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.
- Waiters take your orders for drinks and food separately.
- Brussels is very large and my feet hurt a lot.
- Met the woman who is renting her harp to me during this trip and who I met in Vancouver last October – she has a really cool performance space in her apartment and an awesome electric ramp for getting harps up the stairs! Also apparently her husband/partner/friend (I didn’t ask) is a famous Belgian glassmaker. Cool.
- We went to the Musical Instrument Museum and there were ocarinas there the size of a large cat! Huge!
- Saw above and below ground palaces.
- Waffles are consistently delicious.
- Went to Bruges, very beautiful city. Much more green space, open area, and water than Mons or Brussels. If I had to pick a place in Belgium to live, I would pick Bruges.
- Made friends :)
Sorry, I would post more but I spent all day yesterday and today in Brussels and Bruges and I’m real tired.
Hello from Belgium! A few things of note since I have arrived:
- Most restaurants in Europe (or at least Belgium) don’t give you free water. You have to pay for bottled water.
- Cobblestones are hard on the feet.
- Mons, the town/city we are staying in, is roughly the size of UBC campus.
- No matter what you think, you cannot totally escape jetlag.
- Belgian waffles are delicious and basically function like donuts in Canada and the US.
- All bread found in Belgium is amazing.
- People really like their sandwiches here. And they are made on baguettes so why wouldn’t they?
I was going to upload a photo with this post, but the uploader is not working so you’re just going to have to wait!
Currently I am sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane which will take to London, and from there to Belgium.
I am incredibly excited, but before I left the house today I don’t think I had really internalized the fact that I was travelling so far away.
As my friends hugged me and waved goodbye, told me to have fun and travel safe, suddenly I realized that I’d never been so far away from my family and friends, and I wouldn’t even be able to use my phone to text my boyfriend while I was away. I mean, Vancouver is already halfway across Canada from home, but we’re talking a separate continent! Suddenly I felt quite small and quite alone.
I got to the airport and suddenly felt like, oh my gosh, no one is going to talk to me the entire trip and I’ll just awkwardly be doing stuff by myself. Totally unfounded, and not something I was feeling for the last several weeks leading up to the trip.
Now that we’re through security, I feel a little more settled and I’m not too worried about being far away or alone. I’m feeling excited and happy to be here.
Basically, I’ve decided that whatever happens, I am going to keep a good attitude and have a good time. Not everything will go perfectly, but if I can keep a smile on my face I’m going to have a blast. More to come from Belgium!
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.
Now that two months of school have passed (see: class ends in 26 days), I can give a little insight into the Go Global group study project I’m participating in. It’s called UBC IMPART; what the acronym actually stands for I have no idea, but the basic idea is that we use various technologies and software to interact with acoustic musical performance.
Mainly what we’ve been using so far are gesture-tracking technologies, such as accelerometers, webcams, and Xbox Kinects. The programmers in the class then take the data generated by those devices to create an electronic element for the performance. For example, the sound generated by the acoustic instrument may be picked up by a microphone, and then depending on how the performer moves, the computer program could change how the sound is processed, by adding reverb or echo, etc.
It’s a really cool project, and it’s really fun to be one of the performers for the group. (I just play harp, I don’t do any programming.) It’s so neat to be able to wave my hand around and control a sound effect and hear it change based on how I move.
What’s also very exciting is that we will be travelling to Belgium in February to perform our music and share with students there. If you’d like to keep updated with the IMPART project, you can follow the blog at http://ubcimpart.wordpress.com.
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!
As a third year performance major, not only do I feel kind of old, but I also don’t have to take very many classes besides my ensembles and private lessons. Believe me, ensembles and private lessons take enough time and effort on their own. So all I still need to complete my degree besides those are music and non-music electives!
First term I’ll be taking a Creative Writing course and Instrumentation (which, to my understanding, is arranging music for different instruments and ensembles). That’s actually all the “lecture courses,” as I call them, I’ll be taking first term. Hello, one-class-per-day and class-free Fridays.
Excluding ensembles and lessons.
Second term I’ll be taking my final music theory course dealing with post-tonal music (not really looking forward that one…) and more German. I’ve missed German a lot since I took it in first year! So for that I’m super stoked. And, second term I will have no classes on Tuesdays and Thursday. I know, you’re jealous of my totally awesome schedule.
Another exciting possibility for this year is that I might go on a Group Study to Belgium! Those of you who follow my blog will remember that I was extremely disappointed when I discovered I couldn’t really go on an exchange. But this year a MUSIC Group Study Project was created which I’ve applied for, and if I get selected I could be going to Belgium for two weeks! If I actually get accepted for it I’ll write more about it when I actually understand the research project better.
As well, because of the way I was able to arrange my schedule, I may apply to be an usher for the School of Music Wednesday Noon Hour Concerts. It would only be a few hours per week, but it would be nice to have a bit of extra cash in my pocket. Plus my job would pretty much be to sit in on professional concerts. Not bad, eh?
Overall it’s looking like it will be a very creative year! Although I think I may get a bit overwhelmed with all the music I have to learn this year – I’ll be putting on a 45-minute recital in April – I’m really excited for third year. The only bad thing about it is that I’ll be so much closer to being done my time at UBC! I just won’t think about that. Instead I’ll dream about my trip to Belgium! :P
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.