International Services for Students
My Week in Krakow
By Eva Szymczyk, Exchange to Sciences Po Lille, France
I chose France as my study abroad country in order to improve my French speaking abilities. I also selected Europe as my preferred continent because, outside of my nuclear family, all of my family still lives in Poland; I saw this experience as my opportunity to reconnect with them. My host university, Science Po University, is located in Lille, a quaint French city situated close to the Brussels border and only a 2-hour airplane-ride away from Krakow, a city located at the south of Poland. Lille’s close proximity to Krakow made my choice of spending Easter with my family an evident one.
I remember being so eager to pass some quality time with my family; I found it challenging to sit still the week before Easter. When I finally arrived in Krakow and embraced my aunt, for the first time in 2 years, I knew that this exchange to France was most definitely the correct decision. I spent the week in Poland baking and cooking an abundant amount of Polish delicacies and dishes. My cousin walked and drove me around the beautiful city of Krakow taking me to Wawel, a castle, the Sukiennice market, and the city centre. Throughout the week I was tracing my mother’s roots and learning about her childhood and lifestyle before her immigration. I felt like I was at home; I call it my home away from home, now.
Image top left: Walking through the main square in Poland, I remember feeling very content; Image middle right: My traditional Polish Easter basket filled with sausages, eggs, bread, horseradish sauce, chocolate as well as sheep, duck, and hen figurines; Image bottom left: Posing with my aunt and uncle on Easter Saturday.
By Kendra Wingerter, Exchange to Sciences Po Paris, France
Most people are aware that when they go on their exchange term, they are going to meet a few challenges in their new life abroad. Culture shock, language barriers, getting lost (a lot), making new friends and missing old ones. It’s a lot of change for anyone to face, even for someone with travel experience and itchy feet. But what do you do when the bigger shock is coming home?
As an SFU Vancouver student who is originally from Calgary, I knew how hard it is to leave your home and find yourself in a totally unfamiliar city, even if there are tons of fun times and new friends around you. Since I’d been through the shock of moving away for school before, I knew what to expect when I moved again, and thought that by the end of my 5 months abroad, I’d be absolutely dying to come home to familiar faces and a culture that I’m an expert at. But the lonely moments, the cultural self-consciousness, and the desire for home never came. After my first month in Paris (which is where I spent my semester abroad) I realized that the initial challenges of moving hadn’t really affected me that much, and while I considered trying to extend my exchange, I abandoned that idea thinking that even though I wasn’t feeling it yet, by the end of my planned 5 months abroad I would be more than ready to go home.
Then the half-way mark of my exchange came, and then the 4-month mark, and then suddenly I found myself packing my bags to go home, but not feeling too good about it. I had checked everything off on my Paris bucket-list, and I didn’t feel like my exchange itself was incomplete or lacking, but I liked my little apartment in the city; the hundreds of museums and historical sites that were at my fingertips every day, the luxury of being close to so many other interesting countries, the every-day language learning experiences, and the relaxed pace of French culture. I had close friends who had become more like family to me, I had favourite coffee shops and hang-out spots, I had daily and weekly routines, and I had gotten really, reaaalllly good at making crepes.
So at first leaving was incredibly difficult. I stopped in London for a few nights on my way home and during my time there I felt like I was going through the worse breakup ever. All I wanted to do was lie in bed, and cry, and eat chocolate, and hold a cat. When I first returned home, the sinking feeling in my stomach was still there, but each day as I saw more and more of my loved ones, went to my favourite Canadian coffee shops, remembered the ease of speaking in my first language, and was reacquainted with the luxuries of living in a modern culture, the idea of being at home was no longer so daunting.
I come out of this experience feeling like a stronger person, now knowing with confidence that I am capable of adjusting to and being happy in a far-away world (which, as an International Studies major, is nice to know). If I’d stayed in Paris, more challenges would have come; my friends would have gone home and I would have been left back at social-square-one, I would have had to find a new apartment and figure out a way to fund the rest of my stay. Though I miss Paris, recognizing these challenges has made it easier to leave my life there, because had I stayed, it would have been a very different life anyway. Instead of regret, I’m trying to channel any feelings of reverse culture-shock into something constructive: I see it as a positive thing that I left my exchange still wanting to be there (it means I had an amazing experience!) and I have now found my motivation to start looking up those Parisian co-op placements. Whether going or coming, every exchange has its good parts and it’s bad, you just need to focus on the silver lining to find both your feet and your smile, no matter where you are.
Simon Fraser University student Jevta Lukic is among eight B.C. post-secondary students to receive the Premier’s One World Scholarship, a provincial award that encourages international education.
Lukic, a fourth-year student at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, is studying this fall at ESCP Europe, one of the world’s top ranked and the continent’s oldest institutions dedicated to business education.
Originally from Serbia and currently living in Burnaby, Lukic is studying for four months in the school’s master in management program. He’ll complete his degree in marketing next year at SFU.
“The scholarship is an incredible gift to me as it allows me to focus on volunteer activities and international pursuits without having to worry about operational costs of a study abroad semester,” says Lukic.
The scholarships, valued at up to $10,000, are awarded annually to support the international exchange of knowledge and culture. They’re funded by the returns on a $13-million provincial endowment for international education.
Lukic hopes to pursue a career in marketing and international business.
From Bagpipes to Baguettes to Bratwurst – ESCP Europe and International Co-op
By Miroslav (Mirko) Suzara
I was a third year SFU Business student in the Spring of 2009: a young lad with minimal professional experience, a travel record safely consisting of travel to the US, and perhaps too much experience with comfort in the conveniences of home-life.
I realized, that as a student with a minimal number of real commitments, this would be the best time for me to pack my bags and experience firsthand what all this global fuss was about. So I applied and got accepted for two back-to-back international activities: a co-op position with the EDGE Programme in Glasgow (Summer 2009) followed up with an exchange to ESCP Europe in Paris (Fall 2009). The experience was an unforgettable ride of breathtaking sights, delicious tastes, and fascinating cultures. And by the end of December, my once-empty passport was filled with stamps from the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, and Czech Republic!
But, if you didn’t figure it out from the title, my experience didn’t end in Paris. As I write this entry for
SFU International, I’m sitting on an outdoor patio a couple days after Starkbierfest in Munich, Germany. Thanks to the ESCP Europe database, I was able to secure a marketing internship out here with an international high-tech firm. I can only partially blame the travel bug for all this continued globe-trotting.
The larger reason derives from a profound realization that we, as Simon Fraser University students, have multiple international opportunities within our reach. I assure you, going from bagpipes to baguettes
to bratwurst is a lot more realistic than you may think!