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Bacolod

Bacolod, Philippines


Bacolod is one of the most interesting destination spots in Visayas. The city is the capital of Negros Occidental, and is best known for the Maskara Festival which is celebrated in the month of October. The Maskara Festival is the local version of the Mardi Gras, which showcases masked dancers, carnivals, food and drinks.

Going to Bacolod is very convenient as well. If you are going to take a boat, it will take approximately 18 hours from Manila. Bacolod is the place to be for seafood lovers. Fresh oysters are a great delicacy in this city. Of course, never leave Bacolod without tasting the city's number one dish, which is Chicken Inasal. Do not worry about getting lost in this big city because there are only two main roads with the others along those roads. Bacolod is also known for its old unpainted houses, fresh fruit stores, scenic mountain views, and very friendly people.

permalink written by  On Foot on April 30, 2009 from Bacolod, Philippines
from the travel blog: On Foot
tagged South, Philippines, NegrosOccidental and MaskaraFestival

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Patience is a Freaking Virtue...

Montreal, Canada


For those of you who have went through the process of applying for an exchange program, are probably familiar with the dreaded waiting game. I'd say it's worse than any other waiting period for an application I've had so far.

You see, waiting for an ordinary application is a pain to start with. I remember checking my application process for Concordia every two days (Mind you, I'm just impatient like that). Luckily, I sent it out at the end of February and I received my answer around the end of March, beginning of April.

Exchange programs run differently. With what feels to be four times the amount of paperwork. At Concordia (and probably most schools), you have to list three schools that you'd like to go to. Then you have to write down pre-course selections for these three schools. Then you must get them approved from your faculty adviser. Then the department adviser. Then you finally ship out all those things to the international office at your school. Then you wait about a month as they decide whether or not you're eligible. Once you're accepted, then there's a whole bunch of other various papers you need to fill in. Then you wait about 2-4 months for the host university to answer you back. It's all quite tedious.

Currently, I'm in the near the last stage. Basically, I'm still waiting for Inha to send me back my letter in order to get my student visa. However, I received an email from my intentional liaison officer saying that we should be getting out answers early next week. So! That's a relief. Hopefully, by the next time I write here, I'll have that paper to wave around. :)

Laters everyone!

permalink written by  Maestro on June 12, 2009 from Montreal, Canada
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged South, Waiting, Montreal, Study, Abroad, Korea and Exchange

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Tired, but Happy.

Inch'on, South Korea


Warning: This is gonna be long. Prepare for a lot of reading.

So, I'm finally here in Incheon! Woo!

I gotta say, 11 hours and 40 minutes in Economy? I was ready to die. I want to say 'never again', but I know I'll be doing that when I have to get back to Montreal. Ugh... my stomach still churns thinking about it.

But lets focus on the good things! Once I got to the airport, just... it was really amazing. Wow. So shiny. You can really tell it's a new airport. It's just really lovely to gawk at (which you'll see later). The only thing that made me nervous were the quarantine guys waiting for us as we entered the airport. Apparently, they're very quick to jump the Swine Flu case, and I had a bit of the sniffles- so I had to write that down. I was afraid they were gonna quarantine me right then and there. But now, all they did was ask why I didn't put down my cell phone number (I don't have one yet) and then I ASSUME they took my temperature. Hard to say. It was a little device that they pointed to my neck and then it beeped. Then I was handed some hand wipes and was on my way.

Customs and Declartion were easy enough. Lines were short. Once I got my luggage, I was greeted by two men sent by the university who were very nice. They towed my luggage, which was nice. I had to wait about an hour though before we could leave because there were a few students from China as well as one from Austria. Once that was done, were drove off in some vans (I think Korea has some Montreal drivers in them. They can be dangerous!) and headed to the dorms.

So, once I was there, I was met by my Korean Buddy, Dahae, who has been the nice and patient with me. Her duty was essentially to help me settle down, and explains things to people in Korean if they didn't understand me, and explain things in English when I don't understand them. She's been awesome. Today, she helped me buy a couple of things I didn't have (hairdryer and pillow) and then we went to watch a movie at the theater. They have a big one with both English and Korean movies! :) What did we watch? Orphen. I gotta say, that was one really weird movie. It kept me on the edge of my seat, but it was still really weird. I'm not gonna spoil anything for those who haven't watched it though.

