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March 2011

Global Pulse

Editor-in-chief Lisa Marie Nagapen Design Director Putera Camaro Assistant Designer Scott Ramirez, Lisa Marie Nagapen


son, Tanya Dahonick, Jason Yokom, Mabel Chan, Pugaleni Iynkaran, Shannie Lu, Graphics Contributor Jason Shum Photo Contributors Jinglin Zhen, Kitty Lam, Serena Robinson, Dee Luo, Lisa Marie Nagapen, Rachella Valdez, Mabel Chan, Jessica Heng Staff Support Joanna Ying, Nadia Rosemond


Contributing Writers Serena Robin-

CONTACT US University of Toronto Scarborough 1265 Military Trail Student Centre, SL-151 Toronto, ON M1C 1A4 Canada Tel: +1 -416-287-7518 Fax: +1-416-287-7672 Email: Website:

WHO WE ARE Global Pulse is a student-run initiative supervised by the International Student Centre, and features exclusively international oriented content. We aim to provide a resource for students to find the most relevant information on overseas opportunities and offer insights on the cultural, academic and personal benefits of international experience. Global Pulse encourages enthusiasm for travel, acceptance of cultural diversity and most of all, an open mind, so we invite you to share in our experiences and hopefully begin your own unexpected adventure.

n a recent trip to New Zealand, I was told by my tour guide that when you travel, you find yourself. As he said it, I laughed off the cliche and figured he said that to everyone. He probably does. But after nearly 7 months away from home, travelling, studying and living in and around Australia, I have to say that those words are more true than any other advice I’ve heard. I had heard stories from many people claiming that they knew someone who went to Oz and decided to stay forever but I figured I could never leave home, but after meandering down the graffiti caked walls of Melbourne and tasting the most amazing coffee, I knew this city was made for me and I realized that the opportunity for amazing experiences is endless when you step out of your comfort zone. For someone who is scared of heights, cannot swim and dislikes animals and the outdoors, I would never have imagined that by the end of my trip I would have fed kangaroos, held a crocodile, gone snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, camped in the outback, gone bungee jumping and skydived 4 times! I also got to see New Zealand and Fiji, live on my own for the first time, meet amazing people and make friends that became like family. It’s unbelievable how much you can change when you give yourself the freedom to explore. J.M. Coetzee once said, “I did not so much leave South Africa...but come to Australia...I was attracted by the free and generous spirit of the people, by the beauty of the land itself…” Like many before me, I too was lured by the mythical power of a mysterious land filled with cities, deserts, inspired architecture and seemingly endless beaches. Oz is a place of overwhelming beauty that is only paralleled by the possibility for adventure. I fell in love with Oz and the excitement of travel and want nothing more than for others to have that experience with their own stories abroad, wherever that destination may be. The best way to explore is different for everyone, it might be volunteering, studying, working or recreation- whatever the route you take, let it lead you to an open mind and a new experience. This project started from a shared love of travel in the ISC, enthusiasm for cultural diversity and the need for a resource to make informed decisions. I thank the great team behind it for all of their hard work and the participation from those who graciously allowed us to share their insights and stories. A very special thank you to the team in the DSL and ISC for helping with this project, particularly Joanna Ying who is never unwilling to go the extra mile. Travel safe and happy, xoxo. Lisa Marie Nagapen, Editor-in-chief


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Global Pulse

Top 10 Summer Break Spots 18

Photo by Jinglin Z

Stories from Abroad 12 City Guides 15

Top Summer Break Spots 18 International Development & Culture Week Photo Winners 19 Photo by Jinglin Z

Study Abroad CIE style: Erika Loney 04

On the Verge of something big: Zinzi De Silva 05

Scholarships & Funding 6 Pre-departure & Safety 7 How to Teach Overseas 8 Marching to a New Beat 10

Confessions of a teacher abroad: Japan 11

Photo by Serena R

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Global Pulse



Making the Most of Your Time

ABROAD Photo by Jessica H


abindranath Tagore once wrote, “If life’s journey be endless where is its goal? The answer is, it is everywhere.” This is the message stressed by the International Student Centre (ISC) at UTSC and the Centre for International Experience (CIE) at the St. George campus. Both offices serve incoming international students, as well as UTSC students studying overseas, putting emphasis on the lasting impact of international experience. The needs of U of T’s student body are as diverse as the list of places to study in, but the CIE’s outgoing exchange officer, Erika Loney concedes that if you have ever thought about going somewhere, there is an opportunity that is right for you. A popular option is the Student Exchange Program (SEP); which allows students to choose from a selection of over 150 institutions that U of T has partnerships with in 50 different countries. With this option, students pay their normal tuition fees and complete a semester, or full year, of studies at a partner institution providing personal costs such as, flights, living expenses and accommodations. Erika suggests SEP for students who are “self reliant, independent and open to experience things being very different from home.” Study Elsewhere is an option in which students can choose institutions that do not have partnerships with U


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Global Pulse

Photo by Dee L

of T, this alternative requires paying international fees and more preparation from the student to structure their study experience. Summer Abroad is a tailored program mostly taught by U of T professors and is ideal for students who want a shorter abroad experience. Courses entail academic and travel experiences in host countries during the summer term.

