Belgium was a blast. I had so much fun while I was there, saw a lot of new places, ate a lot of really good food, failed epicly at speaking French, and actually was the least stressed I’ve been in ages. (When I came back I had actually lost a bit of weight because of the lack of stress.)
Before we had left for Belgium, Go Global put on a “pre-departure session” for us, part of which involved group dynamics, and acknowledging how others work and think to aid in problem solving. To be honest, I didn’t really think out group needed it since we’d been working together since September and knew each other by now. However, when we got to Belgium, there were more clashes within groups than I thought there would be. Turns out those problem solving lessons came in handy. (I hope?)
The trip also came with some career development. I got to meet up with a harpist in Belgium who I’d met once in Vancouver, who now will be an international contact for the future. I also got to perform at a concert in Belgium which would be good to put on a CV – international performance experience.
And besides all of that, I made friends while I was away. Friends who I will continue to see and talk to now that I’m back in Canada. As a person who finds it difficult to make friends, this is really valuable to me.
I guess what I’m saying is that a Go Global experience is much more than a trip to see the world.
After many months of preparation and anticipation, I will be leaving for Belgium this Saturday! Needless to say, I am mega excited.
The preparation phase has been kind of hectic, as there are a lot of things you need to do before going overseas. Pay for flights, buy insurance, get currency, make photocopies of documents, pack, sign up for the student registry (a list of UBC students overseas so that if something bad happens in a country, eg. the tsunami in Japan, UBC knows where you are and helps you get home), keep up with coursework, and then annoying unexpected things such as forgetting your duffle bag on a bus and then having to go all the way downtown to pick it up from the Translink Lost and Found office. (Yes, this happened. To be honest though, I’m just happy that it got turned in.)
I am so stoked to be going on this trip! After finding out that exchange wouldn’t work for me, I thought I’d never get an opportunity like this in my undergraduate degree. I am so thankful to Dr. Bob and everyone at the School of Music and Go Global and UBC in general who made this happen!
P.S. There will be pics. At some point. Don’t know if I’ll have time to blog in Belgium.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m finally getting my Go Global experience! If you are a regular to my blog you may recall that first I really really wanted to go on exchange, then found out that it wasn’t going to fit into my degree, and then was really disappointed when everyone else got their acceptances for their magical exchanges in far off lands while I was stuck at home. And while UBC is totally amazing and everything, I was still very disappointed.
But then, about a month ago, I received an email from the school of music saying that a research project involving gesture-tracking software was looking for third and fourth year musicians to participate, and that the project will be going to Belgium for two weeks to collaborate with students at another university there. I was so excited! This would be my chance to go experience another country as part of my UBC education.
At the moment, I’m not 100% clear on what exactly the research is going to entail, but I’m very excited to find out. Also, I haven’t technically received the Participation Agreement yet, but I have been accepted into the program, so I feel like it isn’t too early to celebrate. If it is, well, whatever. But for now I’ll be daydreaming of Belgium!
A few weeks ago when everyone’s confirmations for Go Global came out, I cried a little bit inside. I have a number of friends going on exchange next year, and their mixers and advising sessions are coming up and it’s all very exciting – except for me, because I will be staying home.
A year ago, I was determined to do an exchange no matter how much red tape I had to cut through. Now, well… the picture has changed somewhat.
Because I’m in music, that already limits my choice in universities somewhat. Well, fine. I emailed a music faculty member to talk about exchange though, and that was where things got complicated. Apparently, most exchange universities won’t give you private lessons because it costs extra. A year without lessons? Yeah, I don’t think so. I also don’t know how affordable it would be to find another teacher and pay for it myself. Then there would be the problem of finding a harp to practice on. It’s not an instrument you can just take on a plane like you would a flute or a trumpet. So finding a harp I could use (hopefully at low cost) would be something of an issue. Then you take into account the way the music degree is structured (ie. full year ensemble courses, third and fourth year recitals), and going on exchange would mean that I’d have to take an extra year in my degree no matter what. (A lot of people take extra years after exchange anyway, but it isn’t really something I’m willing to do.)
Thus, my Go Global story ended before it started. I was disappointed before, but now that everyone is talking about their plans to go abroad it just makes me depressed. That was an experience I really, really wanted. I’m trying to find ways around it; I’m thinking about backpacking through Europe after graduation, taking a learn-German-in-Germany summer program, going to Australia for the next World Harp Congress in 2014. (Hopefully I’ll have the cash to do all that..) It won’t be quite the same as studying in a different country, but guess at least I’ll have the chance to travel.
It’s been an idea kicking around in the back of my head ever since I heard UBC had exchange program, and my desire to go on exchange has only been growing as I learn what a good exchange program Go Global really is. My mom had the opportunity to do an exchange to Japan when she was doing her Masters and she said if the opportunity is there, just take it. There’s nothing else like it. And it seems that’s pretty much what anyone who’s gone on exchange has said.
Recently I was looking at the student reports on the Go Global website, and from the looks of it, only three music students have ever gone on exchange. Ever. I’m not surprised, since the way courses for music students is somewhat inflexible, but I’m expecting this to be a challenge. And I will push through whatever red tape I have to to get to go on exchange!
So it’s pretty clear from an email conversation and the lack of student reports that the music advisor doesn’t have much experience with exchange, so I plan to go in to the Go Global Office as soon as I get back to campus in the fall. (I feel like not much will get done over email or phone.) I also plan to get all my courses pre-approved so I don’t have to deal with any silliness when I get back to Canada!
P.S. I haven’t actually picked exactly where I want to go for exchange yet, but when I decide I’ll let you know!