Country music and ice hockey in beautiful Calgary

University of Calgary

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Why here?: Close to mountains, beautiful and safe city, great vibe, hockey, country music!

U of C is the second best young university in the world! They are renowned for their high quality research and for playing host to the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics (Jamaica we have a bob sled team/Eddie the Eagle…). The main campus, easily accessible by train or bus, includes a world class ice rink, gym, and three main residential buildings for exchange students. Cascade Hall is where most exchange students reside, but Aurora and Yamnuska are also great options for immersing yourself in the U of C culture with Canadian students (I chose Yam).

QUT student Emma enjoying the snow

Speaking from experience, the application process for accommodation and subject selection is quite easy and straight-forward, and the staff are incredibly helpful if you have trouble. Best of all, most other activities and services (such as bus and train fares, and the gym) are included in your application process! This means you will know exactly how much spending money you can put towards travel, food and night life.

Getting into the spirit of things!

With local hockey (go Flames!) and football teams (go Stamps!) and with the U of C Dinos teams, Calgary offers plenty of opportunities to experience the sports Canadians love. Calgary is also the home to the famous Stampede, so expect two-stepping and line dancing at midnight in the country bars around town.

Close to the mountains, an easy trip to go skiing

Thinking About Going on Exchange? Do it.

My final exams are over, Bishop’s is closing for the holidays and by now the majority of my wardrobe is purple, so I guess that means my time here as a student is up!

Applying to go on exchange and choosing Bishop’s has been the best decision I’ve ever made. So I want to take a moment to say to anyone who might be considering going on an exchange (or even if you’re not), do it! There are so many amazing places out there, choose somewhere you’ve always wanted to go or somewhere that looks cool to you and just go for it. Get that second job and start saving, work hard for a scholarship that can get you there, plan a budget that works for you, boost your grades and take the time to put together a great application – whatever it is you can do to make it happen, if you can do it, I guarantee it’ll be worth it.

My advice once you get there? Immerse yourself in the university life, embrace the foreign culture, stay in contact with family and friends back home, study (not too much! but enough to pass), make new friends, party, travel and just have fun with it – it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

What I love about the student exchange program is that it’s more than just travelling and more than just studying. I got the chance to live in another country for the first time, have the ‘college experience’, be the ‘foreign exchange student’, and meet people and learn things I wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise. If you’re experience is anything like mine, you’ll have the time your life.

I also just want to take a second to mention, it’s ‘pass or fail’. Okay, I’ll leave it at that.

So after all this, if you’re wondering why I’m not an absolute mess right now about having to leave, because I’m so in love with this place and the people in it, I’ll be returning for a visit to Bishop’s in January to say my goodbyes before I fly back home to Australia. Until then – I might not be an exchange student anymore but that doesn’t mean the adventure is over yet! I came all this way, so now it’s time to travel!

Saying Goodbye to Queen’s

What an adventure my time on exchange has been! Currently in my last week of classes and with only 2 weeks until I leave Kingston to set off on my own travels, it’s time to reminisce on my time here in Canada. Since my last post in October, I’ve done and seen some pretty cool things!thumb_img_7490_1024

Let’s start with my birthday. I was lucky enough to spend my 20th birthday here in Canada with my new friends and amazing housemates… who even bought me ice-cream cake! (Who knew Canada had the best ice-cream cake ever?!)

This then brings us to Halloween… which is just like the movies. Everyone goes all out, not just for 1 night either – 3 nights in a row! I was somewhat sensible and stayed in for 1 night, but made the most of it at house parties with my housemates and English/Australian exchange friends.

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The weekend following Halloween, a group of us went on a road trip into New York State to stay at a house in the mthumb_img_7594_1024ountains for the weekend. With one of the most beautiful views I’ve seen, the massive two story house was incredible – set with a spa and outdoor fire.thumb_img_7653_1024

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What a great weekend it was – cooking meals with that view, relaxing in the spa and hiking through the mountains!