Explore is a 5-week French language bursary program taught in the summer or spring. It is offered across Canada at institutions in Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Once you have decided to participate in a program, check for eligibility and requirements. You will most likely be required to complete an application package, using campus resources can help in this process. See the Career Centre for a resume critique, or visit a Study Abroad

“If life's journey be endless where is its goal? The answer is, it is everywhere.” - Rabindranath T By Lisa Marie Nagapen

Ambassador, knowledgeable ISC volunteers, for help on your statement of interest. Timeliness is also a huge factor, an inability to follow the guidelines of the application process tells the CIE office that you are not ready to cope with the responsibility of going abroad. It is easy to assume that studying abroad is just short-term fun, but the long-term benefits could help you on the job hunt after graduation. “The mindset of people that participate is much more global and you are more likely to do a masters, or additional education abroad.” You also have a vast set of experiences that showcase your skills and willingness to step outside of your comfort zone. Erika holds office hours to discuss abroad options, for further information visit the CIE or ISC and speak to a Study Abroad Ambassador and start planning your very own dream semester.

Photo by Lisa Marie N


trip to any abroad fair targeting students will undoubtedly yield a mass of flyers, promotional pens and a lot of confusion about the best way to go abroad. So where do you go for relevant information to help you decide? That’s where Verge comes in. Verge magazine is one of North America’s premier publications to explore study, work and volunteer opportunities abroad and their adage, “Travel with purpose” helps you do just that. Verge’s Special Projects Manager, and U of T alum, Zinzi de Silva, offered some of her insights on travel from her experiences working at Verge, and having completed an academic exchange to Australia. She has also travelled independently to over 20 countries. A popular option for students is volunteering abroad, however Zinzi cautions to do research as many prospects

Photo by Tanya D

are companies claiming to be charitable. Find reviews online to help give you a better idea about a position. Looking into the history of a program, its affiliations or if it is endorsed by local universities is also a good starting point.

“ Everything is about internationalization...” The high costs of going abroad can hinder people’s ambitions, however many programs cover flight costs and some pay for living expenses. Zinzi recommends checking if a program is registered with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Australia and the U.K. are popular destinations for Canadians however, Zinzi suggests seeking unexpected destinations to find opportunities. Those interested in international development may find positions in Thailand, parts of Southeast Asia, Tanzania and environmental conservation opportunities in the North Pole. Having utilized her own travel experience and interest in international opportunities in her career, Zinzi stresses the importance of a having a breadth of experiences, “Our generation really values the huge burst of interest in seeing as much as you can, and it helps in the job market by showing that you are able to build skills and prosper in

Photo by Kendel C

another environment.” Especially in a diverse city like Toronto, applicants should to be able to adapt and deal with a variety of cultures, experiences and different kinds of people on a daily basis. “Everything is about internationalization in this day and age.” For a stressed generation of fresh graduates in an oversaturated market that can seem jobless, a willingness to explore options abroad is beneficial. A short term stint overseas can provide long term employment opportunities and experience. Working holidays or contracts to teach English offer many work opportunities in Europe, Australia and parts of Asia, while a surge of teaching jobs in Dubai could yield valuable experience in the classroom for those hoping to teach in Toronto later on. Verge’s online search tool for jobs, volunteer and other overseas programs is a valuable resource, as well as, CIDA and ISIC chapters for those seeking a job abroad, also try job postings from large multinational corporations. The bottom line is to use all of the resources at your disposal, whether you are seeking employment or a U of T academic opportunity, research scholarship information and deadlines and take advantage of what is available. So if you are weary of the fruitless local job-hunt remember that viable options exist across the border and oceans away and perhaps a change of scenery is the right way for you to travel with purpose. March 2011

Global Pulse


Funding Your Abroad Studies:

What Makes Cents? Tanya Dahonick

The chance to study at a different university, in a country halfway around the world while earning credits toward your degree is exciting and full of possibilities. You might imagine yourself doing fieldwork for an archaeology class in the UK, visiting museums in Paris for Art History class or maybe even practicing your Japanese while studying in Tokyo. If you have considered any of these options, chances are that your daydreams may have been rudely interrupted by the question- “Can I afford to study overseas?” Though it might seem tricky, the answer is a definite yes! Many students have the same misconception: studying abroad is too expensive. However, there is a wealth of scholarships, bursaries and grants available to students, and with the right planning an exchange could be just a fraction more expensive than your normal tuition and living expenses. By participating on an exchange through one of U of T’s partner institutions, you pay standard tuition fees and cover additional costs of living and travel expenses but avoid paying international fees. Registered students are also eli-


