Hello Vancouver

Zara Vanwynsberghe / September 19, 2019

I’ve officially made it to Vancouver, Canada to study Journalism at BCIT.
(Zara Vanwynsberghe)

I’m nervous.

While I’m staring at the warm sunset from my cozy, little room on the fifth floor in Ghent, my thoughts are floating away. I feel safe. The idea of going alone to the other side of the world for four months seems so unreal. But after five long months of disbelief and excitement, I can officially say: ‘I made it to Vancouver!’

Hi there!

My name is Zara, I’m a 21-year-old journalism student at Artevelde University College and this term, I’m on an exchange in the Broadcast and Online Journalism program at BCIT, in Burnaby.

With this blog, I will take you with me on my adventure so that you can also experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, no matter where you’re reading this.

Let’s go!

The contrast between Vancouver and Ghent is huge. Vancouver is known for its incredible nature and its vibrant city life and because of that, my view of Ghent has changed completely. It seems so small and simple to me right now. (Which of course also has its charm.)

In Ghent everything is nearby. If you just walk around for a few minutes, you’ll find a grocery store, a cute little pub or a coffee bar. If you want to do some grocery shopping in Burnaby, you’ll have to take public transport, because the distances are much larger. Unless you’re training for a marathon of course.

Speaking of public transport; British Colombia is very well organised. To make sure that everything goes smoothly, people stand in line to get on the bus. This way, the people who have been waiting the longest also have the first chance to sit down. It’s a fair system.

Honestly, De Lijn – public transport in Belgium – can learn a lot about this! (In another blogpost I will elaborate on public transport in Canada.)

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting behind my desk in the basement apartment (which is normal here) where I live. It’s just a twenty-minute walk away from school. That means I don’t have to take the bus or skytrain in the morning, which is actually a luxury compared to a lot of other students. When I talk about school, you can almost think of it like a whole village. The campus in Burnaby is so much bigger than in Belgium, that I actually got lost on the first days of school. There are various restaurants, small food shops, a very big recreation centre and even a Starbucks! Sometimes I wonder if the baristas already know my name because I have been stopping there twice a day this last week. Doing this program, and especially the early radio shifts (I’ve been waking up at 4:30 a.m.!) have transformed me into a coffee junkie.

Curious how it feels to make live radio news on the BCIT radio station? I’ll tell you everything about it in my next blogpost!

See you soon!