#OpenYourWorld

The #GoAbroadSquad is a team composed of Georgian College students, alumni, staff and faculty that have completed a successful study or work abroad experience and we invite you to learn from them and join the squad in future semesters. We aim to empower all Georgian College students to become changemakers through international experiential learning. The #GoAbroadSquad creates social change in all Georgian College campuses.

Why get involved?

1. Improve your student experience through internationalization and experiential learning

2. Network with like-minded individuals; with people who have done a study or work abroad experience or with people that are considering this in the future

3. Enhance your cultural awareness and global knowledge

4. Expand your world view and share stories with others

5. Learn something new, and get inspired about social innovation ideas

6. Enhance your resume with global and cultural awareness skills

If you want to learn more about what our team does and how you can get involved in our movement feel free to send us a message or email us at goabroad@georgiancollege.ca

Matias & Mike in Denmark – Week 4

The Final Week

Hello friends,

This is our third and last week in Aarhus. I must say that we do not want to leave yet because everything has been awesome and there are still many things to do around. This Friday we had our final exam in Android Development course, and it looked though, so we spent several hours studying in order to be ready.

Fortunately, both of us passed the course with 84%!!! We are proud of ourselves and happy because we studied hard to achieve our goals, but also discovered the city, made new friends, went to bars, restaurants, museums, and so on. I wish more students could take part in this great initiative and go abroad.

Georgian College is present in VIA University College

A short mention in VIA University College’s Instagram and Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/VIAUniversityCollegeInternational/posts/522907108153916

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlaHlYshgWU/?utm_source=ig_embed

Den Gamle By; The Old Town

One of the most amazing places we visited in Aarhus was Den Gamle By (https://www.dengamleby.dk/en/den-gamle-by/). This place is an open-air town museum founded in 1914, and it is one of the top-rated museums in Denmark. The magic of this place is that recreates the architecture and living-style of Danish people since 1550.

The entrance fee is around DKK$130 (CAD$27.00), but because we went through VIA University College, we got it for free.

Den Gamle By is a collection of 75 historical buildings brought from all over Denmark. Those buildings are decorated and ready for people to explore. There are several actors wearing traditional clothes and performing specific roles, so everyone can talk to them and learn about history and know funny facts. Actors also perform random sketches in different parts of the village-museum, creating a sort of story that guests can follow up if they keep close to them.

 

There are several small stores that sell traditional souvenirs, and restaurants offering menus that have been traditionally prepared for centuries. (The picture below shows) This is a picture of one of the bakeries in the museum, which bakes recipes from the 1800’s. We tried some cookies and they were really tasty, even though I don’t personally have a sweet tooth (Matias).

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This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Aarhus!!

More Danish Food: Smørrebrød and hot dogs.

One of the dishes that I really wanted to try was the Danish open sandwich or Smørrebrød. This food is pretty common in Denmark so it was in our list since the beginning. We went to a place called Den Lille Kro (https://www.denlillekro.dk/) which has reasonable prices compared to other restaurants.

There are many different open sandwiches; some of them have fish, beef, pork, chicken, meatballs, and it usually goes with several veggies. It’s a great idea to enjoy it with a cold Tuborg Danish Beer.

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Unfortunately, we were really hungry so only one open sandwich each was not enough. We needed some more food, so we remembered that everybody talked at least once about Danish hot-dogs.

The best way to eat hot-dogs in Denmark is buying them from small street vendors or food trucks. The price is fairly cheap and it is worth it!

The Danish hot-dog is the classic sausage with mustard, ketchup and remoulade, topped with raw onions, roasted onions, and pickles. At least for me, it was the first time trying those ingredients in a hot-dog. Highly recommended!

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Heidi’s Bier Bar: a great place to say goodbye.

As we mentioned, this week was hard in terms of study so we couldn’t go out as much as we did the last two weeks. However, being the last day and after successfully passed the final exam, we wanted to celebrate.