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Global Pulse

gible to apply for OSAP and other bursaries and scholarships offered by the government. The government offers the Ontario International Education Opportunity Scholarship, which provides financial support for academic study valued at $2500. There are many awards and bursaries offered through the Centre for International Experience (CIE), such as, the International Program Bursary, a needs-based bursary that typically covers at least the cost of airfare. There are also numerous scholarships geared towards studying in certain countries or for students in specific programs. UTSC offers many awards through their UTSC Award Database; for students in various programs, those who are active in clubs on campus as well as extracurricular activities. Many students cite the effort needed for the application process as a detractor from applying for scholarships and bursaries, but many applications ask the same questions and require the same information (such as, a budget of current and expected expenses), in this way you can do the work once and apply the same information to various applications, making minor tweaks based on what is required. It is important to rec-

ognize that those who show effort will receive the biggest benefit, asking for a large sum of money to finance academic travel necessitates that you put in the time- a few hours is not a lot to ask for a hundreds or even thousands of dollars you would have otherwise had to pay out of pocket. Many host countries and institutions offer scholarships and awards to students looking to study abroad. For example the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) offers undergraduates $650 a month while studying at a partner institution in Germany. The Japan Student Service Organization offers students ¥80,000 monthly stipend, plus ¥80,000 upon arrival when studying in Japan. Other countries that offer awards include: China, Estonia, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, the UK and the US. Online scholarship search engines can also lead you to external scholarships. It is time to dispel the myth that studying abroad is too costly. With a bit of planning and research, each year students are able to receive thousands of dollars to help fund their exchange. There will be very few times in your life when you can actually receive money to go abroad, so why not take advantage of it as an undergrad? Let your dreams run wild and apply for exchange today!

TIPS et - create a budg rly ea y pl - ap rship - check schola s se databa rsaries at - search for bu tion itu your host inst

P R E - D E PA R T U R E & S A F E T Y T R AV E L G U I D E Pugaleni Iynkaran

Travelling is a great opportunity for students to experience different cultures and explore new places. However, in all of the excitement of packing and planning, preparation and safety can often be put low on the priority list. Before departure, an essential part of any travellers journey begins with research. Julienne Lottering, Safety Abroad Officer at U of T suggests, “Begin researching the culture, etiquette and safety of the place...” Knowing the local laws, health issues, customs, people, and the culture will help students when they are abroad. Taking care of health needs when preparing for a trip is also vital, ensure that you have medical insur-

ance information and check for regulations on mandatory vaccinations. Not sure what you need? A trip to a travel clinic (like Health Services, located at the St George campus) can provide info on any necessary vaccinations and medication, but prior to peak holiday seasons offices can get busy and you may need a few days between vaccinations, so book an appointment well in advance. Verify all passport and visa requirements and get emergency contact information from U of T and your host institution. Travel advisory reports for countries can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade website. These reports provide up-to-date information on any countries to help you make a more informed decision. They also provide the

vide emergency assistance to students participating in university sponsored activities. Specific concerns or anxieties can also be addressed by consulting support outside of school, for instance a female travelling alone for the first time may want to enrol in a women’s only self-defense class or seek advice from travel guides and books. Keeping safety in mind while traveling and taking precautions can only add to your wonderful experience abroad, so do a little prep work beforehand and have a safe and fun trip!

“Knowing the local laws, health issues, customs, people, and the culture will help students when they are abroad.” Registration of Canadians Abroad service, which allows the Canadian government to contact you if there is an emergency while you are abroad. Arranging accommodations in advance and organizing access to emergency cash can also be beneficial. U of T’s Safety Abroad Office also offers pre-departure training to students in preparation for cross-cultural encounters, personal safety, women’sonly travel and LGBTQ travel. They offer workshops and private appointments for students and staff and proMarch 2011

Global Pulse


TEACHING OVERSEAS: WHETHER YOU’RE LIVING A DREAM OR FILLING IN A GAP YEAR, TEACHING ABROAD CAN BE A MEMORABLE WAY TO WORK AND SAVE SOME EXTRA CASH. Serena Robinson Imagine earning money for doing what you do every single day... speaking English. Well, not quite. Teaching English is a little more complicated than that, but if you have a passion to teach and want to be exposed to new places and cultures, teaching abroad may be the right opportunity for you.

Teaching abroad can be an exciting and fulfilling experience that allows new graduates to both pay off their impending student loans while seeing more of


March 2011

Global Pulse

the world. However, teaching abroad is also a challenging experience, and one that students should not approach ill-informed. While there are many excellent companies and opportunities, there are others which are ready to take advantage of your money. One thing to keep in mind is that you are providing a service, and working 20-50 hours a week, therefore you should not consider paying large amounts of money to work for a company. The first question students and new graduates will usually ask when considering this opportunity is simply ‘am I qualified to teach abroad?’ Then often follows: do I need a degree? Do I need a TESL certification? Or even, what is a TESL certification? In short, the majority of teaching positions available are for native English speakers willing to teach English as a foreign language, so there are jobs out there for prospective teachers of all qualification levels. However in many countries, a bachelor’s degree is required to be able to work legally; though the bachelor’s degree possessed does not necessarily have to be in education, or even in English literature or a related area. There are even some teaching

positions available that do not require a degree as long as you are a native speaker of English. Conversely, many schools recommend the specialized TESL/TEFL certification, and select schools and countries require one. TESL, teaching English as a second language, or TEFL, teaching English as a foreign language, are studies

