Nagoya, Japan

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It’s been a while since returning from my Summer SIP, and experiencing the reverse culture shock was something I didn’t expect. After living in another country for a month, you begin to adapt to the different cultures and practices of the host country; it feels as if you are returning to a foreign country rather than coming home to your family when you fly home. I found myself grasping at small memories and items that brought me back across the globe desperately, arguing with myself about which country is my real home.

Now that I’m entering the Winter 2018 semester, I look back at the experience and think about how much fun I had overall. At this point, I have once again coped with the integration back into Canadian society. With a clear mind, I’ve decided to recount the highlights of my adventure.

Karaoke

This had to be the first thing on my list to talk about. Karaoke in Japan is on a whole different level! Unlike the song books we have here, you navigate their system using tablets. They also have big screen TVs paired with modern Karaoke systems that are always updating their library. The price is very fair, especially because your time includes unlimited drinks! At least, majority of places do. Places like Joy Joy even offer free alcohol… but if you’re going on a centennial experience you better not drink (it’s in the contract)! They also have different lights flashing around the rooms, and some places have instruments to play around with (i.e. maracas, tambourines).

Akihabara

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Fair warning; it won’t be as all you anime nerds out there expect. There is a lot of anime there, but not everywhere. There are a lot of arcades too, and if you want to play the music games you see on Youtube, you have to go up 1 or 2 floors (Ignore the crane games. They are tricky for noobs). THEY STILL HAVE DDR IN JAPAN!!!! I also tried a VR game that I can’t go into details with (though I’ll throw out the word bishie as a hint ;))

Shopping

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The shopping in Japan is just like in Canada, but they have so many more items available at their equivalent of a Dollar Store! It’s like going to a Walmart(but even better) where everything really is just a dollar! I could spend hours in Daiso and Seria just trying to figure out what random trinkets I think I need. The quality is also better than you’d expect. What would normally cost around $12 here in Canada only cost me 100 yen (about 1USD) in Japan! They also have more cute clothes, though I guess that’s up to preference. Another thing to note is how often you’ll see a vending machine around; it’s so convenient on the really hot days!

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The temples and traditional buildings are gorgeous! Walking around the outskirts of town you can see how they integrate both new and traditional architecture into a beautiful blend… I could get lost exploring for hours on purpose! Although everything is built tightly, it feels like they are more efficient because they don’t waste what space they have.

Language

Japanese is such an interesting language which sounds so smooth, and hearing it spoken all around me caused my heart to flutter. I’m so happy to have been able to practice speaking the language, and improving my proficiency. We were challenged to write a report in Japanese, and I honestly had so much fun typing on the Japanese keyboards!

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This is another thing you should really try in Japan. You can try photobooths in other countries, but I haven’t been able to find one quite like Japan’s. Some booth places will even have rental cosplay’s available, as well as areas to doll yourself up. The biggest thing about Purikura in japan though is the unusual beauty filter. It will make you look so different! I highly recommend getting at least one.

Toilets

I have to give the bidet toilets an honourable mention; It’s such a weird concept but once you try it, it’s so hard to look at toilet paper the same way. You WILL regret not trying it. Seriously.

Lifestyle

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I’ll be honest: I didn’t expect everyone to be so kind. I’ve been approached by Japanese citizens eager to practice English with me and have a nice conversation, and they portray strong emotional connections between each other that I had not expected. Granted, not all are like that, but moments like when my luggage got stuck in the train doors and everyone around me stopped to help me pull it out have me taking a step back to reassess what I had come to understand about Japanese people. It opened my mind a bit more to reality, versus the stereotypes we become so used to. Playing around and doing crazy things, experiencing life in Japan from the perspective of a typical Japanese University student; I can honestly say that I’ve never had so much fun in my life, and I wish I could relive those short moments over and over again.

Food

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THE FOOD IS AMAZING! If you love sushi, then you’ll cry after trying fresh sushi from Tsukiji Market or any equivalent. It’s so expensive, yet the taste still lingers on my mouth even now… and Kobe beef is sooooo good! Their food tastes so different from North American food, and coming back was a tough transition for me. 7 Eleven has the best fried chicken, and the price isn’t bad; I can literally survive happily off eating that chicken for days.

Japan Travel

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If you have time, you should really travel to the different prefectures; the difference between them is astonishing, and the experiences are so unique! In Canada you typically stand on the right side of the escalator, but in Tokyo you stand on the left; In Osaka it’s actually the right! The onsens are also so fun and relaxing, though I highly recommend going to a mountainous region to experience the real thing.

