International awards hit home

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By Allison Jones

Students at Ryerson may have to worry about rising TTC prices, but at least they don’t have to worry about dying en route.

“I thought I was going to die every day,” said Brianne Rutter, a fourth-year early childhood education student about her experience riding New Zealand public transit. “The bus drivers [were] horrible.”

Rutter was one of six students who spoke at the Faculty of Community Services’ annual International Awards on Monday.

The speakers each received $1,000 grants to study overseas last summer and their presentations were a condition for winning the award.

The 2003 recipients shared their stories about the different countries they visited, which included Cuba, Australia, and Sweden.

Despite the vast geographical and social differences of the countries visited, the presenters all agreed the experience changed their lives.

However, not all of the life-altering experiences were positive ones.

Rutter said the New Zealand bus drivers’ fast acceleration and jerky stops not only gave her a headache, but also led to an accident. Luckily, Rutter walked away from the crash unscathed, as did the rest of the riders.

During her presentation, Rutter joked that the accident was only one of her several traumatic experiences.

In fact, on her first day abroad, exhausted from a 17-hour flight, Rutter had a near emotional breakdown while buying groceries.

“Culture shock hit me,” said Rutter of the moment she realized the cheddar cheese in New Zealand was white, instead of orange.

“I put my head on my shopping cart and cried,” she said.

At the end of her presentation Rutter assured the audience that despite her tears, the experience was well worth it.

Erin Miller, another fourth-year ECE student, chose to go to Australia, and, as opposed to Rutter, found it to be quite similar to Canada.

Miller stated in a university residence in Northern Australia where the weather felt warmer to her than it was for the Australians.

“I would be wearing a t-shirt and capris,” said Miller. “[However, the Australians] were wearing hats and mittens. They thought 10 degrees was cold.”

Miller enjoyed her stay so much that her six-week placement became a three-month trip.

However, Miller also took issue with the international food, specifically vegemite.

“It’s like Nutella, but made with vegetables,” said a disgusted Miller of the popular Australian spread. “They put it on everything.”

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