“...earn money for doing what you do every single dayspeaking English.” - available in certificates or diplomas - in the pedagogy of (or process of teaching) English to students in Canada or abroad. TESL refers to teaching students in the respective language environment (such as newcomers to Canada learning English) while TEFL focuses on teaching English in a nonEnglish environment such as a foreign country. A TEFL/TESL certificate is certainly something to consider if you are serious about pursuing teaching abroad as a career and you want to be a better teacher. Do you need to speak the local language? The simple answer to this is no. Speaking the local language certainly will give you an advantage in the

selection process but it is usually not necessary. Also, many programs will give you access to language classes in the local language while you are employed there. Who will I teach? Many prospective teachers envision working in a classroom with young students of high school age, but in fact, there are also numerous positions available teaching housewives, college students or corporate executives. Schools of language instruction offer classes to students of all ages and backgrounds. So, if you are open-minded, the number of positions available are both diverse and quite numerous. Do I have to go for a year? Most teaching positions are ten to twelve

months long, shorter lengths of time are possible, especially if you are interested in volunteer teaching, however, this is dependent on the program you select. Volunteer teaching positions offer more flexible dates ranging from two weeks to a few months. How much money will I make? The amount of money you earn will vary drastically by your chosen location, your qualifications, and your employer. It is very important not only to look at the wages you are making, but also consider where you are living and the cost of living there. For example, Korea has much higher wages than, say, India but the cost of living is also much higher. Also, students must consider additional costs such as a round-trip flight, transportation, and medical insurance.

So, after you have decided you want to look more into teaching abroad... what next? A job search? Unfortunately, this is the most difficult part of the process and the one which has the lowest level of guidance a v a ila b le . We all know there are many jobs out there and that some

are much better than others. So, unless, you have family or a connection in the country you wish to teach in, the safest bet is a government sponsored program such as the TALK program, or the JET program. Programs like TALK, Teach And Learn in Korea, or JET, the Japan Exchange and Teaching program, have agreements between the Canadian government and the governments of Korea and Japan respectively. The regulations on these programs ensure that you are making fair wages and your work conditions are favorable. These programs also provide free roundtrip airfare to your host country. Another program worth considering is Greenheart Travel, a volunteer organization which offers teaching opportunities, many with roundtrip airfare included, to such unique destinations as Tibet, Thailand, and the Republic of Georgia. One last route is to go through a placement organization such as If this is your chosen route, be sure to stick to a well-known and registered organization to avoid being ripped off, always do your research into the company you are applying to, and remember- you should never have to pay to teach; you are the employee.

March 2011

Global Pulse



CULTURAL FUSION CREATES A NEW SOUND OF AUSTRALIAN MUSIC. By Lisa Marie Nagapen It’s a sunny day in Sydney, Australia and the streets of Leichardt are bustling with a steady stream of restaurant goers and shoppers. Leichardt is famous for its reputation as the Italian district and reflects the multicultural influences that have shaped contemporary Australia. The architecture of the Italian Forum Cultural Centre is modeled after the Italian piazza and is a prime example of cultural fusion, but further inside this replica are the rumblings of centuries old Japanese music fused with a modern Australian sound. One of Japan’s most distinct sounds-the taiko drum, has been reinvented by Australia’s premier taiko Japanese drumming ensemble TaikOz. The group is preparing to perform with Synergy Percussion, one of Australia’s leading contemporary music ensembles, in a show aptly titled pulse:heart:beat. It showcases a crosscultural percussion fusion that reinvents the beat and even how you hear it. Artistic directors of the Sydney based ensembles, Ian Cleworth and Timothy Constable agree that the

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Global Pulse

toughest part of a show of this sort is the balance of ideas. The performers themselves reflect the multicultural identity of Oz, as a range of musicians from various professional and ethnic backgrounds showcase their talents and add to a collective sound. “We want to expand on the narrative of what Australia is,” says Cleworth,

who employs culturally recognized sounds, like tablas, symbols, gongs and marimba’s, to add musical texture. The highly physical show uses powerful movement to extract maximum impact from listeners, who are engaged by the visually compelling works and brilliant sounds. Timothy says that it is a challenge and goal to put percussion in different situations, and states that movement is important in knowing and playing an instrument. The rehearsal space is bright with natural light spilling in from a skylight, with a mess chords and uncommon instruments strewn on the floor that had an avid music lover like my-

self scratching my head. It seems like chaos but once the process starts, coherence builds and a tightly fit puzzle emerges with every sound as an intricate piece of a dynamic whole. While watching the excitement of musicians moving, tapping and slamming their way effortlessly through each piece, it seems like an easy integration, but Constable insists that the adage of 2% inspiration, 98% perspiration is true for their work. Divorced from the shoddy quality of my camera, it is near impossible to get a clear shot while they perform on massive taiko drums and lengthy xylophones at the speed with which they move. Speed, agility, and precision are undeniable and something you simply cannot take your eyes off of. Though the group employs traditional techniques, they also try to reinvent, TaikOz member Anton Lock concedes, “At first all you can do is mimic, but then you learn and make it your own.” He describes making music as a similar process to any artform, “It’s like taking a photo and trying to capture an image. With music we’re just trying to capture a moment from different perspectives.”

