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What's everyone's thoughts on exchange programs? Personal experiences, costs, practicality in timely degree completion, full yr vs semester?
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Dating: Long Distance
PLEASE READ! Long distance relationships are not what they are portrayed to be. They are not as hard, emotionally draining, or as impossible as people assume. Right now, I am living 3 hours away from my boyfriend (who plays a varsity sport). We see each other once or twice a month. We are both happy, both with room to live our own lives but always being able to catch up at the end of the night. We still love each other, nobody has been unfaithful, and it is relatively easy. The time we spend together is always quality time, and I do not regret staying with him.If you love someone and think you they could be the person for you, go for it. The worst that could happen is that it doesn't work out and you part ways. It is entirely possible, do not give up just because of what you THINK might happen.

Pros of a long distance relationship...
1. The time you spend together is really exciting and precious
2. You have the freedom to be yourself and make friends on your own terms
3. You always have lots to talk about with your S/O because you're apart during the day
4. It tests whether the relationship is really worth it
5. Meeting their new friends means more friends for you!
6. Sex/physical intimacy is so much better when you've been waiting for it
7. It will show you how much your partner really values you
8. You don't need to pick between your friends and partner during the week
9. It helps keep you focused

I hope that this helped anyone that needed to hear it.
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Take a year off?
Hi, so I am conflicted, I don't know if I should take a year off or not.  I want to get accepted to a program then defer the offer for a year to work, travel, and Au Pair.  I want an opinion from those who have taken a year off after high school before going to university.  Was it beneficial? Would you recommend it?  I know I want to go into business so I don't need clarity of what I want to do.  I just don't know if it will put me behind or if I should do it.
can we help Syrian peoples?
Do I want to ask this simple question that can we help Syrian peoples? We need to help them volunteer them, they need us. Why we always ask should we help hem or not? The answer is very simple, Yes we help them.https://www.humancaresyria.org/how-can-i-help-syrian-refugees-overcome-the-damages-of-war/
Canadian Student applying to US for Undergrad
Currently, I am in sophomore year in high school in hopes of attending a post-secondary institution in the US. However, with the social and political environment in the US, I am questioning my decision on whether I should prepare for the US or not. I intend to major in Business/Economics and have a variety of extracurriculars I am involved in (that I actually enjoy)  Don't get me wrong, I will still aim for Canadian universities (Western, Queen's, UofT etc.), but the US seems like a more suitable opportunity for my personal goals of studying abroad. 

I understand US universities look at grades from 9-12, but I wouldn't say they were exceptional (average is in the high 80s-low 90s from grade 9 to now). At the same time, financial aid would be necessary for me to pay tuition. 

Some schools I'm interested in: Wharton (UPenn), Cornell, Columbia, Yale-NUS (Singapore), USC, UC Berkeley 

Is it worth going to the US in your opinion along with spending time doing standardized tests like SAT/ACT and self-studying AP courses? For my junior year, I don't plan on taking any "laboratory sciences" they recommend on Ivy Leagues and top universities. Should I just take one in case?  

If there's anyone that is attending college in the US or know anybody studying abroad, feel free to comment on this post! I would like to hear advice and personal experiences of the decision-making process and the difference of low-acceptance rate university. Thank you!

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Do Australian universities care about night school?!!!!
I was thinking about taking English in night school and was wondering whether this would hurt my chances of getting into an Australian University. Do universities there even care about night school???? HELP
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UK Universities (Business/Economics) LSE,Oxford,UCL,Warwick,Cambridge
Currently, I am in sophomore year in high school in hopes of attending university abroad because of my own personal preference along with wanting to become more independent and explore outside of my comfort zone. I am intending to major in Business/Economics, and the UK seems to attract me based on its geographic location. (LSE, UCL, Oxford, Warwick etc.)

Don't worry, Canadian universities will still be on the top of my list (Ivey, Queen's, Rotman, Schulich) 

Does anyone here know about the uni life in the UK or is currently experiencing undergrad at a UK university? If you are Canadian, what were your steps to being admitted (marks, extracurriculars etc.)? Any financial aid or scholarships for international/Canadian students in the UK?  Please share your experiences and/or your peers' thoughts as well! 
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Thoughts on Yale-NUS?
I am quite interested in Yale-NUS College based in Singapore since I want to study abroad for my undergraduate, majoring in Economics or Statistical Sciences. In addition, they seem to have great financial aid.  It's a different and unique experience than all the prestigious universities in the US and Canada, which means it is quite difficult to be admitted as well. 

