There’s no better way to be teleported outside of your Polar-Vortex-induced hibernation than through the photo-sharing app, Instagram – the ultimate form of visual escapism. In the stressful midterm season of exam-sized coffees and endless slush, it’s easy to forget that there is a wider world outside of Kingston (yes, there is life north of Princess.) With Instagram photos, we can immediately feel as though we too are in an exotic locale, and there are no Instagram accounts that inspire this feeling more than those belonging to our own friends and peers—particularly, the exchange students from Queen’s University.

Hunker down, Queen’s students, and get ready to be transported anywhere from the Netherlands to Thailand. Here are the top Instagram photos from the Queen’s University  Exchange students of 2013-2014, in no particular order:

Name: Maddie Peters

Instagram Account: @maddiepeters

Exchange University: University of Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland

 “I love how being on exchange enables you to encounter different experiences and seize opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise come across at home. Whether it’s meeting people from all over the world, traveling to rad places, or gaining a global education, exchange constantly challenges you to try things that lie outside of your comfort zone.

“I hope my photos act as inspiration for others to travel and experience as much of the world as possible!”



Name: Mike Menten

Instagram Account: @mikementen

Exchange University:  University of Groningen – Holland

“Europe couldn’t be a better time.  The experiences will stick with me for the rest of my life.  Because really, when will I ever be in a different country every weekend with my buddies?”


Name: Brittany Shales

Instagram Account: @brittshales

Exchange University: Sciences Po Paris, Menton Campus in Menton, France

“The best part about exchange is these fleeting moments that constantly pass by in class, with new friends, interacting with the local people, etc. My only complaint so far is “I wish the world was twice as big and half of it unexplored” because I’m having the time of my life wandering around and exploring, and I’m eager to bring back my experiences to Queen’s.”

“Instagram is an attempt to capture the fleeting moments by which I can define my exchange, and share them with people so they can benefit from my experience too.”




Name: Josh Smith

Instagram Account: @smithfalls

 Exchange University: Universiteit Antwerpen – Antwerp, Belgium

“Exchange had the 3 P’s of life: people, places, parties. It was the best of times, it was the… best of times. Nothing was the same after those four months. Harder, better, faster, stronger: that’s what exchange will make you.”

“As for inspiration, it’s not hard to find when the Arc de Triomphe is just one wrong turn down the street at five in the morning. I like to think that inspiration found me rather than the other way around.”



Name: Kylee Pederson

Instagram Account: @kyleejordann

Exchange University: Utrecht University College – Utrecht, Netherlands

While I don’t think that you necessarily need to travel somewhere to find yourself it, does assist you in reminding you that you are alive. That self that I’m looking for has always been here – it just needed to be woken up. It’s a humbling experience. What you gain from traveling is not just seeing new things, its seeing old things in a different light.

“I choose common, everyday sights for my Instagram photos. Capturing the ordinary things is what is truly spectacular to me.”



Name: Sarah Masotti

Instagram Account: @mazotts

Exchange University: Singapore Management University – Singapore, Singapore

I’ve only lived 20 years so far, but I know that exchange is the best time of my life.”

“Every time I think how incredible my experience is, I tell myself I won’t forget it. But I know that when I get back to the real world, these memories might seem far away. I take photos so I can instantly be taken back to every special moment and remember the happiest times in my life.”



Name: Nikki Rand

Instagram Account: @nikki_rand

Exchange University: IAE Aix Graduate School of Management – Aix-en-Provence, France

“Why do I love exchange? Because, here, a bottle of wine a day is completely acceptable.”

“As cliché as it is, my friends are my major instagram inspirations. While some people use their accounts to display their artistic talents, I use mine as another way to connect with my friends all over the world.”



Name: Cyrus Symoom

Instagram Account: @cysmoom

Exchange University: Singapore Management University – Singapore, Singapore

“I love exchange for two reasons: the people I’ve gotten to meet and the things I’ve had the chance to see. Everyone comes from a different culture and its amazing to hear all of these different perspectives – it makes me realize how small Canada really is in a global context.”

“I’ve just been taking photos of moments when I’m in awe of what I’m experiencing. I’m only halfway through exchange, and it’s already sweet to look back at everything that’s happened!”



Name: Olivia Woods

Instagram Account: @oliviawoods93

Exchange University: Chulalongkorn University – Bangkok, Thailand

“Going on Exchange is probably the best decision you can make. Not only do you have the opportunity to experience a different culture and way of life, but you get the chance to step outside of your comfort zone and experience something you never imagined. To all of those contemplating a semester abroad: do it! Take the chance to experience the semester of a lifetime.”

I guess my photo inspiration comes from wanting to capture the beauty or the favourite moments of each place I’ve been to while being on exchange.”




Name: Lindsey Rea

Instagram Account: @LindsayRea

Exchange University: Boğaziçi University – Istanbul, Turkey

“The reason I love exchange so much is because of the city of Istanbul itself—how friendly and diverse the people are, the magnificent scenery and the dynamic atmosphere have all exceeded and continue to exceed my expectations.  This city is so big that I’m fortunate enough to have new experiences everyday, even when doing the simplest of things, such as walking to class.”

“The inspiration behind my photos has really just been capturing and sharing the unique moments in my life while on exchange.”




And of course, be sure to like their photos if you do decide to go and follow these accounts—we all know how serious the value of an Instagram “like” is.

Your Creatively,

Jaclyn Marcus, Online Contributor

Images: Instagram





Guys Tell All: Lulu App