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adventure (4)

A plan. My experiences over the last few weeks have highlighted the similarities between traveling and teaching. It all started with a desire to escape the constant business that naturally occurs in a city of 10.6 billion people. The noise, the traffic, the unsettled feeling of always being on the move. Despite being a beautiful place to live and study, Xi’an is only a tiny part of the Chinese landscape. Over the first four weeks, it became clear that I had to experience what rural China was like, or I would forever regret not taking the opportunity to. Thus, trip planning began, and my excitement grew. However, the only week we would be available to travel, also happened to be the Chinese National Week of Holiday. This meant many millions of Chinese citizens would also be moving across the country, causing many unexpected challenges to emerge. Regardless of all the hurdles, after many late-night planning sessions and time spent endlessly refreshing pages to check for updated train and bus availability, we formulated a plan. We were set to leave with only a few gaps in transport to address in each city.

The day came, we were up before the sun, eager to hit the road. The experience started smoother then we anticipated, we caught a cab without hassle despite the language barrier and time of day, we passed through security with only minimal lineups and the high-speed train was spacious and comfortable. Traveling at 250km an hour, 4 hours later, we arrived in Chengdu, and we were able to navigate our way to our connecting bus with ample time. This was when our plan started to change little by little. Our 4-hour bus ride ended up being 8 hours along a bumpy, and at times highly dangerous road, due to the traffic, but we arrived at the hostel with only a few sore stomachs. The next day we explored Kangding, a stunning mountain town that rivals the sites of Jasper and Banff in Canada. After lunch, we decided to try to hike up a hill to find a monastery, with no guidance, or points of reference in the fog and tree cover, we missed our mark by a longshot and ended up summiting the entire mountain. At the top, we found a beautiful Buddhist village. It was indeed one of those “steal your breath away” unexpected travel moments! The next day, we were off to visit a town even further into the Tibetan prefecture of Ganzi, there was only one problem, we did not have a ride, and all the buses were sold out. “Not to worry!” we were told by the locals, we could always hire a car to take us.  After 2 hours of waiting, attempting to find a driver, we met some very friendly Chinese university students heading in our direction. They helped arrange transport and we were off! Little did we know, that the one-hour drive would become a night spent in subzero temperatures stuck on a mountain sleeping in a car, as firefighters, police officers, and military personnel worked through the night to rescue us and many thousands of others from the mountain, due to an unseasonally tremendous amount of snowfall and freezing rain. We arrived safely back in Kangding the next day, thanks to their hard work, courage, and dedication. Our new friends engaged us in conversation late into the night. They kept our spirits high with traditional songs and our bodies warm by loaning us their sleeping bags (Thanks Jane, Richard, and Bella!).

All and all, in both teaching and travel, having a plan is important, but always remaining adaptable in dynamic situations and remembering to reach out for help when you need it, is critical to being successful in your endeavors!

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Primera semana en España

Hola amigos!

The first week in Barcelona has been nothing short of incredible. Although I have travelled to quite a number of countries throughout South East Asia as well as Central and South America before, this is my first trip to Europe. I am truly so grateful for this opportunity which allows me to concurrently travel, teach, and complete university courses online. 

 

The things that that have been most noticeable over the past week are the little differences between living in Canada (or North America) and Europe. Some things are beautiful, others are interesting, and of course some things can be a little annoying. I live only a 10 minute walk to the sea, and 10 minutes beyond that is a 4 km long beach to swim at. I absolutely love the heat and being able to swim everyday and/or night!

The architecture of many buildings (even regular shops and average apartments) are breathtaking. I am living on a quiet street in the Gothic Quarter, and it is truly beautiful. I love that all of the ceilings and doorways are huge! The bathroom and kitchen are quite tiny in my apartment, and I share these spaces with my two roommates. This has been quite an adjustment, as two people cannot be in the kitchen at the same time. The washing machine is also in the kitchen and there is no dryer so we hang our clothes to dry in the communal living room or in our small bedrooms. Sharing such a small space with two strangers has definitely required some accomodating. They are both really friendly and kind so it has been working well. My Airbnb host is a graphic designer and he has hung lots of interesting art around the flat which has made the small space feel big and comfortable.

The thing that I totally overlooked is bringing only one power-outlet converter. I have all of these electronic devices (computer, phone, DSLR, GoPro, etc.) but only one plug. I am going to go out on an adventure to find another one. Many people here speak some English, but not enough to understand my request for this specific device. Alternatively, describing a power-outlet converter is beyond my Spanish conversation capabilities at this point. Now that I have a google translator on my phone I am going to try again.

Hasta luego!

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#1: Adventure Time

Hello readers!

I have never blogged before, so here goes nothing. My name is Maya and I am a second-year student in the education after-degree program. I am extremely fortunate and thankful to have this Teaching Across Borders opportunity in Perth! I have been travelling around Australia for the past two weeks with my family. I have snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, spent a few days on Fraser Island, explored the outback (Uluru and Kata Tjuta), driven up the Gold Coast, enjoyed the beaches and rainforests, visited Brisbane, and now I am currently in Sydney. It has been an amazing and unforgettable experience so far and I am so excited for my adventures to continue in Perth!

When I first heard about the TAB program, I was instantly interested. My family loves to travel, so throughout my life I have been very lucky to have travelled to many countries. This has fostered my love for exploring new places and experiencing new cultures. I have also always been interested in the idea of living abroad however the thought of being so far away from home and my family has always curbed that idea. When I learned that the TAB program was only a 2-month exchange, I felt that was the perfect amount of time! I immediately knew I wanted to go to Perth when I heard that there was a possibility of seeing an Indigenous school. I know the Indigenous people here are a marginalized group, similar to our Indigenous groups in Canada. Throughout my courses from my first year of the after-degree, we have had many discussions regarding Indigenous students and creating authentic lessons that could include Indigenous practices. From this TAB experience I am really hoping to gain some insights, ideas, and strategies for working with Indigenous youth, and bringing that into my practice when I come home to Calgary.

I’m excited to see what adventures and experiences I'll have over the next two months! 

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Here is a picture of me and Yoshi the koala! 

 

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How ya going? Week 1

My first post unfortunately didn't stay up so here it is again...On a social level, Australia seems very similar to Canada. Across the globe, yet I don't feel so far and removed from home. This begins to make more sense when you put on your historical lenses to realize that we are sisters in colonization. The city life; the buildings, shops, and similar foods does not appeal greatly to my adventurous side so rather I have connected more with the environmental social side of Australia through my travels so far. Hiking spectacular views in The Blue Mountains, kayaking crystal blue waters in Noosa Heads, and diving open waters in Cairns have put me in touch with the recreation of Australia's culture. With recreation comes meeting people of all walks; another thing that Australia and Canada have in common. If I have felt that Australia has not presented itself with differing culture, the people I have met from other countries around the world have definitely endowed upon me differing views, ways of thinking, and small cultural blessings.Our program here in Perth doesn't take off until this coming Tuesday when we will be making our way to Kalgoorlie, a city in Western Australia characteristic of a high Indigenous population. Having experienced a small amount of Indigenous education through a volunteer program with the UofC where I volunteered in a Reservation school, I am very curious to begin comparing and contrasting Indigenous education here in Australia with that of Canada. While being in Kalgoorlie I am also hoping to learn about and experience other aspects of Indigenous culture.The remainder of our time will be spent experiencing educational settings in an all boys school, an inter city school with high Indigenous enrolment, as well as a state of the art Inclusive Ed. School. So while at this moment I do not feel that I have experienced much cultural diversity, I am undoubtedly about to experience plenty of educational diversity for which I maybe welcome more eagerly.

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