First Post of 2016!

Last year, I came up with a bunch of resolutions. I wanted to watch more films, read more books and eat vegetarian. This year, my resolutions move away from my personal life and more towards my work life.

My goals this year are to promote and have more photoshoots with my company Je Photographe. At the end of 2015, I began to transition away from digital photography and more into analog. Film captures a spirit that I haven’t seen in digital photography. As a result, I am hoping to share more film pictures on my Society6 account. I am already working hard to launch a new line of products from my Norway and Sweden trip from December 2015.

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Finally, I want to focus on my school related projects and try to create as many films and scripts as I can in the next year. In February, I am shooting a short music video inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have yet to finish casting, or secure an actual film camera. However, the film that we will be shooting on is kindly being donated by a professor. We are hoping to create the film in a one take. We will only have three tries to get it right, but have an entire week to create the piece physically. My other big goal for the year is to finish a short screenplay I have been working on for the past year and a half. I’d be ecstatic if it were to get commissioned as a grad film. However, I’m a ways from that!

I’m going to push myself as hard as I can and I can focus on relaxing when I visit Spain in July. I’m looking forward to exploring a new country and I’m excited to take some new film pictures!

So here’s to a very productive 2016!

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Festive Film

With the festive feeling in my heart, I’m happy to share some of my film photographs from this holiday season. Earlier this month, I visited Glasgow’s Christmas Market with my boyfriend and we explored all the different stalls, that were just bustling with festive cheer and customers.

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In Norway, I visited Oslo’s Christmas Market and ice rink at the centre of the city. All the houses in the area I was staying had beautiful advent stars hanging in the windows, and when I visited Stockholm, I found that they has this tradition too! I would have loved to bring one home with me, but unfortunately it wouldn’t have fit in my suitcase.

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In Drøbak, I got to explore Santa’s post office, which was filled with little Nissen ornaments. In Norwegian folklore, Nissen are ancient pagan creatures, the size of a small child. In the winter they stay in barns and look after the animals. Humans are meant to leave them porridge, also known as grog, which they eat and keeps them from acting out.

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All the photos were shot on my Canon AE-1 using Portra 400 or Ektar 100 film stock.

You can check out more pictures on my facebook photography page, je photographe!

Norway Vlogs!

Another busy year is coming to its end, and Julie and I managed to squeeze in a trip to Norway and Sweden right at the end of it! Last time I was in Oslo, it was for the 17th of May, which is Norway’s National Day. I got to wear the traditional bunad and try Burnost! This time, I got to explore Oslo’s Christmas Market, drink lots of glog (mulled wine)  and eat Christmas Porridge and gingerbread men! We visited Oslo’s ski jumps and even had a day trip to Drøbak, which is where the Norwegian Santa is said to live and have his post office!

Day 1+2: WE MET SANTA IN NORWAY!

Day 3: JULIE WON A PIG!

Day 4: I’M SMALLER THAN MY SANTA HAT!

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Stockholm Vlog to follow shortly!

Old Montreal // New Memories

Once a year, two of my friends and I go on a pilgrimage to Montreal’s China Town to appreciate the culmination of the island’s Chinese culture. We stuffed ourselves with vegetarian dumplings, Dragon Beard candies and Bubble tea. Happily satiated we continued our journey into Old Montreal, the historic cartier of the city.

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 Unfortunately, most of China Town was under construction while we were there so I didn’t get any photos of the area. Hopefully these dumplings and scallion pancakes will satisfy! 

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I’m never disappointed when I visit Old Montreal. With a European air, cobblestone streets and delicious food trucks, it’s always a pleasure to be there. My friends and I took pictures in Place D’Armes, in front of the Notre Dame Basilica where Celine Dion got married and the monument fountain dedicated to Montreal’s Founder, Paul de Chomedey. 

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While on our way to the water front, we passed by the Cours Le Royer. I pulled my friends over so that we could take a closer look. I felt like I was in Paris! Surrounded by converted warehouses, now made into apartments, the area had small water fountains and benches, acting as a quite get-away from the busy streets nearby.

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We made it a goal to take pictures at all the MTL MOMENT signs we could find. Located all over the city, the picture frames allow you to take a cute photo with a scenic Montreal background behind you. The two we found were located in Place Jacques-Cartier, surrounded by artist street vendors and one in the Old Port, with a view of the Cirque de Soleil tents behind it. 

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This past winter my boyfriend and I went ice skating on the canal. It was absolutely beautiful! Returning with my friends, I was even more impressed with the calm nature of the park. You can rent pedal boats on the canal or lounge on the grass while admiring the view of the Bonsecours Market. We bumped into friendly tourists from New York and Shanghai who though it was cool that we were having a tourist day in our own city. We explained that since one of my friends and I are both going to university outside of the province, we wanted to make the most of what we had here in our city.  

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It was a great way to appreciate the city I call home and a wonderful way to spend time with my friends. I can’t wait to have my next adventure!

A Rough Application Timeline for UCAS or CUKAS

~ Know the key dates for applications to UCAS and CUKAS ~

One Year or More before Applying:  

You might have known what you want to study since the age of six and already have your life plan completed, but for the majority of people who don’t, it’s important to leave yourself enough time to change your mind and discover what it is you want to do. This is a good time to begin researching various universities, programs and determining what you need to do in order to be accepted. During this time you should also begin researching scholarships and financial aid programs offered by the universities that interest you.

