One of the definite perks of being on exchange in a place such as Graz is the endless opportunities to travel easily and affordably. I have traveled three of the past four weekends, returning to Budapest, which I first visited ten years ago, and visiting Bratislava and Kiev for the first time. Each trip was different in its own way, both in terms of who I was travelling with, how long I stayed, and of course the different vibe of each city. Kiev was by far the most interesting of the trips, mainly because I had never been that far East or to any part of the former Soviet Union for that matter. Unlike my other trips, I was also hosted by my friend Ashton, a fellow graduate student at UofT who is on exchange in Kiev. The wonderful thing about international experiences is that you quickly acquire a group of friends living in different places, and visiting them is a much more enriching experience than being a tourist and doing the hostel scene, which is far from my favourite. Here are some pictures of my trip to Kiev.
While I love to travel and visit new places, it is definitely a challenge to balance travel, school, a life in Graz and managing the aspects of my life back in Toronto. Just to give an indication of some of the things preoccupying me at the moment: I am registered in a required course for my Masters at UofT which involves doing course work almost every week. I also will be graduating in April, and am busy trying to figure out what internships and jobs I will be applying to, which is a very time consuming affair. At the half-way point of my exchange, I am realizing the added challenges that come with an exchange–being a graduate student at UofT is enough work, and an exchange only adds to it. That being said, I think the experience is totally worth the extra work and stress, and I am really trying to make the most of my time here and striking a good schoolwork/travel/life balance. So far so good!