Kristian; One of the VIA’s staff members, works part-time at Heidi’s Bier Bar (https://www.heidisbierbar.com/) so he recommended us to go there to have a farewell party. In Heidi’s, all decorations have an old-fashioned style, and servers are dressed in pretty Tyrolean dresses, creating a nice and mystical environment to chill and drink with friends. We enjoyed live music and the dance floor, so it is definitely a place for everyone to have fun.

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We made a mixed group between the Android Development and the Responsive Web Design classes. That day everyone was happy, but also wanted to stay for longer in Denmark. It was such an incredible team, but we all knew that we had to go back, not before wishing us good luck and share our contacts. That was our last activity in that lovely city.

Our last words:

It is time to say goodbye. Denmark is a beautiful, secure and peaceful place and we had an amazing experience to keep for the rest of our lives. We had the opportunity to enhance our education at a prestigious university, go a bit further into the Danish culture, meet people from different countries, and try traditional dishes and drinks. I want to encourage everyone to go abroad and discover the world!

Thank you so much to all those who made this adventure a tremendous experience, and all the staff who made this possible:

Brandy Mullen – Internationalization and Project Lead at Georgian College.

Leslie Palson – Dean at the International Centre, Georgian College.

Kelly Watson – Operations Manager at the International Centre, Georgian College.

Paulo Cardoso – Global Ambassador, Go Abroad Squad, Georgian College.

Melissa Pauli – Global Ambassador, Go Abroad Squad, Georgian College.

Cassidy Chafe – International Office Clerk at the International Centre, Goergian College.

Go Abroad Squad:

https://goabroadsquad.com/

https://www.georgiancollege.ca/ashoka/goabroadsquad-your-ticket-to-international-experience/

https://www.facebook.com/goabroadsquad/

Georgian College – International Centre:

https://www.georgiancollege.ca/international/

https://www.facebook.com/ICGeorgian/

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THANK YOU!

 

Matias & Mike in Denmark – Week 3

Studying and Discovering

Hi there!

This is our second week studying in Denmark, and the experience has been awesome. People in Aarhus are friendly, and everybody speaks English, so there are no communication barriers and it is quite easy to move around.

Studying Abroad

We have enjoyed a lot our time at VIA University College. Almost everyday all of us have lunch together, including the two staff members working with us and our respective teachers. This custom has promoted a fluent interaction between all of us, which is great when being far from home.

There is also a soccer/basketball pitch and a patio next to our classroom on the fifth floor, so we can see and feel the environment at VIA, which is really pleasant and designed to promote the physical and intellectual development of the students.

Our Programming teacher, Ibrahim, is a young professional, nevertheless, he is knowledgeable and with a great pedagogical sense. His way of teaching includes theoretical content, live demonstrations, coding examples, and in-class exercises, making it a dynamic class. At the same time, his attitude is friendly and always seeking to promote a relaxed and focused atmosphere, so I believe everyone feels comfortable in his class.

VIA also offered several social activities, such as city tours, scavenger hunts, trips to museums, bar and drinking days, among others. Most of the activities are free of charge or partially covered by VIA, which is helpful if you are on a tight budget.

Next Friday, we’ll have our final exam, so I think next week we will spend more time at home studying. Even though this is a 3-week course, we spend 5 hours per day at school (75-hour program), which is even longer than any course in a regular semester.

Den Permanente: a great beach in Aarhus

If you come to Aarhus, you must check out this place. Den Permanente (https://www.visitaarhus.com/ln-int/den-permanente-gdk603420) is the most famous beach in the city and it was highly recommended by our teachers and staff.

As you can see in the last post, grass and landscape colours are not very green and fresh this summer. In Denmark, high temperatures are not very common and even in summer, it is rainy. However, this has been an unusual summer in Denmark because, according to locals, there hasn’t been a rainy day for more than 2 months. This climate condition has been extremely inconvenient for farmers, however, people in the city is enjoying the sun and spending more time at Den Permanente beach.

People pack their towels, sunscreen, snacks and a couple of beers before going to the beach, so did we. As we got there biking for around 20 minutes, we were sweaty and hot so you can imagine what a nice and refreshing jump into the water it was!!