Anyone know about Yale-NUS or know anybody from Yale-NUS? Any information about regarding admissions and experiences would be great! 

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Carleton vs Guelph???
Hi!!! I got accepted to both Carleton (Forensic Psychology) and Guelph (Criminal Justice and Public Policy) and need help deciding between the two! I wanna say that I'm most likely switching my major to International Development for either school I decide on.
So I visited both campuses and I loove them both! I really like all of Guelph residences besides South, and I love the layout of Carleton residence buildings. Both also have a community-vibe to me so that's another thing I really liked. And the campuses themselves are really nice. 
I really like the city of Ottawa, and I'm coming from Toronto. It kinda reminds me of Toronto because it has a similar-ish downtown, just smaller and less traffic overall. I haven't seen the city of Guelph yet (when i went to see the school i only saw the school & went right home after. I'm planning on going again soon tho!), but I've heard it's a big town/small city. I don't really care about the size of city just as long as it's not a small town.
Now for student life I haven't really heard anything about Carleton, but everyone I know who went to Guelph LOVED it! 
So I think I'm asking
1: which place would benefit me most in the future? Like travel opportunities (exchanges, co-ops, internships, etc.) as well as job oppurtunities (I don't want to work in the government so that's not a huge draw for me for Carleton)? I'm curious about real actual opportunities you got, not just the ones they list on the website.
2: what's the student life like at each school? Accepting/Friendly, Workaholics (like UofT), Hardcore partiers (like Western), etc.
Thank you for answering!! Sorry it's so long
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Canada Japan Co-op Program (CJCP) Student - AMA
Hey everyone! I'm currently living and working in Japan for an internship through the Canada-Japan Co-op Program. If you've wanted to do an international internship, travel to Japan, or know more about the program, feel free to ask me anything! A bit about me:

-3rd yr Mechanical Engineering at uOttawa
-I had no prior Japanese language experience
-I'm working for a high tech company called Dai Nippon Printing

Ask away :)
Advice on long distance relationship in university!
Is it possible to keep up a relationship when you and your significant other go to different universities and will be hours apart?   My boyfriend and I are in grade 12 and have been together for a while in highschool, however, we want to go to completely different unis (5 Hours apart) Is the relationship worth keeping? Or should we just end it before uni to allow us to have that fresh new experience and meet new people? Anyone have any advice/experience with dating someone who ended up going to a different university? Share you stories! I'd love to hear them.
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Minister's Student Advisory Council (MSAC) Applicants
If you apply for MSAC this year, a previous member, or a previous applicant, comment below and we can get to know each other! <3
Discussion/Question: Does anyone know how competitive it is?

Look forward to your replies! :*
Commute from Mississauga to McMaster or UofT
I am a grade 12 student considering McMaster or UofT St George or UTM. My first choice is McMaster, then UTM, and finally UofT st george. Travelling to McMaster would take 1 hr and 20 mins and UTM would take an hour. I really want to go to McMaster, but the commute time is making me hesitant. I am trying to avoid UofT, so is the commute to McMaster really that bad? Please, anyone that has commuted to mac can you offer any advice?
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CAA Travel - new contest is out!
Hey guys! We wanted to let you know that we've recently teamed up with CAA Travel and we've created a brand new contest you can enter for a chance at $3,000! It's called Your Next Adventure Contest and all you have to do is answer 4 quick travel destination questions.

Commuting to School?
Hey there fellow Yconic members,

For those in University or College and that happen to commute from home, how long does it take for you to commute to school? Also, how do you spend that time efficiently while commuting? 

Kind regards,
The Controversy of Voluntourism
For-profit trips to impoverished countries have become increasingly popular for students these past couple of years. Usually, companies advertise themselves with trips costing $7000-15,000 where you visit villages and build schools or participate other philanthropic activities.

The argument around 'Voluntourism' has been growing and I would like to your opinion. Have you gone on one of these trips? Would you be willing to go on one of these trips?

Consider these pros and cons and join the argument!

-Gain in-person insight on the struggles that these people are facing. 
-Offer students an alternative way to spend their spring break or summer break
-A new and refreshing volunteering experience outside of what student's normally do
-Offer an opprotunity to travel to places with many traditional travel agencies do not advertise going for students. 