Seoul isn't actually that far by bus or metro. It's as if I were going from John Abbott to Downtown, so that's nice. And it's for a cheap transportation too.

I've managed to meet a couple of International exchange students- Francois Paradis from Concordia, six Chinese students, two guys from Austria and one from Sweden. Also, my last roomate just came in, who is also from Concordia. She seems pretty cool.

So, my roomies for this semester are two Korean students, and the girl from Concordia. Hopefully we'll all get along! I'm pretty used to the dorm experience though, so it's all good.

As for now, I'm just trying to force myself to stay awake. I'm so sleepy, but that's jetlag for you. Tomorrow, I think I'm gonna try to head to Seoul. Maybe. If not, I'll just do more exploring-. So far, everyone has been really nice to me. And despite what people have said, I haven't gotten that much staring. Other than a few kids, even then, it wasn't a biggie. All they said was Hello and I said Hello back.

Alright, well, I'd say that's about it for now. If I write anymore, it'll turn into a novel. Bye!

Also check for more pictures. If you want more, Facebook has 'em.

permalink written by  Maestro on August 29, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, South, Incheon, Korea and Inha

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First Day of Classes

Inch'on, South Korea


So, today was my first day of classes, which despite all the insanity, went quite well. This morning, all the students had to go and get our temperatures checked to make sure we didn't have swine flu. It actually took awhile to find. There was me and Jackie, and then we bumped into two Austrian students and one Sweden student. Eventually we found it, got checked out and then were told to keep on coming until Friday. It's a bizarre system, but whatever. I'm not gonna argue about it. I have to take a Psychological test next Monday, so getting my temperature checked it probably the least of the two. Go figure. Apparently there was one interntational student who was a bit crazy, so that's why they do that test from now on. The one flaw I saw in that is what if the Korean student is the one that goes crazy? Who knows...

Anyway, if some of you didn't know, I had a bunch of problems registering my courses here, but I went to talk to the International Liason this morning, so that worked well. I was originally supposed to take five courses, but seems I can only take four since, despite the fact that I'm completely capable in English, there's a class for teaching and they are theories that I am only starting to cover in my other class. Soo.... I'm going to tell the teacher that I am unable to attend it. Too bad though, because she seems pretty amazing.

So today my classes were Theories in TEFL, the hard class, and Special Topics in History. Now the History was rather humourous because a bunch of us were waiting for the teacher for awhile, only to find out that our Teacher wasn't coming because he was in Japan for whatever reason. Kinda makes me think of a few teachers in Cegep! Hee-hee-hee. Either way, we start those classes next week.

Tomorrow, I have another Education class and then I take my Korean Profenciency Test to see just how badly I suck in Korean. Which I assume, is pretty bad. That's alright though, because I'm here to learn! >:3

Thursday and Wensday are continuations of my TEFL class and Korean class, so that's pretty simple. And I also applied to tutoring in Korean conversation. Yep. Only thing I'm missing now is just joining the Tae Kwon Do club and I'm set.

I'm thinking that either this weekened or next weekend I'm gonna go and head down to Seoul. I want to see the Palaces~ And also just see how crazy packed the city is.

Besides, I still need to use my lovely little bus pass~ Gotta abuse it!

permalink written by  Maestro on August 31, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, South, Incheon, Korea and Inha

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New Michael Buble CD!?

Inch'on, South Korea


Yes, I'm in Korea and I'm talking about Michael Buble. Can I help it if I'm a fangirl? So yes, Oct. is the month that his new CD comes out. They already have the single which I'm quite addicted to. It's upbeat and lovey-dovey, but in a different way. Mom said she'd get it for me when it comes out. I certainly hope so! If not, I have some searching around in Korea to do.

Alright, so a lot has happened in my first full week at Inha University. I've now had all my classes, which are actually quite interesting. My first is Theories in TEFL, then I have Southeast Asian History (It's actually named Special Topics In History, but this is what happens to be the special topic), Theories of Instruction and of course, Basic Korean. So far, it's the opposite of what I do back at Concordia, which means... a lot of reading! :/ I'm not crazy about reading homework. I'd prefer writing or assignments, but I'll make due since the stuff is actually all pretty interesting.

