Travelling nowadays has become trendy, especially amongst youngsters. Why shouldn’t someone have the chance to see the world while they’re still young, discover themselves, and return with stories and memories that will last a lifetime? In short, it isn’t a matter of shouldn’t, but rather, can’t. Travelling comes with a hefty price sticker (although the cost has been decreasing over time, and many remote places are now accessible), one that is a difficult thing for someone on a student budget to swallow. But fear not, fellow students! Travelling (especially in our great city), need not be expensive and budget-busting. For instance, as many of you may know, Edmonton was put onto the National Geographic list of “Best Summer Trips 2015,” along with locations in South Korea, Peru, Australia, and Germany. Our long hours of sunlight and festivals galore (the FIFA World Cup may have also had something to do with it) put Edmonton on the map, meaning you didn’t even have to leave the city this summer to experience some of the best of the best in the world. From Heritage Days to the Fringe Festival, from the Folk Music Festival to FIFA, Edmonton put on quite the show. I myself was lucky enough to attend Heritage Days and to eat some incredibly unique ethnic dishes, as well as see some lively performances. I also attended the first night of the Folk Fest, where my heart was swallowed up in the evening air and Edmonton community that was packed onto that green hill. And yes, Of Monsters and Men was absolutely astounding. I sincerely hope that you had enough time to get out and experience some of what Edmonton offered this summer.
Aside from getting to taste a little of Edmonton, I also attended the Freedom Week week-long seminar at McGill University. Put on by the Institute for Liberal Studies (ILS), over 40 students from all over Canada (and the world) gathered in the heart of Montreal to study the economics, philosophies, and political theories that surround the debate on freedom, liberty, and libertarianism. While the process to get in was a competitive application, once accepted, the program was entirely free to students. Although I had to pay for the cost of my flight, my housing, food, and studies were all covered by the ILS. I was able to converse with graduate students and professors all week, expanding my knowledge and understanding of how the ideas of liberty operate within our society. The conference organizers, when selecting applicants, made sure to include a student group with a variety of beliefs and interests, in order to ensure lively and fruitful discussion and debate. The seminars I attended ranged in intensity and in topic, from “I’ve got a monopoly to maintain! Market Failure in the Simpsons” to “The Ethical Case for Open Borders,” from “Lysander Spooner: The Case Against the State Then and Today” to “The Consent of the Governed: Social Contracts, Augustine, and the State.” There were also regular discussion groups, Q & A sessions with the faculty, and socials every evening. Professors and students ate meals together, walked to and from seminars together, conversed with one another throughout the day. The intimacy of Freedom Week made the event seem surreal. The ILS will be putting on Freedom Week next summer, as well as Socratic Seminars and Liberty Summer Seminars. I encourage you to check it out and to apply next year! Expanding your knowledge and increasing your educational value while getting to explore the world is always a win-win situation! There are plenty of incredible opportunities out there, much like Freedom Week. The world is waiting for you, you just have to look!