-These volunteers are not forming true interpersonal relationships with children or villagers in the 7 to 10 days they spend on the trip
-By outsourcing work of building schools to students who have no construction experience whatsoever, they are actually hurting the economy by outsourcing work that would otherwise go to local contractors and subsequently, hurting their economy. 
-Students who are building houses and schools have no trade skills, meaning that their work is actually counter-productive as the quality is low.
-Many of these tourism agencies are treating these trips as an adventure where students stay in comfortable accommodations, go sightseeing in African safaris, and act as the suffering of these people are only a part of the trip, rather than the sole purpose of the trip.
-Have little to no understanding and training in local cultures prior to participating in these trips. 
-The money used to go on these trips would better be used to used in other humanitarian endeavors such as aid relief or supporting organizations that provide services that the local population cannot provide for themselves (e.g. Doctors without borders, teachers without borders, engineers without borders). 
-Many, if not all of these students come back home with pictures they have with village kids on their backs thinking that their trip genuinely helped the community.
-Many, if not all of these tourist agencies profit off the suffering of third world countries by treating them as a target of sightseeing. 

Do you have your own opinion on voluntourism? Got some of your own pros and cons? Comment and discuss below!

-Benson Law 
Yconic Student Ambassador.
Work Abroad for the Summer
As someone who's done an accounting internship in Germany and a work exchange in Estonia, I'm a huge advocate for working abroad. And the good news is that it's not as difficult to do as you might think. What kinds of jobs can you do abroad?

Office Job/Internship  
Some broad steps to securing an office job/internship abroad...  
1. Visit international domains of www.indeed.com (i.e. http://www.indeed.co.uk/, http://www.indeed.de/, http://www.indeed.es/).  
2. Type in "intern" and your desired field in the first box (e.g. "intern accounting", "intern banking", "intern engineering").  
3. If you have a geographical preference (e.g. Frankfurt or Bavaria), type it into the second box.  
4. Browse opportunities.  
5. Apply on each company's website. Google the resume/CV norms in the country that you're applying to. I also do Google Image searches.  

Outdoor Work  
If you more the outdoorsy type, you can find opportunities which suit your interests on websites such as:  

Work Exchange  
I had the opportunity to do a work exchange at a hostel in Tallinn, Estonia for 4 weeks. For a few hours of reception work per week, I was given a bed to sleep in. It was unreal to live in a country like Estonia for a month. To do something similar, check out websites such as:

Note: Terms of "work" differ by employer. In some places, 40 hours of reception and cleaning work gets you a bed and meals. In other places, 20 hours of reception work can get you discounted accommodation. Make sure you confirm details before you arrive.  

If you're more of a philanthropist, check out http://www.volunteersouthamerica.net/ to browse volunteer opportunities.  

Visas for Paid Employment  
If you're thinking of undertaking paid employment abroad and are between 18 and 35, check out the programs offered through International Experience Canada (an arm of the federal government). Visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/residents/iec/index.asp and select the country that interests you in the dropdown box to see available programs.  

Happy hunting! 

Are there any good websites that I missed? Have you worked abroad? How was your experience? Comment below!
3 Reasons Why You Should Never, Ever Study Abroad...

…and some rebuttals against them!

#1 – It’s Too Expensive

Your university may offer scholarship and grants – for example, Brock University has the $1500 “CPA - Brock Institute for International Issues in Accounting Award” for Co-op Accounting students.

There may even be automatic scholarships, just for being accepted into an international exchange. In fact, Kozminski University in Warsaw once offered Goodman School of Business students a scholarship of 750 euros per month as well as funds for their flight to Poland.

Furthermore, you can apply for an array of scholarships when you return. Export Development Canada (EDC) offers scholarships worth $4000 to students who demonstrate a passion for international business – studying abroad is something that augments your application.

#2 – I Only Speak English

Well, that’s a shame. Why not broaden your horizons (and beef up your resume) by learning more languages while away from Canada? A lot of universities around the world – even in places like China and Poland – also offer classes in English.

#3 – I Don’t Have The Time To Spend A Semester Abroad

There are short-term programs available as well. Look out for my post this Friday on the Ontario Universities International programs, which offer short-term opportunities for Ontario students to study abroad.

If you’ve studied abroad, how was your experience? Would you also recommend it to others? If you’re thinking about studying abroad, where do you want to study?