My most recent adventure took me to Toronto for a weekend. Only 2 1/2 hours away by train, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend some time in another amazing city. My friends and I went to a Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey game, went up the CN Tower, did some shopping, went to the Christmas Markets and of course the Santa Clause Parade!

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While I’ve certainly been busying exploring, I’ve also had a heap of uni work to do. With mostly group projects, the work here has been quite different to home, but having the pass/fail system definitely takes the pressure off and has allowed to go to all these amazing places!

My time in Kingston is coming to an end, and saying goodbye to all my new friends is definitely going to be hard. But my adventure isn’t over yet. In 2 weeks I fly to the UK to spend Christmas with my best friend at her new home in Wales, before flying back to Canada to backpack the West Coast of Canada and the US with some of my new Australian friends. I then meet up with my dad and sister in San Francisco to finish off my journey! As this chapter of my adventure ends, the new one is just beginning – so stay tuned for my next update… wherever I may be!

 

 

Canada – some tips on how to fit in

Moving to a different country obviously means having to adjust to the different culture. Even similar countries like Canada and Australia vary quite considerably. Things we say or do, or our tastes, in general, are strange to them (as many Canadians have pointed out), and vice versa.

Some tips:

  • A flat white coffee comes in one size. Order a latte instead. Canadian coffee sucks.
  • Hot chips are “fries” (duh).
  • Bread and milk taste weird.
  • Main meals are called “Entrees” and entrees are called “Appetizers” on menus.
  • Tax (GST and Provincial Sales Tax) are added on top of the listed price. So if a price tag says it is $10, that means $10 + tax.
  • Although they officially use the metric system, most Canadians use pounds for a measurement of weight. You may want to learn the conversion rate so you don’t scare yourself looking at the scales.
  • Be prepared to explain how Netball, AFL and Union or League work. They have no idea.
  • If you say “ice hockey” they will most likely correct you to just “hockey,” as if there is only one variation of the sport.
  • They celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. Depending on who you’re with, they go hard out with the dress up and the decor.

    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving

Halloween

Halloween

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Their GPA scale is 0-4. If you say “4s open doors” they will think you’re more studious than you are.

    I argue this is okay because I am half Canadian

    I argue this is okay because I am half Canadian

  • Canadian students (at least at the University of Calgary) are VERY studious. Find the fun ones.
  • If you drive, you can turn right on a red light after stopping in most provinces.
  • If you don’t hold the door open for a person within 5 metres of you, then you are an asshole. To be safe hold it for anyone within 7 metres.
  • Guys may get patted down walking into clubs.
  • Recycle everything or you will feel like a bad person.
  • They call a maple leaf the “Canadian leaf” or the “Canadian flag leaf”, because they are so proud. I get this whenever I show a Canadian my tattoo.
  • As Canada is bilingual, most things, including road signs and packaging, are written in both English and French. If you go to Quebec (the French-speaking province), the people tend to live up to French stereotypes, not Canadian.

 

They live up to their stereotypes –

Broken down in the Tim's car park

Broken down in the Tim’s car park

  • They are polite and helpful, and they do say “eh” and “aboot” (but they don’t always think they do).
  • Poutine (hot chips, gravy and cheese) is delicious if done correctly. Generally, you should avoid poutine in fast food restaurants.
  • Maple syrup is a staple.
  • Tim Horton’s (coffee shops) are everywhere and sacred. On a road trip, our van broke down in a Tim’s car park. Four nice Canadian men wearing flannelette shirts came over and helped fix our van. Our Canadian friend brought them Tim’s gift cards as a thank you. As the photo suggests, this was, and still is, my most Canadian experience.
  • Ice hockey is big with most Canadians. It is also awesome. Go to a game or two.

