Community planning student finds wealth of knowledge at VIU

Nanaimo, as I have learned, means “gathering place”. It truly has the perfect name for a gem hidden between mountains and the Georgia Straight. Vancouver Island University is such a remarkable university glittered with rabbits and stairs, with an interesting combination of architecture and natural formation, which makes this university one of a kind and truly a place to call home. My experiences in class and in school have been nothing shy of breathtakingly amazing. Teachers, staff and students all share the common goal of helping to make every day comfortable and rewarding. I wholeheartedly feel that this university and scholarship program has been personally crafted for me. It is everything I ever dreamed for in an opportunity to study abroad.

Being here has opened my eyes to a wealth of knowledge and has exposed me to practices of which I would never have thought. The simple design of some places has taught me that sometimes overthinking is too much and simplicity might be best. Whereas, on the other hand, the complexity and elegance in design of other places has shown me that being bold is at times most suitable. VIU’s Master of Community Planning program is something that should be given a Nobel Prize; all the professors are remarkably knowledgeable and eager to assist. Their degree of experience far out shines the academic degrees which they all possess.

However, the most valuable portion of this experience to date has been the wonderful friends that I have met. It is amazing how people you have only met for very short time can play a massive role in your day-to-day decision making and your overall outlook on life. Whether older or younger, many of the people that I have had the privilege of meeting here are all so willing to assist in your studies or to just offer a coffee date to get to know you more personally. It is also fascinating for me that there are a lot of cultural similarities that exist between Canada and Belize. One being the passion of Canadians to sports, more specifically Canadian sport teams. I find this to be engaging as I am also a huge fan of sports and would support my Belizean team no matter their position.

Canada has been for me a place of wonder, a mystical place situated in the right temperature bracket. Whether it be breathtaking Victoria or Cathedral Grove, Canada is filled abundantly with awesome, kind and wonderful people and places. The thing that I am most thankful for is by far the degree of safety that I have felt while being here. It is such a remarkable feeling to be able to walk all day and night on the streets and not have to look behind and be afraid of what might go wrong. Every night I pray that this is not a dream and that I may continue to grow as much as possible in this portion of my life, while helping many others to reach from the same.

Eric Sanchez, Community Planning, VIU

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