Quest University Canada is home to students from more than 43 countries, including Germany, Kosovo, Brazil, Norway, Italy, Indonesia, Egypt, Tanzania, and the Czech Republic, among many others. This means that about 13% of our student population comes from outside of Canada and the USA. Such diversity on our campus allows for diverse discussions, different experiences, a well-rounded education, and even a place to stay in many parts of the world.
Due to this diversity, our students have different experiences during the blocks, block breaks, statutory holidays, and during summer and winter breaks. After talking to some of my friends about their winter break adventures, I realized that almost every one had done something different, including travelling, going on outdoor adventures, going back home, and even exploring the town of Squamish. As a result, in this blog I will highlight some of our students’ experiences in order to give the readers a taste of what some of our students did during the break.
Farrah – 2nd Year Student from Egypt
During winter break, Farrah went back home where she got to explore some Egyptian famous sites, buildings, and cities including the Cairo Tower, the Great Pyramid at Giza, and the city of Cairo. According to Farrah, the highlight of her break was having dinner with her whole family, which happened for the first time after more than three years.
Barbara – 3rd Year Student from Brazil
This winter break, Barbara could not go home due to high plane ticket prices, so she decided to go spend the winter break with some family friends in Portland, OR. Barbara said,” It was lovely to get to know the city! I went to some high school basketball games, got to know some local restaurants, and did some Christmas shopping. On Christmas, day we made a delicious meal and I was in charge of making a chocolate pie. Even though I was away from home, it was a wonderful evening. I also got to bring back to Quest a lovely Oregon mug, a much needed comforter that I got for Christmas and my favourite chocolate from back home.”
Herieth – 2nd Year Student from Tanzania
Herieth spent her winter break with her relatives in Atlanta, Georgia. Here is what she said about her experience there.
“On Dec 17, I flew from YVR Vancouver to ATL Georgia to pay my relatives a visit. My aunt welcomed me at the airport and I was overwhelmed with joy. The last time I saw her and my uncle was in 2006. My aunt and I drove home from the airport and I was warmly welcomed by my uncle and cousins, Daniel (6) and Arifa (3). I shared an evening meal with everyone and my aunt and I chatted until late that night. The next day, I went shopping with my aunt and this was one of my favorite activities that I got to do with my aunt. My first weekend in Atlanta, I had a chance to meet my aunt’s close friends and chatted with them about my schooling in here in Canada. I was lucky one of my aunt’s friends was an expert in the academic field that I am interested in.
Few days after my arrival in Atlanta, we began preparing for Christmas. We bought gifts and wrapped them, bought ingredients to prepare pilau, East Africans’ favorite dish and made plans to visit family friends. At my aunt’s place, I had a chance to truly bond with my cousins. I remember the great moments when I played board games with my cousin Daniel, plaited my cousin’s (Arifa) hair, visited FernBank museum and went to Callaway Garden to see the Christmas light show. Moreover, at my aunt’s place I enjoyed cooking home dishes like rice and green peas, boiled bananas and pilau. During my break, I went out for walks with my aunt and sometimes alone, ab activity that helped me to rejuvenate, relax and refresh my mind to a large extent.”
Lars – 1st Year Student from Czech Republic
Lars decided to go to Mexico for this winter break and this is what he said about his experience there.
“As an international student, the option of going home for Christmas wasn’t on my list. The Czech Republic is simply too far and too expensive to fly to. After having gone through all the calculations, a month in Mexico turned out to be cheaper than staying in BC. So I thought, why not? Also the vision of reading some of my books at the beach while lying in warm sun, helped me to decide. Since the world is small those days and it’s not too difficult to have friends in different places, I was hosted for the break by a family of my old friend from UWC. Thanks to their hospitality, I got to see Mexico from multiple perspectives. I was able to explore Mexico City, experience Christmas on a ranch, visit the beach coast with an amazing group of people and learn about the rich history of the country. It was just a spectacular time and great way to get ready for another few months of the intense life at Quest!”
While in this blog, I only highlighted four students’ experiences during winter break, it is quite clear that their experiences were diverse. Farrah went back home to Egypt, Barbara visited her aunt and uncle in Portland, Herieth visited her aunt in Georgia, and Lars travelled to Mexico. In addition, you may read about my winter adventures here, and also about my roommate, Ellie’s, adventures in South Africa here.
Featured Image: Photo taken by Lars Laichter in San Miguel De Allende Centro Historico.