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Volunteering Abroad

Before coming to McGill, I lived in Asia. While I was there, I was a part of several volunteer groups through my school, most notability an after-school program that offered English classes to children from displaced communities. My experiences volunteering with these kids were some of the most rewarding and valuable ones from my time living there. Volunteering is often overlooked during the school year when students are busy with their courses and during the summer when students gravitate towards jobs and internships. However, volunteering is truly a remarkable experience, and doing so abroad is bound to be unforgettable.

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Exploring The Gap Year

https://www.rei.com

Today, many students and young professionals all over the world take gap years. Gap years could be highly beneficial as, for most people, it’s time to figure out what they love and are passionate about and add that to their CVs. While gap years mostly mean travelling, volunteering, or working abroad, a gap year is really whatever you make out of it.

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To go on exchange or not to go on exchange

Dublin, Ireland

Montreal is an amazing city so it could seem a bit extra to go spend a semester or a year elsewhere… but the benefits of going on exchange are pretty endless. If you have the opportunity to live, study, and make friends in another country, you should definitely do it. Now is the time.

McGill has relationships with so many schools across the world. Often, you can make arrangements to study abroad to most any school of your choice. However, specifically with exchange, you avoid paying those international tuition fees and you continue to pay your same tuition to McGill.

Explore any opportunities for scholarships, and plan to work the summer leading up to exchange to save up. Depending on your budget, that may eliminate some locations due to cost of living, like London, but the flights can be so so cheap once you get over there (bless Ryanair).

If you’re at all on the fence about going on exchange, here are my responses to some common objections.

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How about getting a pet?

On a rainy day in October 2014, I went to SPCA Montreal with one friend, and initially just went to have a look. Then I saw Milou, my companion until now, who was a seven-month old kitten with beautiful eyes and soft paws. I don’t know if she was dragging anybody passing by, but I felt her touching me, and then signed all the paperwork in the next hour. It was not a random decision, and it changed my life. (more…)

Why is it so hard to just “do what you want?”

quote thought bubble saying what do you want to be when you grow up mcgill career blogWhat do you want to do? That’s a loaded question.

I remember asking this question during a speed dating study. First, he says “well, I don’t know.” Then he shares a bit about what he’s studying. Eventually, if he feels safe enough, he might share a dream of his. He thinks it’s not practical. I listen as he convinces himself to be interested in something more mainstream and secure. Maybe you’ve had a similar conversation with someone, or with yourself — knowing what you want, but not sure if it’s the ‘right’ thing to pursue

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My Trip out East: New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia

Don’t drive eight and a half hours straight in a tiny car. Or maybe do. Do it and then drive another four hours the next day, a couple more after that, and some more after that. Sleep in a B&B full of weird antiques and another one that overlooks a cemetery. Ask for the Wifi password and then ignore the fact that the connection’s not strong. Go hiking and visit half a dozen lighthouses but don’t swim at the beach—it’ll turn you blue. Try to see a moose but settle for a fox. Drive the paths you see in car commercials and forget that you haven’t watch TV in a week. Stop the car and get out. Drive another four hours. Maybe you’ll find yourself, or maybe you’ll just find a great souvenir tshirt.
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Planning My Trip To Japan

So I am about to embark on a trip alone to Japan for about 6 days. I will go alone. I have been discussing thoroughly with my father for preparations. My father has a lot of experience with planning trips and traveling abroad. He has been giving me a lot of tips.

After the ticket was booked, I had to plan myself which cities I would visit and how many days. I then looked for either hotels or hostels to book. Location was important. Since Japan has a very excellent transportation system, they have a bullet train (goes up to speeds of 300 km/h) which allows you to travel Japan in a very fast time. I looked for hostels or hotels near bullet train stations as I would arrive at cities using bullet trains.

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Competition and Our View of Success – Exploring the Effects of Social Darwinism

I studied earth system science in my undergraduate. It’s a small program in which we learn about how the earth behaves as one single system. Learning about the earth has many perks, such as traveling to different places around the world with the excuse of studying diverse landscapes and ecosystems. (more…)

The Trouble With Loving Too Many Things – How to Be Less Distracted

I can be easily distracted. There’s easily half-a-dozen different lives and lifestyles that I can imagine for myself, and I could be happy with any of these paths. From dreams of being a traveling nomad, to desires of becoming articulate in movement through dance, to thoughts about continuing my studies in earth science, and even new pursuits of counseling psychology – these broad and varied interests all have a life of their own. I often find myself torn between the need to explore more into each of these interests and convincing myself to take my time, while at the same time, feeling restless about not being able to commit.

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An Unexpected Trip to Thailand – Relearning to Trust Myself

Diligent monkey who stole my water bottle

I often hear people say that they love to travel. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in China and have already experienced a culture different from Western culture, but I never saw the appeal – or rather the benefit – of traveling. I couldn’t understand how escaping one’s own life to find meaning in a stranger’s life could benefit the traveler once he or she returns home. Interestingly enough, through a series of events, I found myself solo-traveling in Thailand for the past two months. My experiences were far from what my biases predicted.

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