My first month in Canada (the calm before the storm)

snowboard

Okay, so one thing I did not realise before embarking on a year exchange, was that my month long holiday before school starts in my new home would be SO jam-packed full of foreign fun activities.

I arrived to Vancouver on the 7th of December, and because my (Canadian) best friend lives in Vancouver, we have been looking forward to this moment for a LONG time. I was picked up from the airport, and after so many hugs/tears and smartfood popcorn (my favourite food on the planet) I slept through the night and the very next day we were set for a trip to the USA. Being so close to the border means it’s something Vancouverites do often, so after a (mildly scary) border cross, we were in Washington. We spent one night in Seattle and the next in Portland, and it lived up to every expectation I had. So many friendly and generous people (I’m talking free Ubers and photobooths just cause you’re ~international~), we went to endless craft breweries and ticked off a few bucketlist items, like the Gumwall and Pike Place Market (and also Olive Garden because you can’t get any more American than a chain food restaurant).

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset(Pike Place Market, Seattle)

Shortly after our USA weekend, we also had another holiday planned to Kamloops (further inland BC) to spend the weekend at Sunpeaks ski resort, celebrating my bestie’s 25th birthday and coincidentally- New Years. There was a group of us 7 girls in a lodge right at the base of the ski hill. We did the usual thing, like go to Walmart and Costco to get enough food and drink supplies for 8 hungry and thirsty girls for a New Years Eve weekend. Our lodge was even equipped with an outdoor hot tub, so we lived our best lives all weekend, snowboarding and skiing by day, relaxing in the hot tub by night (especially relaxing when it is -18 degrees outside).

sunpeaks view(Just one of the views from our lodge).

liftsunpeaks ski hillsunpeakssunpeaks group

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset(Fireworks on New Years Eve, at Sunpeaks)

Another highlight since my arrival and before school starts is I got to see an ice hockey game, another item off the bucket list! My friend got given 2x free tickets to go see the Vancouver Canucks vs the Calgary Flames, this was a huge game and the stadium was full to capacity, unlucky for us the Canucks lost, but the game was so much fun to watch!

flames vs canucks(Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames, Rogers Arena)

Now it’s over a month later since my arrival and I’m already in to my 3rd week of school at the University of the Fraser Valley, in Abbotsford. Everyone has been really helpful and friendly so far, I’m making friends in my classes and I’m loving all the new content I’m learning. I’ve settled in quite nicely, found a waitressing position in Yaletown and my friend and I are moving in to our new home next week. I can’t wait to be settled and to make even more friends ūüôā

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset(View from my favourite place in Vancouver, a 5 minute walk from our new home)

The final few weeks

Only 3 weeks left at Western!! It’s getting to crunch time with one more week before what is known as “dead week.” It’s pretty much when final presentations, papers, group projects – everything is due before finals week. No teachers are allowed to assign any homework but a few of my professors have sneakily added quiz dates before we went on Thanksgiving Break.

I’ve just come back to Western after a week off, and experienced two family Thanksgivings in Chicagoland, and also ticked off a few bucket list items that I didn’t get to do during my first visit. It’s funny because usually when I have a break like this at home, I will use the time to do assignments or prepare for exams etc. I did none of that. I was a busy bee, going up 103 floors to Sears Tower, or driving to neighbouring states, doing Black Friday shopping.

It’s crazy how the time has flown. I keep reflecting my time at Western and one of my biggest regrets is how long it took for me to establish myself in this new environment. I was feeling homesick, and I would go out with my friends and think of my friends back to home. But now, I want the days to go slower, I want to savour every moment, write down every minute detail, because I know in a couple of months I’ll forget everything.

Whilst the next few weeks are going to stressful in terms of workload, nothing is more stressful than knowing that you are going to have to say goodbye to some very special people that have impacted your life so greatly.

My advice for anyone considering an exchange program? Home is always going to be there for you, no matter how far or long you are away from it, so whilst you’re away from 4, 6, 10¬† or 12 months, make sure you are living in the moment and saying yes to every opportunity. The first couple of weeks are always the hardest, but before you know it, you have three weeks left and you have to start to say goodbye to your teachers, your classmates, your friends, your boyfriend/girlfriend, and you’ll be left wishing that you could stay longer

Bon Voyage, Safe Travels and Enjoy the Adventure

The time has come to say goodbye to our newest group of CSU Global adventurers.  In Session 2, 2017 we will see 17 students from across our campuses as well as our online cohort make a new home with our exchange partners for the next few months.  From USA, Canada, UK, the Netherlands and Norway these guys are going to have the most amazing time of their lives.  Follow some of them throughout their experience and get inspired to take of on your own international study experience.

Add an international edge to your degree by studying on exchange, participating in short-term programs, attending conferences, volunteering or completing your workplace learning at one of many international destinations. Enhance your competitiveness as a graduate in the new global marketplace and have fun at the same time.

Full details are available on our website .

Are you our next CSU Global Adventurer?

Our latest intrepid CSU Global Adventurers are sadly starting to pack their bags and prepare to travel back home to Aus.  They have had experiences of a lifetime and made some amazing new friendships.  Although it is sad for them that the experience is drawing to a close it is good news for a whole host of new CSU students.

If you’ve been following this blog and are keen to now follow in our bloggers’ footsteps get in touch with us at CSU Global to find out how you can have these experiences too.

Applications for Session 1 2016 exchange are due by July 1 this year, so stop thinking about it and start working on your application.

Step one is to visit our website for all exchange information  http://www.csu.edu.au/special/global/student-exchange/outgoing

Step two is to touch base with the CSU Global team РCSUGlobal@csu.edu.au  Рso we can help you with your very own CSU Global adventure!

Alice – CSU Global

Now it’s your turn

Now that exams are winding up it’s the perfect time to start working on your own exchange application for Session 2, 2015. Follow the lead of our adventurers and spend one of your CSU sessions at one of over 300 partner univeristies. The application deadline for the next exchange period is December 1 so get cracking!

You’ll find everything you need to get started on the CSU Global website¬†http://www.csu.edu.au/special/global/student-exchange/outgoing¬† and if you have any questions please get in touch with us.

Happy reading and adventuring.

CSU Global

And so it begins again

The end of this month will see a whole new band of CSU Global Adventurers setting off around the world. ¬†Over the next 6 months they’ll be posting about their experiences and giving you a little taste of what just what it is like to study on exchange. ¬†Follow Brianna and Jack as they study in Canada¬†at the University of Regina and Lakehead University. Keep an eye on Stephanie during her exchange at¬†¬†Southern Connecticut State University in the USA.

You’ll also see Joe return for round II of his overseas adventure as he takes off ¬†to the University of Chester, UK on exchange number two – lucky guy!

Feel free to ask them any questions by commenting on their posts to help you prepare for an adventure of your own.

Enjoy!

Six Months in Paris

This is a video I have put together of the 6 months I spent in Paris, its a bit hard to sum it all up in just a few minutes, but hopefully you get a feel for my experience and the amazing opportunity and privilege it was to participate in the CSU Global Program.

xox Emily