 

 

 

 

Things most Canadians won’t understand:

  • Words like “bottle-o,” “fortnight,” or just general slang.
  • “Thongs” are flip-flops here (duh), but enjoy watching people’s faces when you tell them you’re wearing thongs. Especially old people.
  • Why you like Vegemite (if you do) – which by the way, you can find at London Drugs (in Calgary anyway).
  • That magpies are crazy, blood-thirsty, dangerous animals. Apparently they don’t swoop here but I haven’t been around in the Spring to verify this. If you flinch walking past a magpie there is a good chance they will laugh at you.
  • Some occasions when you’re being sarcastic or insulting, especially if you use the word “mate” in there. They get the obvious stuff, just not the subtler ones.

Hope this helps.

As always, email me at emma.blatz@ucalgary.ca is you have specific questions.

Emma

Fall Celebrations at Bishop’s University

fall coloursI’ve been loving Fall here in Canada. The colours are amazing, let me tell you. But another thing I’ve been enjoying are the Fall celebrations! Here’s the lowdown on the three main events I’ve had fun with this season…..

  1. Homecoming! The most purple-filled weekend of the year.

coulter fieldThis weekend involved sports games attended by the whole school, a tailgate, keggers, alumni visiting and an insane amount of school spirit.

  1. Thanksgiving! My first ever. (People kept asking me what the Australian version of Thanksgiving is but there really isn’t one!)

thanksgiving dinnerI got a very kind invite to spend the weekend with my friend Anna and her family at their home in Toronto. So after a carpool to Montréal, bus to Ottawa and another bus to Toronto, 12 hours later we arrived at Anna’s house. Most of the weekend was spent meeting Anna’s friends and family, exploring downtown Toronto, shopping, drinking pumpkin spice lattes, watching baseball and football games, walking along Lake Ontario and sightseeing over the Toronto skyline. Oh and there was Thanksgiving Dinner of course (so much good Canadian food!)

  1. Halloweekend! The three-day event celebrating Halloween.

halloweekend night 2From my first week at Bishop’s, I’d heard people talking about this weekend which involved students wearing a different costume each night. Luckily it lived up to the hype. There were a lot of things going on over the weekend but the main events looked like this:

  • Thursday: Happy Hour at the campus bar
  • Friday: Party at Animal House, a backyard party where students typically dressed in animal onesies
  • Saturday: Gait Night where the campus bar was turned into a club for the lucky 900 across the whole school who scored tickets (thankfully I was one of them)

mont orfordAll in all, this Fall has not disappointed! Now it’s time to enjoy the rest of these colours before Winter rolls in!

 

 

My First Month at Queen’s

I’ve reached Week 6, and although I’m swamped with all sorts of assessment and preparation for classes, the fun hasn’t died down! At the end of September, a few other exchange students and myself hired some cars and drove 3 hours north to the beautiful Algonquin Provincial Park. The weather was amazing, but a little chilly, so perfect for walking to a viewing points and having lunch near one of the picturesque lakes. It was a long day but definitely worth it and an amazing sight to see with the trees starting to change colours! 

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Come October 7, Thanksgiving weekend started. My housemate Julia was kind enough to invite me and our other housemate on exchange to head to London, Ontario to spend Thanksgiving with her family! It was so nice to go to a family home and experience a true Canadian Thanksgiving. The whole family were so kind and hospitable and really made us feel at home. They took us to an ice hockey game, apple and pumpkin picking, involved us in cooking dinner and finished the weekend with a trip to the cinema.

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Of course this then leads us to the most recent event… Homecoming! What a crazy, crazy weekend. All Queen’s students fill the streets from early in the morning to start their partying, which continues right on into the night. Queen’s alumni come back to Kingston to celebrate their time at Queen’s and join in on the partying! Everyone is dressed in Queen’s colours – blue, red and yellow if you couldn’t tell from the photos – and Queen’s merchandise! So much fun!

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My time at Queen’s so far has been nothing short of amazing, thanks to my wonderful housemates and new friends! I still have some exciting trips coming up so stay tuned for my next post!