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador

PS – Shout out to the Goodman JDCC team, who bested 12 business schools across Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes to win the “Academic Cup” and “School of the Year” awards (among others) at the JDC Central competition this past weekend! They broke a 7-year win streak that Laurier had going!

Backpacking on a Student Budget (Read: No Money)
Backpacking is something that is on the bucket list of most students. While you technically can’t do it with “no” money, it is possible to do on a student budget. Having backpacked to over 40 countries as a student, here are some of my tips for maximizing your travel dollar:

#1 – Student Discounts  
Make sure you pack an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) before departing. Depending on your university, it is either free or $20 – either way, you’re eligible for some unreal discounts at major attractions like the Colosseum, Acropolis, and Louvre.  

#2 – Intern Abroad
In second year, I worked at Henkel in Düsseldorf, Germany for 6 months. Every weekend, I was off to a new place. By booking my travel weeks/months ahead, I was able to take advantage of cheap bus/train/plane tickets for travel throughout Europe; I don't think I paid more than 45 Euros round-trip per weekend, and I went to places like France, Poland and Scandinavia. Interning abroad is a win-win because you require little savings to actually do it – your salary is your travel money.  

#3 – Volunteer At A Youth Hostel   
Since youth hostels are cheap, most require on volunteers/cheap labour to function. Many have volunteer programs where people can do different things (reception work, cleaning, bartending) in exchange for a bed (and sometimes meals). Each hostel has its own unique volunteer rules.  

I volunteered at a hostel in Tallinn, Estonia for 4 weeks. For 7-14 hours of reception work per week, I had a bed to sleep in every night. Apart from making lifelong friends, I also backpacked to Sweden, Lithuania and Russia. Also, living in picturesque Tallinn for a month was incredible (Google it).  

Have any budget travel tips? Would you do any of the above? Comment below!  

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
[Study Abroad Scholarships] What is the Ontario Universities International Program?

The Ontario Universities International Program is a government-sponsored program which offers Ontario students at different institutions across the province a chance to pursue short- and long-term student exchanges abroad.

There are four programs:

ORA: Ontario/Rhône-Alpes (France) - http://ora.ouinternational.ca/

OBW: Ontario/Baden-Württemberg (Germany) - http://obw.ouinternational.ca/

OIN: Ontario/India - http://oin.ouinternational.ca/

OJS: Ontario/Jiangsu (China) - http://ojs.ouinternational.ca/

Each of these programs has sub-programs of lengths from 1 month to 8 months. For example, within the ORA program, you can choose from the following offerings:

-Student Exchange Program

-Summer Research Program

-Summer Language Program

-Summer Engineering, Physics and Language School

Each of these programs have scholarships of varying amounts. Different Ontario universities have different partnership agreements. For example, Brock University students can only participate in ORA.

I participated in the ORA Summer Language Program, wherein I had the opportunity to study French in Grenoble. We had half-day classes from Monday to Friday over 4 weeks. There were several levels available, from beginner to advanced. A placement test (verbal and written) is conducted at the start of the program. Grenoble is located in a valley, surrounded 360-degrees by the French Alps. During and after the program, I travelled all over France as well as to Switzerland and Italy. Upon returning home, I received a scholarship of $1,000.

You can check out my alumni report here for more information:


Interested in this program and have questions? If you had a choice, which of the above programs would you chose? Do you think there are advantages to studying a language abroad as opposed to Canada? Post below!

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador

Hamilton Loomis to Lead Harmonica Workshop at Galveston College
Blues extraordinaire and island native Hamilton Loomis is returning home this spring to conduct a two-day blues harmonica workshop at Galveston College, and he wants you in on the action.  

“It’s just for fun, there’s no red pens and you don’t get a grade,” Loomis said of the workshop on April 24-25 at the college, 4015 Ave. Q. “The great thing about the harmonica is that it’s user-friendly.''  

“Ultimately, what I want them to get out of it is not only just picking up a new instrument, but to have an understanding of its context in pop music and blues in general, and the history of the instrument,” he said.  

Indeed, Loomis’ love of The Blues has taken him on the ride of his life. At age 14, he was writing, arranging and performing his own music. He found himself in the sights of blues icons Bo Diddley, Johnny Copeland, Albert Collins and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, who took him under their wing.  