There’s honestly so much to say, that I even made a short video for a contest about experiencing Japan:

Even after returning, my journey still continues. Since then, I’ve seen and talked with friends I’ve made back in Japan, and I am planning my eventual return. I’m very thankful for the opportunity SaGe has given me; I’ve made so many friends and valuable connections. I promise all you hopefuls that applying for one of these experiences will be a once in a lifetime experience you’ll never forget!

Written by: Ashley

‘We Live in Paradise..!’ (Summer International Program – Italy)

Dante Alighieri – The father of Italian Language said this, and trust me all the people residing in Italy believe this very firmly. And I am extremely fortunate to experience it to the fullest and living life the Italian way..!

Starting a journey with many postponed/canceled events resulting in not meeting a single person of my group made me skeptical but contrasting it completely the group that I got because of this summer program at the prestigious and much honored Centennial College was indescribable. They were the best and extremely fun-loving travelers I’ve met in my lifetime. They are some of the most caring, most mannered and most adorable people I’ve ever met. They were not my friends before but in 15 days all of them became more than family to me. Again a lot of thanks goes to Centennial College..! I’m not exaggerating about them; not even a bit – this is the truth, meet them & find out yourself.

This incredible group consisted of 19 friends from all across the world..! They were from  Uganda, Afghanistan, Russia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Philippines, Africa, Sri Lanka, and myself from India. Truly a Global Experience..! Centennial College will surely be remembered forever by me with utmost reverence. Thanks, @CentennialCollege for selecting me in #SIPItalyUrbania and #SaGE for arranging everything so perfectly and gifting me the #GlobalExperience. I learned a lot from you all..!

The hosts Lea and uncle cared us with unseen love &  extreme respect – treating us just like their sons and served us delicious food with a personalized table-linen(our names written on them) – Ps She had 30 years of experience as a cook/chef. The L’insegnante (teacher) Anna Ferri who took our Language Class was the coolest and the best teacher I ever had. She was awesome at teaching Italian, a caring, and a happy person. She did her best to understand us. Even she used to play great Italian songs in-class to fill the blanks listening correctly to the lyrics. And yes, we even watched a movie in class. Thanks, Lea and Anna for making Italy trip very memorable.

Thanks, Diletta for arranging the housing so properly – can’t expect anything more even in my imagination. Lastly, thank you very much, Pearl, for arranging the make-up orientation and supporting me very well through the whole process. I came to know how an excellent email looks like.. Giovanni – the Managing Director at Centro Studi Italiani and Enrico the student coordinator thanks for all your help, patience, and #extraordinary support. Happy Birthday and thanks to Anna for being with us and guiding us at all places – Urbino, Venice, Florence, Gubbio and Rome.

Grazie Mille (Thank You Very Much) Centennial for bestowing us with a remarkable and unforgettable #international experience, providing us the substantial bursary and giving abundant happiness in college-life.

Readers, I highly recommend to experience the Paradise yourself..! I bet you’ll have many things to say and tons of memories to share. Even my computer has 141+ Gig memories of Italy…IMG_20170924_102801_012.jpg

#Cheers to the reality that was better than a dream..!

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Do share your precious comments, thoughts.

Forgive the errors with your big heart.. & thanks for reading. I’ve shared many more events, memories, and photos of Italy on Facebook. Click Here to read and see them all..!

Written by: Rishit Sheth

Busan, South Korea

My one month in Busan was an adventure I’ll never forget! While it had its ups and downs, I found myself gaining an abundance of travel experience (and way too many amazing skin products!)

In this short video that I made, it captures some key moments from my first few days in Busan.

This trip was filled with great food, teacher’s, entertainment, shopping, and company!

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Busan and I can’t wait to go back.

From eating fried chicken at my first baseball game to exploring the many temples in the mountains, Busan will definitely be the place I know I will visit again. Even though there were a few bumps along the way regarding our dorm situation myself and the others still managed to make a memorable trip.

Written by: Marissa Shaw

URBANIA, ITALY SIP August 2017 by Lina Safi

Ciao Ragazzi! My name is Lina Safi, and this past summer I traveled on Centennial College’s Summer International Program to Urbania, Italy in August of 2017. During this global experience, I gained many important life skills, including learning how to be independent while learning.

Prior to departure, I was very nervous about joining a group of other students whom I had never interacted with prior to the trip. There was a total of 19 of us, and I had only had a small orientation with half the group before meeting the rest for the first time at the airport in Rome.

Instagram: @_linasafi for more pictures.

However, everyone clicked immediately from the start. We were met at the airport by Enrico, our student support coordinator, and a bus driver who drove us approximately 5-6 hours from Rome to the small town of Urbania, where we were greeted and taken home by our host families. All of us were greeted very warmly, and the families were very loving and some of the most kind-hearted people I had ever met. We were also given times for breakfast and dinner, as well as our own set of keys.

