As I’m writing this blog post, I can’t help but feel a little sentimental and emotional. This is an experience I will never forget and will be one that I will always share with the people I meet in the future. -David Tang, an exchange participate from AIESEC UBC who has taken a six months internship in Cologne, Germany.
After having completed all of the required paperwork, it was time for me to finally enjoy Europe. AIESEC Cologne made me feel very welcome by inviting me to all of their events. I, of course, took every chance possible to attend the events. From these events, I met new people and created many meaningful friendships that I will forever cherish.
It didn’t take me long for me to start my European travel adventure. This was my first time in Europe and I knew I must take advantage of this opportunity to visit the places that I’ve always dreamed about visiting. In chronological order, below were the cities that I visited:
- Italy (July 2014) – Rome and Florence
- Netherland (August 2014) – Amsterdam
- France (September 2014) – Paris
- United Kingdom (November 2014) – London
- Belgium (December 2014) – Brussels and Ghent
As you can tell, I visited many places and am forever grateful for this opportunity. All my friends are envious of me because of this haha! Traveling in Europe and visiting these many different cities was an eye-opening experience. I adore how each country has its own style of architecture and way of doing things, despite their close proximity with each other. I particularly enjoyed feeling the atmosphere of the streets in each and every one these cities, seeing different cultures and hearing different languages. Having visited many cities in Europe, there is no doubt that I have my favorite ones. They are Paris and London. Words cannot fully describe the love I have for these two beautiful cities.
Paris is truly sensational. I would have to declare that, out of all the cities I visited, Paris is the most beautiful and the most romantic city. The city is so eclectic and vibrant. Each of its districts (French: arrondissements) has its unique identity and vibe. The district Le Marais (more commonly referred to as Marais), located in the 3rd and 4th district, is one of my favorite places in Paris. It is one of the popular spots with many great cafes, bars, restaurants, fashion, and certainly where locals hang out. I believe, from my experience, that there is no such thing as bad food in Paris; even the Crêpes from the Crêperies (places that sell Crêpes) on the street are of decent quality. I am completely in love with Paris.
As much as I love Paris, I would have to admit that I love London more, so much to the extent that I am seriously considering of moving there in the future. London is not as romantic as Paris (as I mentioned above, Paris is the most beautiful city of all). However, London is magical in a sense that it’s so captivating. It has a city buzzing with energy and life. It is busy and crowded and extremely cosmopolitan, which I love! It reminded me of Hong Kong, where I’m from originally. As we all know, Hong Kong was under the governance of the UK before 1997. Therefore, Hong Kong bears a great resemblance to London. For example, driving on the left side of the road and the double decker buses. London is extremely vibrant and has so much to offer. There are many things to do in London that one will never be bored in the city. Pray for me that I can successfully find a job in London and move there!
Traveling in Europe was certainly the highlight of my GIP experience. In these 6 months, I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. It was a growing experience and helped me discover the capabilities that I thought I never had. It allowed me to become more independent. For this, I am truly grateful. I am also grateful and feel very blessed to have met so many amazing people and created so many new friendships. On the day that I left Germany to return home to Vancouver, I couldn’t hold back the tears when saying goodbye to my friends in Germany. As I’m writing this blog post, I can’t help but feel a little sentimental and emotional. This is an experience I will never forget and will be one that I will always share with the people I meet in the future. I am truly blessed. Thank you AIESEC UBC and Cologne for making this happen!