Personally (Matias speaking), I swam for a long time in these warm waters. Waves were gentle and there is a jumping spot that it is possible to reach by swimming. As a Chilean, having to swum my whole life in the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean (yes, the ocean’s name does not correspond to its actual behaviour) swimming at the North Sea was awesome. On the other hand, it looks like for Mike the water was a little bit cold, so he did not swim that much, but he had more time to take some good pics.

One interesting thing about this beach is that it has a special place for nudists but in separated spots for men and women. If you like to go naked, that would be a great place for you to have a chilling time.

Pub Quiz at Pedersens Bar

In Denmark, a common bar activity is the Pub Quiz, which takes place in some bars on a specific day every week. We went to Pedersens Bar (https://pedersensbar.com/) with our classmates and staff, willing to play the game.

When we were going there, we crossed the train station and saw a massive bicycle parking lot… I think I have never seen such a huge bike parking lot like that before. Check out this picture:

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Once at the place, we made teams of 4; each group in one table, and the bar’s owner; as a referee, leading the game. Each group has a piece of paper in which they have to write down answers for questions that the referee asks during the game. There are 3 rounds of 15 questions related to science, sports, TV and cinema, politics, and so on. In the end, the winning team gets a special price (mostly related to free drinks).

Even though our team got the 3rd place, the winners got 10 free beers/drinks and they shared the price with all of us, so everyone was happy. We had so much fun so if you are going to Denmark, join to a Pub Quiz day!

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 That’s all for this week… Cheers!!

 

 

 

Cassandra in Denmark – The Return Home

Back to Reality

After a long journey, I am finally settled back into my home and back onto my regular schedule. Coming home was very hard for me as I made so many new friends in Aarhus, we became so close over the course of a month by working together every day.

First, when I arrived in Aarhus I was very homesick and wanted to go home so bad, it took some adjusting to get used to the fact that I am so far away from home. Then, I overcame this by continually trying to keep myself busy until school started but as soon as soon as school started I made so many new friends I forgot all about being homesick. The highlight of my trip was making all these friends and being able to learn from them and their culture. Luckily I was able to keep in contact with everyone in my class through WhatsApp or social media, we have been able to connect about our journeys back home and how we have been settling in with getting back home into our normal routines.

Finally, I concluded my trip by going to Hamburg, Amsterdam and Paris. Travelling to these countries, was a fantastic opportunity that I believe anyone who travelled to Denmark should take because it is so easy and cheap to travel within Europe once you are already there. Travelling to these countries was very eye-opening because even though they are all connected every country was different in their way.

Matias & Mike in Denmark – Week 2

The First Week

Discovering Aarhus

We are really enjoying this city! The architecture of Denmark has its origins in the Viking period around the year 1000.

Creating a green and sustainable society is one of the key goals for Denmark, and its architecture goes along with that, has a unique personality, preserving a traditional style, and good harmony between buildings and nature.

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‘Stegt flæsk’: The traditional Danish food.

We went to a traditional Danish restaurant called Pinden (https://www.pinden.dk/), which is one of the most recommended places to try authentic Danish Food. Many people told us about this place, and it was founded in 1849, so we had to visit it yes or yes! We ordered a dish called ‘Stegt flæsk’ which is deep-fried pork belly slices (including skin and fat) with potatoes, beets and parsley sauce. It was tasty and recommendable. Of course, we ate it with Tuborg beer and a shot of ‘Akvavit’, which is a traditional 46° Danish drink made of corn and grains. As extra information, Stegt flæsk was selected as the main Danish traditional dish.

Transportation, pick your bike!

Taking the bus every day can be quite expensive, so what everyone does: ride bikes! All the city is full of bikeways, and it is easy to get access to free public bikes. You just need to insert a DKK$20 coin in a bike-locker and you get it. When we put them back, we also get the coin back… good deal!

These days the weather has been awesome; sunny and not too hot, so we are riding bikes almost everywhere, every time. It has been great as an exercise and even better for our wallets. There are also parking lots for bikes everywhere, so we do not have to worry about them while doing activities.

“Danish cycling culture is another example of a green and sustainable society and Copenhagen alone has around 400 km of cycle paths, and about 40% of the capital’s population commute to work by bicycle”

VIA University College, Student exchange.