“It feels positive to challenge people’s assumptions.” When talking about the range of cultural identities in the group’s works he says, “If you can mix and match everythingwhy not do it? There’s so many cultures here, imagine the endless possibilities of creating that allows for.” Known for colossal, thunderous taiko drums, performances also include singing, dancing, and flute playing. “We try to show-

-case the different aspects of what we do, we don’t try to just beat drums.” Cleworth is excited about the onset of percussion enthusiasts interested in Taiko and Lock agrees that he is an innovator. “There’s people earning a living from playing Japanese drums in Australia, that’s pretty remarkable.” Constable is nervous for months worth of work to finally come to fruition, but is eager to showcase the new pieces that blend numerous styles and sounds. On performance night there are a melange of influences heard, echoes from the orient, sounds of Southeast Asia and inflections of jazz. The range of emotive power is equally varied: playful, quirky, dark, furious, vulnerable, strong- a journey not only through sounds but the cultures they represent. Unlike other concerts that

require nothing but an attentive ear, pulse:heart:beat encourages audience participation and a feeling of inclusiveness between the performers and audience, a sentiment musician Tom-Royce Hampton says reflects the festival origins of taiko drumming. “Taiko can be seen as abrasive, but it’s positive to challenge people’s assumptions.” Royce-Hampton enjoys changing the perception of the drum which can be viewed as a loud, booming instrument. “Most people think it’s just about force, but you use your whole body to make a certain sound, it’s all about the movement. You put the entire weight of your body into the skin of the drum,” Both energetic and thought provoking, the TaikOz and Synergy show pulse: heart: beat invited spectators into the festival inspired energy of the pieces

Confessions of a Teacher Abroad

A former ISC Ambassador and UTSC grad, Alicia White graduated with a business degree and never anticipated that a one-year program in Japan would change everything. After a 6 month exchange in her undergrad did not seem like quite enough time, Alicia found out about the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) a longstanding government initiative that brings English speaking graduates to Japan to assist in English education. Prior to applying, Alicia read comments on forums from current teachers and checked reviews and blogs to get a better idea of what to expect. This led her to a teaching stint in the laidback region of Okinawa, Japan. Studying Japanese at a local school in downtown Toronto, as well as participating in the Student Exchange Program during her undergrad, helped prepare Alicia and she cites extracurricular activities as a major asset to help mentor her and supply references for the JET program. Volunteering at the ISC also helped her to develop contacts

and each musician showcased an aspect of themselves to defy conventional performance. If your only point of reference with percussion is high school marching band-think again. Pulse: heart: beat is unlike anything you’ve heard before-or seen for that matter. *All photos courtesy of Karen Steains

who could offer their insights and she was able to interact with people from different cultures which helped put living abroad into perspective. “The people that you know at UTSC have a wealth of information and can help you with the application process.” The application process was similar to the SEP Program however Alicia says the interview was the most nerveracking part. “They ask you cultural questions to see how you’ll respond and adapt.” Finding work across the world isn’t for the faint of heart and Alicia concedes that homesickness never really ends and can strike at anytime. However, the program allowed her to meet other teachers going to Japan on a 3 day orientation to help establish a network, a key to fight the urge to flee home. After completing a year of the JET program, Alicia has signed on to do an additional year and an added surprise in the program has changed her ambitions once she returns to Toronto, “I want to go into teaching after this experience and I never would have known if I hadn’t participated.” After doing the JET program Alicia’s priorities and career goals shifted, an expected result when you mix travel and work. “The best part is my students. I teach at 3 schools and know 200 kids and I love them all, the kids are really sweet and it changes your life working with them on a day to day basis and helping them understand something they didn’t know before.” With an open mind and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, and far away from home, teaching abroad could be your calling to valuable time spent abroad and perhaps the answer to any career questions you haven’t quite figured out yet. March 2011

Global Pulse




A Surprise Vacation an Unexpected Destination

magine being taken to a country, that you’ve have never imagined you’d see. This happened during my year-long exchange at King’s College in London. I was given the ultimate surprise: a trip to Morocco, including a three-day trek into the Western Sahara desert.


I had traveled to Singapore and gone to Italy, Amsterdam, France, and the United Kingdom, but never thought I would be able to spend my birthday riding a camel through the desert, dressed in flowing cloths that only left my eyes exposed. While I believed my housemates were simply taking me out for a birthday dinner, they had actually packed my bags and booked a flight down to Marrakesh to take me “somewhere I would never go by myself.” We spent the next five days exploring Marrakesh and, of course, trekking through the Sahara desert in temperatures above 45°C. While on course, we slept in pre-built tents, ate traditional meals of rice and couscous and learned about the desert and the local culture. My greatest memories are the nights in the desert that

were so bright with stars, it almost seemed like daylight and of course, the kindness and courtesy of our driver, who invited us back to his residence for peppermint tea and snacks. Though it was never my plan to visit Morocco, to trek across the desert, or to adjust to the unique gait of a camel, I had an amazing time and would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.

