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Maurina Gallant's Story

Maurina Gallant in Croatia in 2023

I am a person who likes to be prepared. I read all of the information, watch the videos, attend the webinars and do my research when preparing to travel to any new place. As ready as I thought I was, nothing could have fully prepared me for the amazing experiences I had during my time abroad this July! From the moment I stepped on the first flight the new experiences starting rolling in. From getting slightly lost in huge airports, navigating public transit in new cities, and setting out on new adventures all over Croatia, it was a new and exciting experience each and every day from the moment I opened my eyes until I closed them again that night.

I enrolled in the Cyber Security Module as well as the Language & Culture Module at Algebra College and the programs did not disappoint! The instructors were wonderful, engaging and very knowledgeable in their areas of study. The Zagreb college campus itself was modern, high-tech and beautiful with plenty of coffee vending machines on site which absolutely helped with the jet lag. Our student liaison, Mihaela, and our student buddies helped make sure we felt welcome, comfortable and ensured we had whatever we needed to be successful in our educational endeavors as well as our personal explorations.

Croatia is a beautiful, vibrant country with such a rich history of cultural influence from all over Europe. My favorite experience in Croatia was the daily outdoor market and coffee shops. Each section of town had their own market starting early morning to early afternoon where you could buy fresh flowers, art, fruit, veggies, spices and meats among other things. These markets were lively and vibrant, with musicians performing on street corners, fresh aromas from the produce, flowers and spices, and warm friendly smiles all around. Although I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, and I love it here, I can't help but miss the social atmosphere I experienced abroad. From the visits to the market for fresh flowers and food weekly for my room, the common practice of spending hours in the evening at a coffee shop or restaurant catching up, outdoor movies in the park, to the musicians on street corners, Croatia gave me the chance to explore the 'work to live' lifestyle which is much more common in many areas of Europe compared to North America.

In North America we work, work, work and do not always take the time to enjoy the world around us. We live in a 'live to work' culture where work takes priority over all else in so many instances. This experience has given me a new perspective on the value of my time, and the importance of finding time for myself in today's hectic world. I returned refreshed, with a clearer mindset, and renewed interest in investing in myself, realizing that allowing myself the time to just enjoy life has made me much more productive when I do sit down to work. I hope to hold on to this mindset for as long as I can while finishing my program and entering such a fast paced field upon graduation.

It would be impossible to sum up my experience without writing pages and pages of stories and details so I will say this...If you have ever considered applying for a study trip abroad- DO IT! You have more to gain than you have to lose. And as much as you think you might know about yourself, life, and our world, there is so much you have left to learn, and it will 100% be worth it!