Nine Months:

By this time you should have a clearer picture of the programs and universities where you are intending to apply and what you will need to do in order to complete your application. Find out if you will need to create a portfolio, attend interviews or auditions or sit some standardized tests.

Six Months:

 With six months to go before the application deadline, you might feel like you still have loads of time. However, it is a good idea to begin brainstorming and writing your personal statement. Your personal statement is your way of selling yourself to admissions and distinguishing yourself from other candidates. You want to be original and appear to be the type of student the school wants. You also want to give yourself plenty of time to make corrections and let others, like parents or academic advisors, take a look and give you some feedback. 

Three Months: 

Prepare to send your marks to date. This might be a little confusing if you are from overseas. Contact the universities you are applying to and ask how they would like to receive your marks. You might be asked to calculate your average and enter it in the Education and Marks section on the application. However, they might ask you to send or scan your transcripts to them directly. If this is the case, you will need to dig up the transcripts you require before sending them in. You can always contact your high school if you cannot find a copy that you require.

One/Two Months before: 

You should contact the person you would like to write your letter of recommendation. They are doing you a great service, so you want to give them enough time to complete the letter without them feeling stressed. On UCAS, your referee will be invited to submit their letter online. However, on CUKAS, you are responsible for making sure that the letters get sent in. So for CUKAS it is very important that you give your referee enough time to write the letter and for the post to get it to the school. Always check how many letters of recommendation you require and what type of letter it should be (ex: academic or specialized). 

Perfect your letter personal statement, or start it if you have already!

Applications Open: 

Create your account as soon as you can and fill out the primary information. This allows you to see all the information that is required and if you encounter something you don’t understand, you will have the time to get the answer. If you have questions, the best place to ask is the actual website you are dealing with. Call the helpline or check out the Facebook page to ask your questions. 

Once you’ve filled out you primary information, have your referee upload their letter to UCAS or if using CUKAS, mail the letter, submit your marks, upload your completed personal statement, check over your application and make sure you have completed all the sections, then pay and submit!

 CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve submitted your application!

Following the submission of your application, you may be contacted about interviews or portfolios. 

An Application Overview

If you are reading this post, then you have most likely begun the journey of university applications. University is often considered the pinnacle of education and preparing for it can be like a life goal. I was drilled at a very young age to believe that every move I made could make or break my chances of getting into my top choice university. While it is really important to prepare yourself for bettering your chances, it doesn’t mean you should stress yourself sick. 

First, you need to have an idea of where you want to apply; which countries, which universities and what programs. It can take some time to do the research. I would suggest beginning at least a year advance, if not earlier. It can be difficult to decide what you want to study. I spent a year bouncing between radically different programs, but eventually through my research and some self-exploration, I decided on the field and programs I wanted to pursue. Through your research, you might discover that you will need to take certain examinations, have specific credits to apply or need to create a portfolio. This is why it is important to start your research well in advance. 

Once you know where you want to go and what you need to apply, it’s time to start working on your personal statement, portfolio, letters of recommendation and other pieces. Don’t underestimate the time it will take to do all this. Your personal statement should be well-written, original and captivating to admissions. It is your way of introducing yourself to the school and proving that you are the type of student they want. You will also need to give your referees enough time to write a letter of recommendation. It’s also important to note what type of letter of recommendation you are required to submit (i.e. academic or specialized). Some schools will require both types, so be sure to check. As for portfolio pieces, this is another place you will want to devote a great deal of time and effort. You are showing your talent. Talk to teachers, family and admissions for advice as to what to include. Universities often have portfolio days which allow you to visit and discuss your portfolio with a staff member.

Technically, you cannot submit anything until the application period is open. You might choose not to work on you applications until then. However, I did that and it was super stressful. Trying to balance your current school work with applications and portfolios is absolute mania. Luckily I had started my personal statement during the summer. It took me six months to perfect it. 

Allot yourself at least two weeks to complete the actual application form. You never know when you will have questions, so give yourself extra time. Also, if you are applying as a foreign student you will have to deal with time differences and questions pertaining foreign affairs. Check to see if your application database has a Facebook page or a live help section on their website. 

If you are applying to UK schools through UCAS, be sure to check out their Facebook page. You can leave them questions on their wall and they will reply to you directly. UCAS is seriously a great help during the application process. Their technicians are always eager to help, so even if you think you have a silly question, its safer to ask than to make a mistake. 

"Education is all a matter of building bridges" - Ralph Ellison

“Education is all a matter of building bridges” – Ralph Ellison

University Abroad Talk

Freaking out about applying to university? Thinking about applying abroad? Don’t fret! This post marks the first of many about applying to universities abroad. 

Your mind is probably filled with hundreds of questions and anxieties, but don’t worry, because there are literally thousands of people going through the same thing. Applying to university can be stressful, but applying abroad can make you even more anxious. More often than not, academic advisors in your school will be specialized in helping you apply to universities in your own country. While I’m no expert on the world’s different application systems, I can definitely help you de-stress during your application period. Having just gone through the British application systems, UCAS and CUKAS as a Canadian student, I can vouch that applying abroad can be scary, but it’s well worth it. 

To give you a preview of the questions I’ll be answering, you can look forward to posts on: 

  • Application Timelines
  • Applying through UCAS and CUKAS
  • Applying to Film Schools
  • Writing your Letter of Intent
  • Financing and Scholarships
  • Tips for Staying Focused and Balanced

I will be posting weekly, answering the different questions and concerns I had and if you have any feel free to comment! That’s why I’m here!