I'm also quite happy to say that even though I'm in Basic Korean, I'm not at the bottom! :) Since I know my Hangul, I am at a slightly higher base. Not by much, but it's a start I'd say. Our teacher is really nice and really funny actually. I think I'm gonna enjoy her for the semester.

Compared to the rest of the exchange students, I actually have a bit more homework this week because I have a group presentation tomorrow that is supposed to last an hour. AN HOUR! That'll certainly be something. My teammates are super nice and cool though, so I'm happy about that. Hopefully all will go well tomorrow.

Friday was certainly something. There was a party for all the international students in which we had games, met new people and registered for Korean tutors. I was also interviewed by the english newspaper on campus, so I'll be in the paper in the next few weeks! Exciting stuff, eh?

After the party, a bunch of people went out and we had a couple of drinks and then Noraebang. For those who don't know what Noraebang is, it's basically Karaoke. And yes. I sang. Horribly, but I did sing.

The one thing I do have to get used to in Korea is that the smoking laws aren't as strict as in Quebec, so a lot of bars you're still allowed to smoke, and there are no smoking/non-smoking areas. But hey, for now, I'll put up with it.

Saturday was also very exciting. It was the first time I went to Seoul. I went with Jackie, Francois (two Concordia students) and two of Francois' Korean friends and visited Deoksugung, which is one of the smaller palaces, as well as an area known as Sinchon. It's a popular place for young people (especially girls) to go shopping and hang out. Jackie was feeling ill though, so we didn't stay for long. There's still a lot of places to visit in Seoul, so I'll have to go again and again for awhile. I think the next place I'd like to check out would be Seoul Tower (which is essentially the CN tower).

Sunday was half busy, half study. Me and my three other roomates went out to try a paticular chicken meal who's name I can't remember. It was good though. You have a tiny chicken, stuffed with rice, ginseng, dates and a few other things, boiled in a sort of soup. Obviously not for the vegetarians out there (sorry Zeph!), but it certainly was tasty.

After that we did a bit of shopping in the Juan train station, and then finally *sigh* we all went back home to do our homework. Yes, reality did set in for all of us. It was a bit of a pain in the butt, but the big stuff is done now.

Tonight I have a final meeting with my group for the presentation. We're gonna have a dry run of our presentation and then tomorrow is the real thing. Wish me luck!

Check the Album and Facebook for new photos.

permalink written by  Maestro on September 7, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, South, Seoul, Incheon, Korea and Inha

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Still Keeping Busy!

Yongin, South Korea


Been meaning to put this up for awhile, just been a bit lazy about it. Sorry folks!

So, last week was very busy. There was a song festival on campus for two days, a concert at another university, and of course Everland. I will be talking about the concerts another time just becauseI haven't uploaded the videos for any of them yet. And I took a lot of videos. I may save those for last.

So what's in this weeks blog? The trip to Everland!

For those who don't know about Everland, it essentially a mashup of Laronde and Disney World. Personally, I enjoyed it. I'm also a big kid, so that probably helps. The guys were so-so about it. Except for the rollercoaster. Oh God, the roller coaster...

For those who have been to Laronde, I'm sure you're all familiar with 'The Monster' or 'La Monstre' for you French folk. The Monster is the world's tallest two-track wooden roller coaster, as well as biggest overall roller coaster in all of Canada.

The T Express at Everland is similar. It is the largest roller coaster in Korea, as well as the deepest incline/decline at 77 degrees on a wooden roller coaster. Needless to say it was freakishly awesome. If it wasn't so crowded, I would've rode it again.

Another really good one was The Twist. Which essentially was a think that spun every which way. I'm surprised I didn't get sick. I should've.

Yeah, the rides were pretty cool. Though the one thing that was really bizzarre there were the staff. Sure they were nice, but in like... a doll like way. Essentially, everytime they had to greet ANYONE, they couldn't do it with just one hand or anything. Oh no. They had to pull out the jazz hands/spirit fingers. With. Every. Single. Person. And all the staff had to do that. It was creepy.

And then there was the music which was a bit annoying. Mainly because it's very childlike (Not in a fun Disney way). But other than all of that, I really enjoyed myself.

Well, that's enough procrastinating. Best get to homework. Blaaaah.

Be sure to check out the photos!

permalink written by  Maestro on September 24, 2009 from Yongin, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged South, Korea and Everland

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