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Exchange diaries Edinburgh: A very Nice vacation

Posted by Styna Tao on November 7, 2014 @ 10:35 a.m. EST
Tags: Exchange Diaries, France, Nice

Styna Tao is in Edinburgh on exchange this fall. She’ll be sharing her experiences every three weeks as a regular contributor to Lifestyle.


Week six of my term at the University of Edinburgh was a week for Honours Business students to take seminars and work on their graduation dissertation.

But as an exchange student, I didn’t have the obligation to do a dissertation and because lectures were cancelled, I essentially had a mid-semester reading week.

I was fairly flexible with where I wanted to go, so thanks to Skyscanner’s handy flight search, I found a good-priced flight to Nice and decided to go for it.

Like almost everyone, I have some bucket-list places that I planned to visit while on exchange, but Nice wasn’t one of them. However, I absolutely adore France — I haven’t visited a French city that I ... Read more...

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Exchange diaries Edinburgh: Learning to love the city

Posted by Styna Tao on October 8, 2014 @ 11:52 a.m. EDT
Tags: Edinburgh, Exchange diaries, Scotland, Travel

Styna Tao is in Edinburgh on exchange this fall. She’ll be sharing her experiences every three weeks as a regular contributor to Lifestyle.


I arrived in Edinburgh on a damp Saturday evening. I came out of the train station to a city shrouded in mist and fog and dragged my suitcase up hills and cobble streets. All around me, stores were closed but the pubs were thriving.

It turned out this was a fairly accurate representation of Edinburgh. It’s a city with a rich history that showcases its architecture and its people’s pride, accompanied by unpredictable weather. When I was narrowing down my choices for exchange universities, I knew that one of the advantages of doing exchange in Europe was the opportunity to go to a university with a long history and the appearance to show for it. I can’t ... Read more...

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Exchange diaries Barbados: Easing into exchange life

Posted by Julia Mitchell on October 6, 2014 @ 06:51 p.m. EDT
Tags: Barbados, Exchange diaries, Travel, University of the West Indies

Julia Mitchell is in Barbados on exchange this year. She’ll be sharing her experiences every three weeks as a regular contributor to Lifestyle.

Over the past month, I’ve settled into somewhat of a new routine here at my new home at the University of the West Indies in Barbados. Exchange has proven to be a lot of highs and lows — sometimes I’m so happy and thankful to be able to study and travel in this amazing and unique part of the world, but other times I really miss my family and life in Canada in general.

I’m slowly growing more accustomed to the eccentricities of my new home, such as the large population of wild chickens roaming about.

One hen with recently hatched chicks wanders outside the building where I live, giving everyone a daily dose of cuteness. The roosters sometimes squawk loudly in the mornings, but at ... Read more...

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Exchange diaries Paris: Culture shock

Posted by Victoria Musial on September 29, 2014 @ 02:55 p.m. EDT
Tags: Exchange diaries, France, Paris


Victoria Musial is in Paris on exchange this year. She’ll be sharing her experiences every three weeks as a regular contributor to Lifestyle.

When Netflix recently launched in France, angry French citizens worried that it would Americanize their television and film industries.

Clearly, the French place a strong importance on preserving their culture. So it’s no surprise that I was quite culturally shocked when I arrived in Paris. It seems obvious now but before my arrival, I didn’t believe the people who warned me about the culture shock I was about to experience.

The amount of cultural differences I have experienced is unbelievable.

The culture shock has been hard to get accustomed to. I constantly forget that businesses and stores open late, close early and are rarely open on the weekends. Just about everything is closed on Sundays, ... Read more...

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Exchange diaries London: The British 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 ...

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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


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


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


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 ...

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