Golden Hawk Girl Abroad Profile: Danielle Cardas

Name: Danielle Cardas

Program: French

Year: 4th

Place of Study: Science Po Lille - Lille, France

Why did you choose this place?

As a French major, I wanted to choose a school in France. There were a lot of options which only made my decision harder. After researching, I chose Lille because it was a very university-based town. There are a lot of other universities here so a lot of people around my age.

What is your favourite thing about your abroad school?

My school is very small, which is nice in the sense that it is easy to get help from others. My school also runs trips to other countries like Belgium or other cities in France for the weekend which is super cool!

Where are you right now?    

I am currently spending the weekend in London!

Could you share some of your photos taken with us?

 

Tell me about your favourite place so far.

I am currently in London and it is by far my favourite place. Although the weather is gloomy, the city itself is gorgeous with so much to see and do! I walked around all day and saw the classic tourist spots and the nightlife is awesome with pubs everywhere you look!

What is something that you have had to overcome since moving?

My school doesn’t offer residence to any of its students, which is hard because I feel like that’s where you meet a lot of friends. I live alone in my own apartment which can be great, but not when it comes to meeting people. I had to motivate myself to get out and go to the international meet-ups and get outside my comfort zone.

What have you learned from your struggle?

I learned that at first it’s scary to be in a new place with no friends. BUT, you just need to hop out of your comfort zone and go out and meet people. I met my two closest friends by going to those awkward meet-ups!

What is something people wouldn’t expect about studying abroad?

I think everyone will have a different experience abroad because of where they choose to go. In France, I was not prepared for all the paper work and waiting. Nothing gets done too quickly over here…

What is something you have learned about yourself while travelling?

Travelling has been such a great growing process, as cliché as that is! I travel alone, which I NEVER would have thought I could do. I’ve learned to just do what I want to do and that makes it so easy to just enjoy my time and all the new experiences!

What is something you have learned about other cultures while travelling?

Every time I travel somewhere new, I feel like I’m always learning new things and trying to fit into everyday life. For example, in Lille most businesses close for lunch for 1-2 hours every day, so if you’re going to a bank or something like that you have to work around those hours. Everywhere is different and it’s really cool to see how different day to day life is in other places.

What is the best thing you have eaten?

OKAY this one is hard! I don’t think I can pick to be honest… BUT I ate all my best meals while travelling in Croatia. I ate out like every night (oops) and I don’t think I ever ate something I didn’t like. 

What is your next travel plan?

I am headed to Denmark this weekend to go to Copenhagen and visit some other Laurier exchange students from back home!

Who do you travel with?

All of my trips have been different! I have travelled a lot with new friends I have made abroad. I also have met up with some friends from back home who are either here on exchange or just traveling and I’ve done some trips on my own! Here is a photo of with me with my old friend from Waterloo named Keegan. We met up in Croatia.

How do you book your travel plans?

If I have to fly I use Google flights because it compares all the different airlines. To bus I use the FlixBus app which is a game changer; it is the easiest to use and you can cancel your trips almost whenever and get your money back and it goes EVERYWHERE. My biggest tip is book in advance; you save SO much money if you book ahead.

Have you ever done a solo trip?

I have! I’ve done a lot of little trips for a day or two to places like Paris and Belgium which are nearby.

How long are you planning on staying in Europe?

I got to Europe at the end of August and as of right now I have no flight home (sorry mom), but I’m planning to come back right before the beginning of the winter semester.

What would you recommend to future Golden Hawks looking to study abroad?

I’ve met a lot of people who were nervous about just packing up and moving away from home but once they got here they were so happy they did it. So if you’re even considering going abroad, DO IT! I was super unaware of how easy it was to get around and wasted a lot of time early on not going to places because I thought it was impossible to get around. So I’d start researching before you go and find out where train/bus stations are and if there are shuttles that take you there for super cheap.

Tell us anything about your travelling and studying abroad?

For myself, there isn’t much actual studying… classes are pretty easy and not mandatory so you can bet I’ve taken advantage of that rule and gone on some extra trips. I am lucky enough to be in a pretty central location which makes it super easy to just take off for the weekend or a few days and get to see some pretty awesome places! Going abroad has been the best decision I ever made and I think that every person who has the opportunity to go should take it and explore!