Calgary – things to do and know

5 weeDowntown Calgaryks into my exchange at the University of Calgary and I have some updates for you back home.

My last post had lots of information about the university and O Week at U of C. This time I would like to focus more so on Calgary and Alberta. Calgary is the perfect city in size, people and activity. Calgary has about 1.1 million people meaning that it has a lot of great services but isn’t too big.

 

 

 

Firstly – transportation

Calgary has two train lines, the Red and the Blue. While staying at U of C you will likely only use the Red line which travels NE to SW. Although the train isn’t all that quick around Calgary, it is convenient and takes to right into the heart of the downtown area. There is a stop at the university (although it is on the other side of the campus), and stops to all major areas including sporting grounds.

Calgary’s buses are decent. I find them comparable to ones in Brisbane, not super fast, but not horrible either. There are a number of routes traveling from the university to close shopping malls or districts, however, unless going somewhere nearby, the trains are generally easier. The best part of public transit here is that you pay $130 at the beginning of the semester to get a UPass sticker for you university ID, which you then show the drivers, and you don’t have any more to pay.

Taxis are not as expensive here as back home (but you will hear Canadians complain about them). You will be expected to tip though, so keep that in mind and maxis aren’t really a thing. There is sadly no Uber 🙁

 

View from Ha Ling Peak, Canmore

Secondly – activities

There is an abundance of fun activities to do in Calgary and the surrounds. Small concerts are held on the university grounds every so often as well as around the city reasonable frequently. Keep your eyes peeled for posters around campus or the city. If not in Calgary, then artists usually perform in Banff which is a rather short bus trip away.

There are incredible hikes or walks close to the city. I recently hiked Ha Ling Peak in Canmore (about 1 hour drive), which was difficult (partly due to my fitness level, but also due to the thinner air) but definitely worth it for the view. It gets quite cold up the top so bring layers!

 

Radium Hot Springs, BC

Radium Hot Springs, BC

10 friends and I also took a road trip to Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia (BC). The trip was about 3.5 hours (if the van hadn’t broken down) and absolutely worth every penny! As we drove to Radium, every corner brought new mountains and magnificent views, while the town itself was full of awesome walks and, of course, hot springs!

If you are looking for something closer to Calgary I would recommend ice skating or catching a game of Canadian football or ice hockey. You can ice skate on campus at the Olympic Oval for $5 skate and helmet hire. Entry is free. All U of C Dinos games are free and the football games walking distance from campus (the hockey is just a train ride away).

At a Hitmen game

^^This is Josh^^

Calgary Stampeders (football) games are walking distance (McMahon Stadium) and you can get tickets in the nosebleeds for $25 (if you buy a few days early). The Calgary Flames (ice hockey) games are held at the Scotiabank Saddledome a bit more expensive and worse seats but look for deals on StubHub or for student games.

 

Otherwise the Calgary Hitmen, a team in the WHL (so under 23 ice hockey) also play at the Saddledome and tickets will likely be cheaper.  Or if you’re like me, become friends with someone who gets free tickets (thanks Josh)!

 

 

Of course I should mention all of the bars and clubs around the city. Everyone has different tastes so I will let you figure that out for yourself. I will say that The Den (on campus) turns into a conveniently located club on Thursdays, and that Commonwealth is also popular. As far as bars go – Ranchman’s on Saturdays (country), Kilkenny’s (at Brentwood – about 10 minutes on the bus and great for sports) and The Ship & Anchor (17th Ave SW – great for food) are all a bit of fun. It’s a good idea to carry cash out, as some places only take cash at the bar. Ladies also get in cover-free on Wednesdays at Cowboys because it is ladies night. Remember to tip!

Stephen Ave Walk

Stephen Ave Walk

And of course, more known things like the Calgary Tower, Stephen Ave Walk and the path along the river are also great for a free day.