Photo by Serena R

Under the Neopolitan Sun cTANYA DAHONICK


hen people visit Italy, the top cities on their checklists usually include, Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence. However, a southwestern city in the region of Campania is often overlooked-Naples. A bad reputation throughout the years has labeled Naples a hectic, dirty and crime-ridden city. After mentioning my interest in the city, I had heard all kinds of comments about crime, the mafia, and pickpocketing warnings, but my friends and I decided it was worth it to

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see for ourselves. My first impression of Naples was, yes it is dirty! Litter clogs the gutters and there seems to be graffiti on any empty wall space, but this gritty aesthetic seemed more authentic compared to all of the glamour of Milan and Rome.

The colourful, tiny houses with red rooftops all over the city were arranged like a maze with the volcano Mount Vesuvius towering over the city. There are numerous alleyways overshadowed by all the hanging clotheslines from the houses and cars and Vespa’s zoom around corners and swerve past crowds of pedestrians, sometimes a bit too closely. The city is not buffed to a high sheen for tourists like other Italian cities; and has a cheeky “I am who I am, love me or hate me” attitude about it. One thing that I instantly fell in love with was the locals. I was enchanted by the way they never

use indoor voices and howthey gestured emphatically with their hands while speaking as if it were a form of aerobic exercise. Everyone we met was loud, friendly and willing to help out lost tourists like ourselves. Naples is full of history; it’s like a museum piece in itself that is very much alive and still thriving. There are many ancient sites and buildings to explore without the pricey admission fees, such as, The Castell dell Ovo and Castell Inuovo, two beautiful castles on the bay of Naples. You can also explore numerous catacombs and underground excavations from the Roman period. There are layers of history in Naples, and a visit there is bound to make anyone feel like an archaeologist. Of course, a trip to Naples would not be complete without tasting the pizza! Sold on every corner of the city, Neopolitans have perfected the art of pizza making and I have yet to come across a slice that rivals their Margherita pizzas! Chaotic and historic, beautiful and lively, polluted and gritty all describe Naples. After spending a few days there, I can say that I am an unabashed devotee of this grimy, loud metropolis. So forego all the warnings and find some time to pay a visit to Naples on your next trip to Italy.

exploring climate change in Denmark cJAY YOKUM


he Copenhagen energy conference, Energy Crossroads 2009, was an international conference with students from across the world brought together to address the very real threat of global climate change. From over fifty countries, students from all disciplines and academic levels met to discuss, what we, the next generation, can bring to the table in order to combat global warming. At the time of this student conference, the United Nations meeting on climate change was taking place in the same city; this meant that the same speakers who addressed the leaders of the free world would also be speaking to us. On the first day, we were treated to lectures by the world’s top climate scientists, including the literal grandfather of climate change research, James Hansen. After hearing from the star-studded casts of climate researchers, we got into groups to discuss what action the world’s youth needed to take. Each group consisted of one person from each continent, each in a different field of study. I, a political scientist from Canada was grouped

Photo by Serena R

with an economist from Ireland, a natural scientist from Japan, and a PhD student from Brazil researching the by Serena R next generation of bio-fuels. The theme was Photo realistic and economically viable solutions: how to find a solution to climate change - not ignoring the situation or shattering our economies in the process. Smart grids, bio-fuels, solar efficiency and wind power were all discussed from different viewpoints. What might work from a German natural scientist’s perspective might not be viable from an Australian economist’s view and through these collaborations we gained a true understanding of how global this issue was. The conference demonstrated that these problems are manageable and global climate change can be averted if the world agrees to change their habits. We are far from too late, and with the continued educational effort, it seems as if there is hope for the future. March 2011

Global Pulse


Nyong Ping hike

starting point for a brief headcount and realized this was going to be an unforgettable adventure, forever imprinted in our lives. So we started hiking along the narrow path, stopping at every unique statue or Buddha to take pictures and as many extra breaths as possible.



here is no greater thrill than gathering with 40 exchange students, among thousands, who are all thirsty for the adventure that very few people value in the beautiful city of Hong Kong. Unlike traditional visitors who celebrate the midAugust Fesival with a simple dinner, my friends and I decided to do something different to remember the holiday. Among the many activities that can be explored on this unfamiliar land, the beauty of the surrounding mountains immediately caught our attention. This brought us to the gathering at Tung Chung Station to embark on a midnight hike up one of Hong Kong’s biggest mountains on Lantau Island, ‘Nyong Ping’ mountain. It took us a half an hour to walk from the station to the start of the hiking path, the perfect opportunity to exchange names and greetings from every corner of the world. We arrived at the