First week at VIA University College! We came to Denmark to take Summer Courses, so we have full classes from Monday to Friday between 9 AM – 3 PM, but sunset is not until 11:30, so we still have a lot of time to spend outside. Our class has students from Romania, Finland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, USA and us;  a Chilean and a Korean… such a good group we have!

As international students in Canada, it is noticeable that it’s the first time we are meeting students from those countries, a great and valuable experience.

The teaching system offers a dynamic and relaxed study environment and in class, you are supposed to engage in discussion with your professor and ask questions during lessons. There is a lot of interaction and communication is informal, promoting a closer environment to study.

The campus is huge, and it has several buildings around it. The first day of classes we realized an enormous cultural difference: Denmark has public washrooms for both genders together! This fact was the most surprising thing that I have seen here so far and shows the equality and integration of Danish society.

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ARoS Museum

One of the big attractions in Aarhus is the ARoS Museum (https://en.aros.dk/), and it’s located close to downtown. The entrance fee is around DKK$100 or CAD$23, and it’s open until 5:00 PM. We started from the 10th floor, where the famous Rainbow Road is located. It is a 360°-lookout where we were able to see the entire city through a colourful glass. This was one of the places that we really wanted to know because it is one of the key Aarhus’ landmarks, and once there the view was perfect.

After that, we went through all the exhibitions along the 9 floors. Each exhibition has a purpose and wants to invoke particular feelings and emotions. Some of them are related to sensitive historical topics, such as racism and violence. Others show nature, landscapes, traditions, and of course Danish history. I would say that ARoS museum encourages you to take a time to reflect and become aware as human beings.

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Vinstuen, a great place to chill and drink!

We went to Aarhus Downtown with some classmates, looking for some good places to drink and eat. We got recommendations, but the highlighted one was Vinstuen Bar(http://www.vinstuen.com/). The idea I had in mind about what a Danish bar is, it was just we found there, low prices compared to others, full of Danish people from all ages, and an old-fashion environment that makes us go back in time. This is because Vinstuen was founded in 1913, more than 100 years old!!

We enjoyed the good atmosphere, music, foods and drinks. This place just was amazing!

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That’s all for today,

Cheers!

 

 

 

Cassandra in Denmark – The Project

The Project

The week continues as we work with Jonatan Marcussen the manager at Mejlgade lab, an intelligent individual who is responsible for making the Pier 2 project even possible, he has been such a help with organizing resources for our plan to make it as successful as possible. The major project for the end of the program as mentioned before my group is working to build an eco-park on Pier two in the Aarhus harbour. First, as our project began, we started with some ideas of what can be done to create a sustainable eco-park not only on the Pier but around the Pier in the water as well. The proposal we made was to build a seaweed farm around the Pier, creating a seaweed farm allows an increase in resources for the sea life as well as life on land. Next, we proposed an oyster farm because oyster farms create cleaner water for the oceans. The oyster farms create carbon storage, nitrogen removal and water filtration, and we believe the water will benefit by becoming a cleaner more sustainable area for marine life. The proposal created has been written into better detail in our reflection paper and our poster so that the finale of the project is not revealed.

For the research part of the project to know if our ideas are going to benefit Aarhus for the future. First, we began by contacting some stakeholders that will help give us some insight into what they would recommend for building a better sustainable ecosystem in the water. Next, we reached out to a bio scientist Peter for aquatic life that will listen to our proposal for our project and give feedback to provide us with the best possible outcome. Having the chance to get to talk to a marine biologist about my plans for sea life is a dream come true because since I was 11 years old, I have wanted to become a marine biologist and getting to share my plans to help out the marine eco-system that may become real is an experience of a lifetime.

Then, we met with a lady named Yuki who has lived in Brazil, Tokyo, Canada and the United States. Yuki was living in Brazil with her husband because her husband got a job in Brazil when Yuki was there, she discovered an interest in the environment because she noticed from living in all those different countries how she saw climate change is affecting her everyday life. Then, after talking one on one with Yuki, I was lucky enough to express what I am doing to make a difference and how I want to better the environment. Fortunate enough for me Yuki gave me her contact information to help provide me with information on people in Brazil working for different environmental companies to look at future possibilities. Finally, I have been so lucky to talk one on one with these company representatives and receive their business cards for future possible job opportunities working with sustainability.

