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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!
Has anyone participated in the Canada-Japan CO-OP program?
I'm a 2nd year mechanical engineering student at uOttawa looking at applying to this program for the winter 2018 term. Has anyone participated in this and would be willing to tell me a bit about their experience and the process itself?
Whats the best res at western? People tell me Ontario hall, but I called the school and they said you may not get Ontario hall and I was wondering from your knowledge/past experience what you think!

One last quick question, are all the residency's co ed at Western?

Thanks in advance guys!! 

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Hi, I have a ew questions regarding the PSE!
Firstly, is it necessary? I know it is not mandatory (unless your in commerce), but I've heard that it really doesn't affect your chances?
Although I'll probably just do it, cause it can't hurt right :)
Secondly, what should I include? PS; I don't play sports
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HI!!! This is a thread for anyone who has applied/has been accepted into Queen's Bisc program! What was your average when accepted?
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Why Making Goals for the New Year Might be a Good Idea
Life gets hectic, especially for students. Sometimes it feels like we can get stuck in a hectic cycle of never-ending work, sleep, and classes. It’s important to establish a few goals to fully understand what you want to accomplish on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. The new year is right around the corner, so it’s about time to pull out that new calendar and mark a few things into your schedule. 

1. Daily Goals: Setting a goal for your daily life is a big undertaking. It takes determination and perseverance to stick to a daily goal. I would recommend that if you do make a daily goal for the new year, don’t make it too big. For example, maybe you want to start keeping a daily journal. Even just spending 10 minutes doing this each day is an accomplishment.

2. Weekly Goals: Dedicate a bit of time each week, whether it be on the weekend or mid-week, on relaxing or doing something you enjoy. Even if you’re stressed and have lots to do, your mental health is important! Block off a special hour or two every week to curl up with a book, take a nap, listen to music, or another relaxing activity. (I would recommend staying away from your phone and have more of an inward focus during this time.)

3. Monthly Goals: These goals can be a bit larger. What’s something you want to accomplish by the end of one month? Maybe you want to write a song. Maybe you want to complete a new piece of art. Maybe you want to learn origami, or write some letters for relatives or friends. It could be anything. You can work on your monthly goal whenever you have some spare time. 

4. A Goal For the Year: This could be a large-scale goal. It could even be related to your monthly goals. (For example, if you write a song every month, you could have an album by the end of the year.) Maybe your annual goal is to learn a new language. It could also be a more simple goal, like meeting 10 new people, or doing 10 random acts of kindness for strangers.

Personally, I’ve found that making goals and following through with them has been a very enriching experience, as it gives you a feeling of accomplishment and it gives your days more meaning. In fact, having things to work towards has pushed me to get my schoolwork done more efficiently too.

Let us know what goals you’re setting for the New Year in the comments below!

 -Rachel H, yconic student ambassador
What are the pros and cos of taking a year off?
I'm thinking about possibly taking a year off to travel for a little while and then to come back and work but I don't know if I should or not.
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Enjoying the Holidays as a Student in Calgary
When people think of the Canadian prairie winters, we imagine a bone-chilling blizzard, being locked inside of our homes, and maybe (if you are luck), see a Polar Bear cross our window. To an extent, this is our reality, but if you happen to be living in Calgary, this does not have to be how you spend your holiday break! Check out my favourite activities to do this holiday season and feel free to share some of your own! 

You know that it is the holiday season when Zoolights have arrived! Come on down to the Calgary Zoo this December and you will be amazed by the wondrous light show that is put onto display! If you are looking for a cool date location, an adventurous night with some friends, or just an amazing bonding experience with your family, you do not want to miss out on this! There are over 1.5 million lights, 200 displays, crackling fire pits, and fun-filled activity zones for everyone to enjoy! 

Skating at Olympic Plaza
What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to come down to the downtown core of Calgary and enjoy a night skating with your friends and family at the Olympic Plaza! Whether you are new to skating or what to brush off the dust from your old skates, you cannot go wrong doing this! 

Shopping Malls (TD, Chinook, & Southcenter)
Whether you are doing some last minute shopping for your loved ones or just looking for a place to hang-out, drop by to a shopping mall! I don’t know what it is but whenever I walk into a mall during the holidays, it immediately gets me into the holiday spirit!

Outdoor Rinks
My all-time favourite activity since I was a child; Ice Hockey! Living in Canada, it really is true. We breathe, sleep, and live this sport and how could we not… There is one around practically every corner (Just kidding… but including the ones in our backyards, it sure seems like it)! 

Lions Festival of Lights
Although there is an admissions cost to Zoolights, you can still enjoy some pretty amazing Holiday lights just down the road at Confederation Park! Whether you are driving by (Pretty much me every day to UofC) or just in the local area, you will definitely not miss the giant snowman waving to you and the 150,000 lights! It is a Calgary Tradition you want to be a part of (Besides, it’s a great location to get some beautiful Instagram Pictures).

Did you find this post helpful? Comment your thoughts and questions below and feel free to share your own holiday activities with the yconic community!

Mathieu Chin
Yconic Student Ambassador
How did you decide what program you are doing in university
Heyy people, I am a going-to-gr12 public hs kid wondering what to do in life.

A brief info about myslf:
1. Live in GTA
2. Like interior designs, fascinated by tech, love to eat, outgoing, enjoy flying and driving
3. my favourite YouTube video is "A Day Made of Glass"
4. i studied because of others, not for myself (aka I got good grades but I didnt enjoy them)
5. my ultimate goal is to retire asap (at 45) [I know it may not be feasible, but still...)

Here's my gr11 grades
English 83
Functions 99
Accounting  94
Marketing  96
Chemistry 86
Physics 82
Biology 90
Broadcasting 87

And my only grade 12 grade is physics (completed in summer school) - 94

As above, how did you decide what you are going to do in the future??? Like how do you figure out what you want??
I like interior designs, tech, food, sports, but the thing is - i can't see myself in the future
I dont know what to do? Despite trying to get good grades and apply every single university in ontario....
I really need some advice. Please give me some advice :) :) :)

Thank you very much
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