 

 

Finally – weather

Be warned that the weather can change quickly. One day it will be cool, but sunny and the next day will be snowy. Dress in layers!

 

That’s it for now but as usual, if you have specific questions, email me at emma.blatz@ucalgary.ca.

 

New Plays Festival at Bishop’s University

turner studioLast night marked the end of this year’s New Plays Festival at Bishop’s University! It’s been a busy few weeks from the auditions in Frosh Week to closing night, and all the daily rehearsals in-between, but boy has it been fun. I’m going to start out by saying, since drama class in school, I’ve had zero experience in theatre before my involvement with New Plays. However, as an Entertainment Industries student at QUT, theatre is an interest of mine, typically in the sense that I enjoy seeing productions whenever possible. I’ve seen productions in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as New York’s Broadway and London’s West End.

Needless to say, theatre is an entertainment form I enjoy. Because of this, when I heard Bishop’s was holding a student theatre festival, I was interested in getting involved. I was hoping to get a position working backstage. However, I didn’t know enough about the different positions and assumed that without experience, I would have no chance. So I decided to sleep in the morning of the auditions instead.

Eventually that day I headed down to lunch where I met my friend Alice who had just returned from auditions. After hearing that I had originally been interested in getting involved, she convinced me to just go and talk to the coordinators about potential positons backstage. So I thought ‘why not?’.

I showed up at Turner Studio asking if there were any positions backstage for a student with no experience but willing to learn. The first thing I was asked was ‘if I had considered auditioning for an onstage role because my accent could make for an interesting character addition’. After considering this for a few moments, I said I would be happy to, but I would prefer to gain experience backstage rather than onstage. And with that I was taken off to meet one of the directors, who soon became my director, as I landed a role as a stage manager.

cast photo 1It all happened so fast and I was excited but admittedly also a little freaked out once I heard there was practice every day (since this was only my first week and I had planned not to get too tied down to anything as an exchange student) and that the play (titled ‘Dealing With It’ and based on real-life experiences) dealt with some heavy issues involving anxiety and depression. I was worried that combining the daily rehearsals (10pm-12am Monday-Thursday and 3 hours during the day Friday-Sunday) with the themes of the play, would potentially take a toll and make me not enjoy the experience. However, as it turns out I had nothing to worry about. There were certainly emotional rehearsals involved, I mean you can’t be involved in a play like that without feeling something! But the people I got to work with were so happy and friendly and we made sure we ended each rehearsal on a high note.

For those of you who have no clue what the role of stage manager entails (this was me early on), I’ll give you a quick rundown. Basically, during rehearsals I was there with a script, prompting the cast with their lines, and during the shows, I was the one in the headset running the show through lighting and sound cues.

The cue-to-cue rehearsal which took place in the final week of rehearsals (during homecoming weekend!) where I first worked cueing the lighting and sound, was a little messy, leaving me worried for the show. But I found by the next rehearsal, I’d got the hang of it. So by the time the shows rolled round, while I was a little nervous about something going wrong (I had ‘jokingly’ been told that if I messed up, I messed up the whole show  which was actually a fair assessment of the situation), I felt confident and found myself enjoying the stage manager role immensely.

To me, the fact that ‘Dealing With It’ was part of a whole festival of shows was just the best. This meant that over the period of a week, I, along with crowds full of other audience members, got to watch 9 different student plays (including Alice’s, who ended up getting cast in a comedy that had me laughing from start to finish), leaving me astounded with the level of talent this university has to offer in its theatre department. From scriptwriters, directors and actors, to lighting, set and costume designers; the list goes on.

The highlights of the whole experience for me were:

  • Cast Bonding (a night where we all hung out, played games, ate lots of food and drank sangria and jungle juice)
  • Getting the chance to really do my thing as stage manager and seeing thecast bonding show truly come together in tech and dress rehearsal and during the festival
  • Pre-show gifts where
    I was presented with thank-you gifts and cards from the cast, director and coordinators. I was super surprised to say the least as I’d seen them as being the ones doing all the hard work, I was just there having fun! But that’s just Bishop’s students for you; always surprising you with acts of kindness!