The next day, we began school at Centro Studi Italiani, where our classes were from 8:50-4:30. That may seem like a typical Canadian school day, but in Italy, that school day also had a 2 hour break from 12:30-2:30pm. This was because Italians emphasize importance on the meals and “siesta” part of their day. Even the shops close during the mid-afternoon for a few hours!

We had two classes, language and culture. Centro Studi Italiani had also given us written material to use as textbooks and help improve our Italian education. We were also given a 2 week schedule dictating the days we had a change in routine, for excursions or special classes like cuisine, or ceramics.

In the ceramics class, we were taught how to really work with clay, and designed our own fish. In the cooking class, we made homemade gnocchi. One of my favourite activities during culture class was playing “Heads-Up!” in Italian.

In addition to these special classes, Centro Studi Italiani and Centennial College organized a variety of excursions for us to partake in.

Excursion #1: Province of Urbino

Excursion #2: Florence (FIRENZE)

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Excursion #3: Venice (VENEZIA)

Excursion #4: Gubbio

Excursion #5: Rome (ROMA) / Vatican City (CITTA DE VATICANI)

It goes without saying, however, that our experience abroad could not have been so great without the help of the amazing Giovanni, Anna, Diletta, Gloria, and Enrico, who made sure that our time in Urbania was wonderful. I learned so much Italian and culture in a matter of just 2 weeks that I feel like a whole new person. Furthermore, I am forever grateful to Centennial College for giving me the privilege to experience such an incredible and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, where I not only learned and grew as an individual professionally and personally, but also made a family from halfway across the world. Grazie mille Centennial College e grazie mille a Centro Studi Italiani! Mi manchi.

#SaGe #SIPItalyUrbania #LearningAbroad #CentroStudiItaliani

Written by: Lina Safi

SIP- Dynamic Busan

Hello readers, my trip to Busan has been one of my top travels by far. My main purpose of the SIP was to learn and emerge myself with the Korean community and people. Although learning a new language can be intimidating, I can promise you that learning how to read and write Korean will only take 1 week maximum. With the exceptional expertise from the teachers of Youngsan University they really make you understand and teach you everyday sentences to aid you to converse with the locals! Busan was naturally beautiful as the city is surrounded with mountains and the ocean. Dynamic Busan has everything to offer such as its beaches, amazing food, the shopping, outdoor and indoor activities and of course the wonderful people! If I have another opportunity to go to Busan I would do it again without hesitation!

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MY SIP TRIP EXPERIENCE IN BUSAN

Hello fellow Centennial Student! My SIP trip to Busan started on July 10 to August 4. There I was greeted by Youngsan’s University staff Mr.Park and my classmates from Centennial. My experience in Busan and in regards to Youngsan University has been amazing all thanks to the generosity of  Centennial College, Youngsan university and their staff. Aside from attending the exceptional program learning the  Korean language, we were thrown into the Korean culture as we explore, experience and socialized with Strangers in broken Korean. The environment, culture, and society was vastly different, but the community of people were amazingly kind, caring and thoughtful like a mother caring for her child. My experience with SIP has its ups and downs but overall it was an excellent experience and I will forever cherish it.

 

Finland was fantastic!

I applied for the SIP program to Turku Finland as I felt the program (Professional Services and Productization) would help me to market my business. I studied Travel Services Management and I’m now a travel agent. So this program was a catch as providing travel advice is providing a service, and I wanted tips on how to market service. You can imagine how excited I was when I heard I got through.

Arriving in Finland I was very moody and grumpy, as I connected in New York so I was travelling for more than 24hours. But when I got on the train from the airport to Turku, I instantly relaxed. The countryside was lush and green and this calm captivated me. Being a country girl, I’m always drawn to communities rather than cities, so seeing Turku wasn’t all that built up gave me something to smile about. The train ride from Helsinki to Turku was really relaxing and provided some really good sightseeing.

In Turku, I had some problems with my pre-booked accommodation but soon found myself helped by a local. Finnish people can appear intimidating and blunt, but once a conversation is started, they really warm up. Thankfully they’re kind and helpful, so I was out of my accommodation rut in less than 5 minutes of conversation with the local. This was the beginning of many other local encounters that made my trip amazing.

At school (Turku University of Applied Sciences), the classroom discussions were so enriching. Altogether we were 12 students and 2 lecturers representing 11 countries! You can imagine the cultural exchange that took place. We bonded well. In fact, my favourite moments in Turku were all moments when we got together. Outside of school, we did social activities including dinners, museum tours, city tours, picnic, shopping, and a boat tour to Stockholm, Sweden. We also had lunch together, every day we tried a new canteen. The food was absolutely scrumptious and ridiculously cheap! With our student cards, we got lunch for as little as €2.80. A buffet meal consisting of coffee/tea and bread, salad, entree and sometimes dessert. And you’ve got choices, always 2 or 3 entree items to choose from.