Matias & Mike in Denmark – Week 1

The Journey Begins: Getting to Aarhus

Hi there! We are Matias Contreras and Wontae Bong; two international students at Georgian College, living the amazing experience of study in Demark for 3 weeks. We applied to a great initiative developed by the Go Abroad Squad and International Centre in Georgian. They made the connections with VIA University College, which is located in the city of Aarhus

We started our trip from Toronto to Aarhus taking 2 flights, and It took around 20 hours if we consider the time change because time in Denmark is around 6 hours after Canada. It is relatively easy to get cheap flight tickets, but it needs time, so before you are going out, make sure you have researched several airlines and agencies. Based on our experience, I could say that it is possible to save up %50 or %60, which is pretty good if you don’t mind a couple of layovers.

Our first layover was at the London Stansted Airport (STN), and from our point of view, it was a little bit small for people who transit there… be ready for rush-hour. The STN has the most scheduled European flights than any other country, and it’s known to have the many low-cost carriers operating there.

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Once we arrived in Denmark, we had to move from the capital city: Copenhagen, to Aarhus. There are two main options to make this part of the trip: by bus or train. Taking the train can be more expensive than the bus (around CAD$80 total), and it takes 3 and a half hours to get to Aarhus, but we highly recommend it. During the whole trip, you will get to see beautiful landscapes and several traditional villages. It also crosses a huge bridge called the Great Belt, that connects Aarhus and Copenhagen.

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We got to Aarhus Train Station; the last train’s stop on the schedule. We got there just before midnight. Even though it was pretty late (and it was Sunday), the downtown streets were colourful, and all the people were having fun outside. We are excited to discover the nightlife of Aarhus. One crazy thing about Aarhus is that during this month of July the sunrise starts at 4:00 am and sunset at 11:30 pm!

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Finally, we took a bus to get home. Taking a bus in Aarhus, it costs around $20 Danish kroner (CAD$4.50), and the transport system works 24 hours per day.

Now, it is time to take a rest because our first class at VIA University starts tomorrow at 9:00 AM.

Cheers!!!!

Cassandra in Denmark – Week 3

United Nations ’17 Sustainable Development and Co-creation

The third week has begun since I started the United Nations’17 sustainability development goals and co-creation and it has been an experience of a lifetime. First, I was a little nervous to begin the course with people I didn’t know because I did not realize how easy it was to make friends with people from different cultures and different native languages but I did not need to worry. After just the first day I made so many new friends from all across the world, and I hope to carry their friendships with me for a very long time. My new close friends, Jeanette from Hamburg, Germany, Jackie from Edmonton, Alberta, and Quinn from New York, we became so close that at the end of the program I am travelling with Jackie, Jeanette and Quinn to Jeanette’s place in Hamburg and after that continuing with Jackie and Quinn to Amsterdam and Paris. I am excited to get to travel and experience parts of Europe I have never seen with new people that have the same interests as me.

For the learning part of the program I have learned so much captivating knowledge and met incredible people with high goals, but that is achievable for the future. First, we met with Rambøll which is a consulting firm that also works with the United Nations’17 sustainable goals. For example, a proposal made by Gitte was instead of demolishing buildings we take apart the buildings and reuse the materials to create a new structure instead of wasting resources. These inspirations opened up my eyes to opportunities that can I could achieve in the future.

Next, we were given a significantly large project for the end of the course; it was a decision between choosing to work with waste management, social health and purposing what to build on the Aarhus Pier 2 for the future. Next, I decided the case Pier 2 because we get to create a proposal on what sustainable way we want to build the Pier 2. I think it is very beneficial to bring home for my Environmental Technology program and resume building. Lastly, at the end of the course, we will be presenting it in front of the United Nations co-creation partners at the Dome of visions and hope it becomes one day a part of the Aarhus harbour.