Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Tying up Toronto

Wow where did the time go I’m sitting here in Toronto waiting for my flight home back to rainy old Ireland and to be honest, I’m very excited. My time spent in Canada has been amazing I’ve enjoyed every moment of it but I can’t wait to go home to a comfortable bed, a cup of tea and a crisp sandwich.
            The last 5 months have been amazing and everything I expected from Erasmus and maybe more I’ve travelled places I always wanted to go. I’ve made new friendships and strengthened old. I’ve learnt good and bad habits and I believe it has really made me into a better person. As Anthony Bourdain once said “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” Now I only had to sleep on floors for a few nights here and there but we travelled and we 
ate as much different food as possible. we saw so much of Canada with an  impromptu road trip to Ottawa and Montreal, I spent a night in a jail cell (it was a hostel that used to be a jail haha)


the lovely bunch of Irish people we met in Montreal


Toronto is a strange city it’s a city where everyone seems to be from further afield yet Toronto feels like home. Having lived in large cities in North America before, The Toronto streets felt strangely familiar but completely different people are courteous even if it is minus 20°. And everyone has time for each other.

I think that’s what made my time in Humber college so pleasant, the people are sound and have very much the mentality of Irish people. The lecturers are lovely people and really seem to care about their students. Of course, another fact I enjoyed about Humber was the fact we didn’t have to sit exams due to a communication error and us having flights booked for the week before the last week of college, luckily most of our course was continuous assessment and we were able to submit final proposals a week beforehand. We did, however, sit a few midterm examinations. For “emerging trends in Canadian cuisine” we looked at well, emerging trends in Canadian cuisine, which seemed to me like Ireland circa 2011, we had a choice of protein, starch and a vegetable, which we had to apply a previously learnt skill and present 2 dishes, Saoirse and I cooked pork tenderloin and pork belly with textures of carrot and fondant potato. The beginning of this process can be seen in the below time-lapse. With a final plate following.

The rest us just assignments and a proposal to Humber’s department for sustainability.

Of course, after Toronto, we had to go on a little holiday so Saoirse and I booked a 10-day break to Vancouver to see the other coast (I’m actually on a layover between my flights right now,  

I can’t believe it’s all over and I’ll be back in Ireland in a few hours if I can get on this plane. Canada has been such an amazing experience and I can’t wait to return probably in the summer though.

I forgot to mention I’m going  be flying again to visit the 4 people in Venlo in a week to see how the Dutch do Erasmus.

I forgot to upload this. Venlo was amazing, do I have regrets that I didn't choose the Netherlands? no, but did I have a brilliant time, yes. What an amazing place with such a great buzz and such an international mix of people lovely to reconnect to the girls and see what their blog posts are all about.

For one last time
Talk to you later Toronto
Rob J. C

Friday, 2 August 2019

Netherlands…. The Only Place Where a Bridge is Built to let the River Cross the Street

The Last of many 41a Partys

Exploring Ireland with new friends
For those of you who just started following this blog but don’t know me I am Tom. This semester I am doing my exchange semester as the second part of my international year from Waterford Institute of Technology. So therefore, I am attending Fontys International Business School, Venlo the Netherlands. This is my last blog from this series which brings to an end the international year of adventure. Since my last blog I have continued to have many adventures well mixed with a bit of college work. This is also the last blog in this series but who knows when the next ones might begin.

Little Trip to Rome

Starting with the college side of it I have just completed my exams. Yes, in W.I.T. we would be half way through the summer holidays by now. One of the key differences between W.I.T. and Fontys is the college work load. I painted a Van Gogh style picture of life in Venlo and it was amazing however, don’t be fooled by the workload. I have spent many years in college but these exams were the biggest challenge yet. The results for the exams come within ten days of sitting each exam. So basically, you would get one result and a couple of days later you would get another. I thought this was a good idea at the start but that quickly faded as you had no relief getting your results and were constantly on edge. The good news is I passed all my exams so I did finally get relief. I got my 30 credits which was the requirement to continue on into the fourth year in Waterford. Overall my experience in Fontys was challenging and exciting. I would highly recommend Fontys to future students, however, before choosing ask yourself are you looking for practical or theory-based learning.
Lunch with Canadians, British and Irish in Germany
The year abroad from W.I.T. was one of the best years of my life. It all started in Canada and the last trip before I returned home was to Cologne in Germany were, I met up with four people I had worked with in Banff. One from England, two from Canada and then Derek from my class. The experience and social aspect of the year is unmatched. My advice to the people who have just started there year out is to push every boundary and do the things you never imagine yourself doing. Since the last blog I again travelled quite a lot I went to Rome, Belgium, Ireland and Germany. I volunteered at a Caribbean music festival in Germany with the other Irish students where we worked at a Caribbean food stall for the weekend, camped and made plans to head to Trinidad and Tobago in the near future.  I brought two of my friends from Mexico to Ireland and brought them on a trip through Irelands Ancient East showing of some of our culture.
This past year has been a year of discovery, experience and learning. It is one of the biggest assets to the BA in Culinary Arts course in W.I.T. What other course offers you the chance to work and study abroad in two different locations. I would defiantly advise doing the work semester first to give you the extra cash to have the best possible study semester however, being thrifty you can discover that there are many ways to do different activities without paying for them and also there is loads of free things to experience.
Thanks for following along with my blogging journey and for your sake thank god there over….

Sunsets in Venlo