It’s definitely been a great experience for me where I’ve not only learnt valuable skills but also made some super cool and talented friends. I’m glad I pushed through the initial hesitation because now I know this is something I enjoy and I hope to stage manage again in the future!

Oh and we got a standing ovation too, so I guess the hard work payed off!

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And shout out to this lovely bunch: Kate, Natalie, Janelle, Adam, Julia, Kelly, Olivia, Dom, Taylor, Rachel, Mouadh, Emilie and Barbara

 

Studying Law at Dalhousie University and the Canadian Experience

I attended Dalhousie University from August to December 2015 during the fall semester. Overall the exchange experience has changed my life by opening my eyes up to the world, and given me a different perspective of my life in Australia.

Dalhousie University is based in the city of Halifax, located on the east coast of Canada in the province of Nova Scotia. Halifax is a relatively small city, with a population around 400,000. However this population increases greatly during the university semester, as thousands of Canadian students move to the town too study at the city’s multiple universities, Dalhousie being the largest. This large influx of students makes Halifax a fun and vibrant place for any Australian students to visit.

pic 1Choosing Canada as my exchange destination, I anticipated that I would experience much colder temperatures than I am used to in Australia. Halifax had its fair share of ‘freezing’ days, with temperatures falling below 0 degrees every other day. I was able to experience several days of snow, which is always a novelty for anyone from Brisbane. As the winter clothing I would use in Brisbane was not going to be enough, I decided to purchase heavier duty winter clothing while in Canada. I would recommend waiting until you travel to the cold climate to purchase winter clothing, as your destination will likely have cheaper and better quality clothing to offer.

While living in Halifax I stayed off-campus in a house with 4 other exchange students from around the world. The house was located within 10 minutes of Dalhousie and the city centre. Initially, the prospect of sorting out accommodation in Halifax while I was still in Australia was daunting. Luckily the university was fantastic setting up a Facebook group of other exchange students where you could organize shared accommodation. We used a website very similar to Gumtree,kijiji.ca, to find our accommodation. Given that Halifax is very much a university city, there are plenty of accommodation options for students staying off campus. The house was more than big enough, 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a large kitchen and living area. The monthly rent was $800 per person, which was on the more expensive side in terms of off campus accommodation. However this rent did include all utilities, which could have proved costly given the need for heating in Halifax.

pic 2The cost of living in Halifax will depend on how you prefer to spend your money. As the rent I paid was relatively high, I chose to live modestly when it came to my weekly budget. My weekly budget was $150, which covered me for food and any other desired activities. Living off campus, I had to prepare and cook all of my own meals. For food I would make a weekly trip down to ‘Sobeys’, the Canadian version of Coles and Woolies, which was only 5 minutes from my accommodation. When first arriving in Halifax, there were several things I had to buy for the house, including pillows, sheets, towels and kitchen equipment. I purchased all of these items at Walmart, a great place for bargain shopping, located around 20 minutes on the bus from the city centre. Internet and a phone were two important things that I also had to organise when I arrived. Having wireless internet in our house was surprisingly affordable, with our internet provider Bell charging us $50 each month for unlimited downloads. For my phone, I set up a prepaid account with Rogers using my own phone, and only spent $15 a month for calls and texts, relying on WI-FI to access the internet. The only other major expense I had in Halifax was purchasing the required health insurance from Dalhousie.

