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Farewell to the BISC

Posted by Paulina Malcolm on March 27, 2015 @ 09:57 a.m. EDT
Tags: Bader International Study Centre, England, Exchange diaries

Sweden ice hotel

As I prepare for the last week of classes at the castle, I find it hard to focus on writing my final essays and studying for exams. When I leave the BISC, it won’t just be the school that I’ll miss.

Sitting in my windowsill and staring out at the English countryside on this first day of spring, I find myself recreating the memories of my various travels and adventures that I’ve been lucky enough to experience during my time in Europe.

With the way my classes were scheduled this term, I was able to secure a four-day weekend. For the past 11 weeks, I’ve been able to plan more trips and activities than I’ve probably ever been able to in my life. It seems unreal that I visited Bruges, Ghent, Paris, Stockholm and ... Read more...

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Exchange Diaries Edinburgh: Back to reality

Posted by Styna Tao on February 10, 2015 @ 08:46 a.m. EST
Tags: Canada, Edinburgh, Exchange diaries


I’m definitely suffering from exchange withdrawal.

It’s been just over a month since I landed back in Canada from my seven months abroad in Edinburgh. Like many returned exchange students, I wish I could turn back time.

Since I spent the winter holidays abroad and returned just before second semester started, I didn’t have much time to re-adjust. The transition hasn’t been easy, I have to admit.

My workload abroad was significantly lighter than it is at Queen’s, because the University of Edinburgh only requires three courses as a full course load, versus the five at Queen’s. I’m also more involved in extracurriculars at Queen’s, which takes up a significant amount of my time.

The Queen’s Conference on Philanthropy was set to happen three weeks after I came back and I also immediately transitioned into my role as Graphics Manager ... Read more...

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Exchange Diaries Herstmonceux: First-year at the BISC

Posted by Paulina Malcolm on January 22, 2015 @ 10:17 a.m. EST

Paulina Malcolm is spending first-year at the BISC in in Herstmonceux, England. She’ll be sharing her experiences every three weeks as a regular contributor to Lifestyle.


This time last year, I wasn’t thinking that I would spend my 18th birthday exploring the streets of London. I wasn’t anticipating that my first legal drink would be in a pub across the street from the British Museum, either.

The opportunities that I’ve been given so far during my time at the BISC have been amazing — and it’s only been a few months. I never imagined taking classes in a 15th-century castle in the middle of the East Sussex countryside when I first applied to university.

Herstmonceux Castle and its grounds are beautiful, even in the wintertime during an intense rainstorm. It does take a while to get anywhere else, though, ... Read more...

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Exchange Diaries Edinburgh: New Year’s Eve in London

Posted by Styna Tao on January 9, 2015 @ 11:18 a.m. EST
Tags: England, Exchange Diaries, London, New Year's


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

As the crowd chanted the New Year’s Eve countdown, I looked all around me to take in the moment.

I’m sitting on a railing on Tower Bridge, an iconic London landmark, surrounded by old and new friends staring at the fireworks peeking out from behind city buildings.

My seven months in Europe (and Africa for four days) was coming to an end and I’m sorry to leave.

I’ve gained so many new experiences, discovered new cultures, learned history and art, and developed new friendships in these last few months.

Like a true Londoner, I didn’t buy a ticket to see the fireworks. This is the first the show has been ticketed, in effort to curb the number of ... Read more...

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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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