In the summer of 2010 I volunteered on the small island of Emae in Vanuatu with Youth Challenge International. I choose this destination simply because I knew nothing about it and wanted to explore a new culture and way of life. My group’s job was to build a school, and mixing cement and constructing a building brick by brick was no easy task. There were so many memorable experiences during the trip. With limited resources and no electricity, my group managed to enjoy ourselves during our 6-week stay on the island. From eating flying fox(bat), days at the beach, to random street dancing with the locals, I made memories I will never forget. Enjoying the amazing white sand beaches and scenic views with your co-volunteers is a great reward after a very tiring day of work. It felt good to see the smiles on the faces of the children and know we did something good to help them. Living without

14 March 2011

Global Pulse

Several hours later we have arrived at the midpoint where we talked about the steepness of the hills, snapped some pictures, drank some water.The rest of the long journey was even more difficult than we had anticipated. The towering dirt roads and stairs were replaced with large cumbersome rocks to climb for the last hour of our journey. Having something “so close, yet so far”, has never been used in any circumstance truer than this. When we finally took those last steps to the top, it was cold, dark and windy. Not exactly the picture perfect moment that we all had imagined, but the best was yet to come. The sunrise.

Volunteering in c AVERHAM BAYON Vanuatu the basic neccessities was a challenge, and I have learned to appreciate what I have. Even though we did not have enough resources, I felt happy because life is more simple and I just did not want that to end.



ong Kong Special Administrative Region is one of the mostly densely populated areas in the world and is surrounded by a deep harbor and beautiful natural landcMABEL CHAN scapes. It has become one of the top tourist destinations for many people throughout the past few decades. Lantau Island is the largest island in Hong Kong and provides many tourist activities available for all ages, such as, a cable car line that goes up the mountain to the Ngong Ping plateau providing a wonderful view of the landscapes of Hong Kong. The plateau has recently been renovated with many tiny shops that connect to several monasteries and the Great Buddha, which is one of the largest outdoor Buddha statues around the world. Those interested in ecotourism can hike on easily accessible trails, however the tram is a great way to experience the old fashion form of transportation. Tsim Sha Tsui is every shopper’s ideal location for a variety of shops suited to everyone’s budget and a diverse selection of foods after a day on Experience the view from Tsim Sha your feet. There are also many Tsui Harbour, the Walk of Fame and museums and unique architectural the sound and light show ‘A Sympho ny buildings that are spread out in the Lights’ Po and oast of Tai c e area for those who are interested th f o ff seafood, a ride o TIP: Catch a meal dedicated to illages. in learning about the culture. ave al v There is no doubt that Mong Kok is the busiest area throughout Hong Kong at be sure h able in many coast il a v widely a almost any time of day. There, you can find different streets that are aimed at certain themes, so there is Ladies Market that sells many different souvenirs as well as Goldfish street, which sells a wide range of fish.

Photo byMabel C Photo byMabel C

tfood e of stree g g n a r e a wid a darin TIP: Try you’re in if k o K g in Mon mood.

urist t is a desginated to TIP: Ladies marke r souvenirs area and a must fo

March 2011

Global Pulse


Photo by

[Melbourne, Australia] cLISA MARIE NAGAPEN

When people think of Australia, images of the outback with its iconic red dirt and blokey appeal come to mind; otherwise the soaring height of the Sydney Opera House emerges as an emblem to represent a physically and culturally diverse continent. Caught between the two overpowering and strong images of Oz is the often overlooked Melbourne, known as the fashion capital and celebrated for its cultural richness. Though it lacks the allure of the outback or the cache of a lovely harbor, Melbourne offers the best aspects of a city while maintaining a relaxed vibe and embracing European cafe culture. Melbourne is known for its laneways that house hidden cafes, bars, boutiques and restaurants, and a stroll down one of the many graffiti coated laneways will reveal that this city prides itself on its artistic reputation, also evidenced in the many museums offering a variety of art suited for any visitor. A must on any itinerary for Melbourne is a trip to the Queen Victoria Market, the largest open air market in the Southern hemisphere. The market has everything from fresh produce and gourmet prepared food, to clothing and the best deal on souvenirs. Federation Square is the central part of the city a hub for tourists for photo ops and festivals and events and is situated next to the scenic Yarra River.

ueen Vic om the Q fr s ie d goro o some g ’s mostly TIP: Grab enjoy Melbourne l oya Bond ic at the R n ic p Market a a h ather wit geous we en ompanies tanic Gard om tour c Square fr ls a e d t n ck ou Federatio TIP: Che kiosk in t is r u to at the authenourne is lb e M to elbourne visit TIP: No to the M Footy ip tr a ut a live tic witho to watch d n u culture ro G t e sporting Cricke th in k a so match and

For those looking for a relaxing way to enjoy the beautiful countryside outside of the hectic city centre, a winery tour of the Yarra Valley is a great way to explore the sprawling, scenic landscape and enjoy some of the fantastic wines produced in one of Oz’s leading wine producing regions. However, an absolute essential for any trip to Victoria is a drive down the Great Ocean Road, a windy stretch of road folded into the picturesque coastline that stretches from the cities of Torquay to Warrnambool. Originally built as a war memorial, the road is littered with natural beauty including famous landmarks like the Twelve Apostles, limestone stacks that emerge from the ocean like slender streaked mountains.