Other than the super cheap student lunches, I was amazed by the transportation system. People bike/cycle all around. Whether they’re going to work, school or party, they cycle! Yes, men in tuxedos and ladies in stilettos cycle all about. Cycling is so common, cyclists have their own section of the street to cycle on and a tonne of places to park. Other than that, it’s so easy and fast to walk about (even though I got lost a bit). From where I stayed, walking to school was the same distance as taking the bus so I often walked. It was sad to leave all that behind – little to no traffic 🙂 to come back to the hustle and bustle of Toronto 😦

All in all, I had a wonderful time in Tuku. The program was amazing and I now have friends from all over. I highly recommend this program and cannot say thanks enough to Centennial for such a great opportunity.

When in Oviedo…

¡Hola! 

My name is Jodie and I am in the Travel and Tourism program. I did the SIP program in Oviedo, Spain, which is located in the Asturias region (north of Spain), for July. I applied to the SIP programs for the fun of it and to be quite honest, I didn’t expect to get in. But to my surprise, I got an interview and then found out I was accepted to the program while I was away in Colombia.

Before I departed Canada
From Toronto, connecting in Brussels, and finally Madrid

Before departing to Spain, I knew some Spanish but I didn’t know enough to have a conversation with somebody or even ask for help. I only learned on my own by listening to Spanish music, watching telenovelas, and by observation whenever I visited Colombia. I was scared when I arrived in Madrid because I didn’t feel comfortable speaking Spanish since I lacked confidence. This quickly changed because I was forced to speak Spanish since that was the sole purpose of me going, therefore, I needed to try. Also, the majority of the people in Oviedo didn’t speak English because it wasn’t a city with many tourists.

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I was in the Intermediate I Spanish class and my teacher didn’t speak ANY English. At first, I thought this was a little bit of a challenge but this actually helped me improve my listening skills. My conversations class not only allowed me to practice speaking, but it also helped me to be more confident to speak. With the help of all three of my teachers, Lorena, Pablo, and Gloria, my Spanish has improved in every aspect.

To wrap it up, I was genuinely sad to leave Spain and I actually cried while I was on the bus to get to Madrid’s airport. I will never forget Oviedo’s overwhelming architecture, the relaxing lifestyle, and all the people I have encountered during my stay. I have a lot of stories to share about Oviedo and these pictures and videos posted don’t do much justice. One thing I could say is that this was definitely a life-changing experience for me and I would do this again in a heartbeat. Te extraño mucho, Oviedo. ❤

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Besitos,

Jodie

SIP – Alcala de Henares

Hello,

My name is Yonghui. I have stayed in Alcala de Henares, Spain, for a month with my wife studying Spanish and travelling around. Alcala is the city where I would love to spend the rest of my life after retirement.  People are nice and kind, the city is not too crowded, beautiful and natural… It is such a blessed city! Thank you for this great opportunity.

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Study Love in Spain.

Alcala de Henares, Madrid, Spain

Hello everyone!

My name is Bianca, 20 years old. I am Brazilian and this Summer of 2017 I have been part of the Summer International Program in Spain.

The total length of the program was one month (August). As you might already know, it is one of the hottest months of the year in Europe, so obviously I was melting everyday over there; but I can’t really complain about it. Everyday I would wake up with this huge sunlight coming into my window, would have breakfast with my lovely Spanish family and go to school by walking and laughing with the best roommates in the world.

During class, I will admit, we have learned a LOT of Spanish. All of the professors would only speak Spanish, so we had no other choice than learned it (some would say by the hard way, I would say by the funny way lol).

After class, me and my friends used to go out for lunch and everyday try a different Spanish dish. So on Mondays, for example, we decided to always go out for Tapas, which is kind of (INCREDIBLE DELICIOUS) side dishes given to you when you ordered any drink. Unfortunately, I don’t have any picture of it, cause I was always starving for lunch after class. PS. OUR CLASS USED TO FINISH AT 3PM, so you can imagine how hungry we were.

So having lunch, we normally went back home to take a nap because of the SIESTA. As Spanish people says “dormir la siesta”. Can you think of any better way to spend your day with a full belly? We slept around one hour and went back to streets for shopping, or eating more, or visiting some new places. The funny thing is, our small city would be completely empty from 3pm to 5pm. I guessed everyone was also taking a nap. But as I mentioned, the same time we went back to the streets, everyone else was also there, which always meant partyyyyyyyyy!!!

So from there to night time, the city was really alive and we had a lot of fun. I have many stories I could tell here, but I think I will just live some pictures from my GREAT Spanish adventure. Love to share my experience =)

 

– Bianca