more intimidating.

You’re essentially in first year ... Read more...

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Sky-high learning

Posted by Emily Gong on July 29, 2014 @ 05:39 p.m. EDT
Tags: Sky burials, Tibet, Travel


Sky burial

Above one of Tibet’s three greatest Gelukpa school monasteries, Sera Monastery, is an abandoned sky burial platform. Located at the top of the mountain, this platform was once the main sky burial site in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

Sky burials are the Tibetan Buddhism tradition of carrying the deceased to mountaintop platforms and preparing their bodies to be eaten by vultures. Tibetans believe in reincarnation and the transmigration of spirits, hence the body is only an empty vessel. It is therefore virtuous to offer one’s flesh to sustain the life of other living beings and complete the cycle of life.

As part of my Queen’s Research Fellowship, I spent 40 days travelling from the Gobi Desert to the Himalayas while exploring Buddhist art. Before embarking on the trip, I planned to track down a ... Read more...

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