“Growing up in Galveston, I dreamed of playing The Balinese Room which was part of Galveston’s history,” he said.  

Operated by Sicilian immigrant barbers-turned-bootleggers Sam and Rosario Maceo, the Balinese Room was an elite spot in the 1940s and 1950s (Galveston's open era), featuring entertainment by Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Peggy Lee and The Marx Brothers.  

The venue, which extended over the Gulf of Mexico at 2107 Seawall Blvd., was destroyed by Hurricane Ike on Sept. 13, 2008. Indeed, The Balinese Room was a pop culture icon; ZZ Top even wrote and performed a song about the club called, “Balinese.”  

Loomis said that one of the highlights of his career was performing at the historic nightclub. In fact, he played there almost a dozen times before its demise.  

“Growing up in Galveston as a young musician you dream of playing there, and when it becomes a reality it’s so satisfying, and at the same time very humbling and gratifying,” Loomis said. “I feel totally honored to have been able to a part of that history and to share that history.”  

Loomis is doing his part to keep The Blues going strong, and the harmonica workshop at Galveston College is a big step in that direction. It’s a great chance for music lovers 12 and up to get some hands-on training from one of the best.
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Calling all yconic members!
We know it’s hard to think about but it’s almost that time of year again. Tell us your top 3 “Must Haves” for back to school and you could be featured in yconic's newest article.

Example:              1. My trusty Herschel backpack
                               2. Red TOMS shoes
                               3. My lucky pen
                              ~Jon, first year Queen’s student in Economics

Reply to this thread now for your chance to be featured!
Should I get a car for university?
Let’s face it – this question is on the mind of every 18-year-old in the country. What are some advantages and disadvantages for getting a car for university?  

Undoubtedly, having a car will be convenient – especially if you have moved out to go to university. You have the flexibility to not only go wherever you like whenever you want (shopping, the movies, your favourite coffeehouse on the other side of town), but you can also visit the folks any time you feel like.  

The big elephant in the room is how expensive a car will be – on top of tuition, books, and (potentially) student housing. In addition to gas, maintenance, and insurance, you also have to consider the cost of university parking (notoriously expensive). Some universities also have mandatory U-Passes.  

Sometimes, cars can be inconvenient – this is especially true if you go to school in a city centre. Thinking of driving to Ryerson? Have fun with getting to your 9am class in the Toronto morning rush and fighting for a $7/hour parking spot. Also, what happens if your car breaks down in mid-February (not just the dead of winter, but also the dead of midterm season) and you’re attending university 3 hours from your hometown? 

If you’re thinking about getting a car, some questions to ask yourself are:
-Am I paying for a U-Pass anyways?  
-Are the bus routes convenient? How long will the bus take?  
-Are there grocery stores close to my rental?  
-How (and how often) will I go back home?  

Did I miss anything? Are you going to/did you get a car? Why or why not?  

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
Loran Scholarship 2016-2017
Hey everyone, 

This a thread for all the applicant (school nomination or direct pool) regarding whos got their calls for interviews! 

Since interviews for GTA are coming soon, so should the phone calls for the various regions 

In the comments below, feel free to...

1. Tell everyone how you feel
2. What you hope to gain from this
3. If you've got your phone call yet
Should you travel solo?
If you ask anyone what the want to do before they die, there is a high likeliness that they will say "I want to travel." It's often hard to find a group to travel with, especially when you're young - people are often at different points in their lives. Some young adults are leaving for university, some are taking gap years, some are simply working, and everyone differs in their financial status, and stability. I would recommend travelling alone! If you Google "why should I travel alone" you'll get tons of reasons why you should travel alone, but here is why I believe you should:

Travel Freedom
If you travel alone, you are entirely in charge of your itinerary. Your best friend may not want to visit that ancient temple, but you do - if you travel alone, you can! The only person who can nix an idea is you. It's fantastic! 

Self-Confidence, and Growth
By travelling alone, you create a whole new dependance on yourself, and gain more independence. You'll have the ability to learn, and grow as a person by travelling on your own. You'll learn to make your own decisions, and learn from your poor decisions. 

Meet New People
While travelling alone you'll find that you are more open to meeting new people. Even small trips for me, I've noticed that when I go by myself, I'm more inept to talk to strangers and venture outside on my own than if I were to travel with friends, family or a significant other.

Have you done any travelling? Have you ventured on a solo trip? Tell us about your experiences!