16 March 2011

Global Pulse

[London, England] cSERENA ROBINSON Picture London and the first thing that pops into your head is probably one of three things: Big Ben, the London Eye, or Westminster Abbey, and of course, one can hardly blame you. They are iconic and certainly something you shouldn't miss in London but here are some tips for the things that are a must on your London to do list. Firstly, observe rather than ride the London Eye, skip the pricey fee, then climb one of the many tall public buildings surrounding and snaps your pictures to include the Eye. THEATRE: Broadway who? Each night in London, there is seldom less than 50 separate live theatre performances. While theatre can be expensive, look into attending a performance at smaller theatres, with cheaper base prices. Also, check for student discounts and last minute tickets... sometimes being ten minutes late for the play will get you leftover those last two front-row seats for a real steal. DOUBLE DECKER BUS/TUBE: Only in London can transportation be a tourist attraction of its own. Those famous double-decker red buses are actually quite affordable and a pleasant means to see the city. Want something more direct: take the tub (London's subway) and be sure to stop at King's Cross Station and have a picture snap of you gripping that infamous cart at platform 9 and 3/4.

Photo by Serena

BARS/PUBS: The London bar and pub scene is both relaxing and invigorating. Perhaps less rowdy than most European scenes, the Brits nevertheless maintain their friendly reputation and will likely invite you to join them for a drink. Also, be sure to partake in some non-exquisite but essential English fish and chips.


LONDON BRIDGE: That famous landmark that no one understand why became famous, stop at London bridge, if only for a moment, to snap a picture of the exceedingly more attractive Tower Bridge on your side. SHOPPING: If there is one more thing London doesn't have in short supply, it is shops. From the designer duds, to the I can't believe they sell those, to they have a whole store for what?! Head down to one of the many shopping district and drop some serious cash. Be sure to check out Harrod's, the world's most famous luxury department store.

Photo by Serena


on bridge.

A view of the Lond

Photo by Dee L

BUCKINGHAM PALACE - CHAING OF THE GUARDS: at precisely 11:30 each day during peak season, and every other day in the off season, a ceremonial change of guards takes place in front of Buckingham Palace, complete with a band and some flawlessly executed drill.


by De

e Luo

March 2011

Global Pulse



1. Niagara Falls - A trip to the falls can cost as little as $17 one way and you can enjoy the natural splendour without breaking your budget. For a little more luxury, catch a bus to Niagaraon-the-Lake for a wine-tasting tour. 2. New York – Book in advance online and grab a MegaBus ticket to the ‘Big Apple’ for some shopping, a Broadway show or some prime photo ops in Times Square. 3. Montreal - Full of diversity, multicultural cuisine, a note-worthy arts district and a worldly vibe, Montreal is the perfect eclectic getaway for the wary university student looking for a change. As a common saying goes: ‘it’s like Paris on the cheap, minus the jetlag.’ 4. Florida - Jam-packed with popular locations like Miami, Panama City, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona, and Orlando, few can doubt the appeal of this allAmerican getaway.

18 March 2011

Global Pulse

5. Las Vegas - Las Vegas is a resort city famous for a package that includes gambling, shopping, dinner and a show. By all means, go and live the high life, just don’t expect to walk away with some extra pocket change. Then again, someone has to get lucky. 6. Mexico - Recent upheaval in Mexico has had many tourists opting for trips elsewhere, resulting in unseasonably low prices and frequent clearance rates. My advice? Observe safety precautions and don’t rule out beautiful sites like Cancun or Playa del Carmen, a luxurious tourist area. 7. Cuba - Cuba offers gorgeous white beaches, cheap all-inclusive packages, and a fascinating history. Look for lowcost package deals to Varadero or Havana on discount travel sites. Just be sure to read the fine print so you know what exactly you are getting. 8. Europe - A not so budget vacation but a very popular one for university students, Europe is a backpacker’s dream. Few places can compete with the diversity found within Europe- from art, to language and food, Europe has something for everyone. Once you arrive, virtually everything is accessible with a train pass or cheaply by budget airplanes such as Ryanair.

9. Asia - Okay, so it’s not exactly cheap but let’s face it, Asia boasts amazing cultural experiences and expansive, beautiful landscapes and exploring its diversity is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So, watch for those sales and have an unforgettable voyage. 10. The Open Road - Nothing can be quite as exhilarating as being your own guide so grab a few friends - split the ever-rising cost of gas - and drive until you reach that special spot. Manitoba? the Maritimes? The States? Maybe just see where the road takes you...

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March 2011

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20 March 2011

Global Pulse


Global Pulse  

March 2011, Issue no 1

Global Pulse  

March 2011, Issue no 1