While at Dalhousie I studied 4 law electives, those being Health Law, International Law, Conflicts of Private International Law and Criminal Procedure. Law school is quite different Dalhousie, with the classes being much smaller than any I had previously done at QUT. The smaller classes allowed me to get to know my classmates more and have even greater access to the professors. The way courses were delivered at Dalhousie was also vastly different to QUT. Each course had 2 lectures each week with no tutorials. All but one of my courses delivered these lectures without the visual aid of a power point, something I was accustomed to coming from QUT. Additionally, the only assessment of the semester is a final exam worth 100% of your grade. The differences between studying at Dalhousie and QUT made it far more difficulty than I had anticipated. However I undertook the challenge willingly, and spent the first few weeks adapting to the learning methods of Dalhousie. If I had to do the semester over again, I would have chosen to lighten my workload and only do 3 subjects, given that I had to adjust the way I learnt drastically and at the same time trying to accustom myself to life in Halifax. Overall I believe that my experience at Dalhousie, and the knowledge I acquired, will help me not only in my QUT studies but also in my future career.

pic 3Being able to spend four months in Halifax allowed me to explore everything it had to offer. Halifax has plenty to offer in terms of nightlife, with a huge range of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Ice hockey is also a must do in Canada, and going to watch Halifax’s home team the Mooseheads was always a great time. While Halifax is small enough to get around most places on foot, public busses also ran in regularly, providing an easy way to get around. One of the best things about living with other exchange students is being able to share this experience with them. All of my housemates were eager to see the city and travel around Nova Scotia. In fact, one of the highlights of my entire exchange experience was a weekend road trip with my housemates to the beautiful Cape Breton Island in the north of Nova Scotia.

While in Halifax, I also grew very accustomed to Canadian culture. While most Australian’s find freezing winters unappealing, Canadians instead revel in the cold. For them, living in the cold is a part of the Canadian identity, and fits in perfectly with their national sport of Ice Hockey. Canadian cuisine also varies from Australia as a result of their cold winters. I could not count the number of times I visited a Tim Hortons, Canada’s national café chain, for a hot chocolate. Poutine, which is as simple as fries covered in cheese and gravy, is another Canadian specialty that was a regular meal of mine. Being able to experience various parts of the Canadian culture made the exchange experience that much more rewarding, and has given me even more reason to visit again in the future.

pic 4In describing my exchange experience to others, I have a habit of using the same phrase – life changing. Being able to live in another country for an extended period of time and become accustomed to another way of life was as challenging as it was rewarding. On my exchange, I was able to improve my personal skills and meet plenty of new people, make some lifelong friends and see a unique and exciting part of the world. Studying in another country has also greatly enhanced my education experience and given me different learning skills that I will be able to apply to my study at QUT. I also believe that my international experience will appeal to future employers in the globalised world we currently live in. I would strongly encourage other students to undertake a university exchange in order to experience life in a foreign culture and enhance both their academic and personal skills.

Frosh Week at Bishop’s University

My semester at Bishop’s University is now well under way and I couldn’t be happier about it!

field dayIt all began with Move-In Day where I was greeted by friendly students, happy to help carry my bags to the top floor of the residence building where I’m living. Here I have a room to myself which comes with a single bed, dresser, desk, chair, bedside table, closet, and sink, as well as a bathroom that I share with my roommate next door.

first football gameAfter moving in, the university organised some events and activities to get to know the other students. Here I met group of friends who I spent the rest of the day with which meant going to the first football game of the season (or in my case, my first Canadian football game ever), then hanging out in one of the apartment style residences, before heading out to a party in a house occupied by a group of upper year students.

The following day marked the beginning of O-Week also known here as Frosh Week. This meant choosing our teams for the week. At Bishop’s this was not just a spontaneous decision. We’d been introduced to the different teams and leaders over social media in the weeks leading up. We were then encouraged to speak to every team before making a decision to join the one that best suited what we wanted to get out of Frosh Week. Every team had a name which combined the theme of the week (School of Rock) with the university. The team I chose was ‘Rich Homie Gaiters’ (the students and sports teams here are called ‘Gaiters’), and I’m so glad I did! I had an absolute ball with this team, made some great friends and met some incredible people.

field day team photoOnce the teams were picked, Bishop’s didn’t slow down the whole week. The week consisted of opening and closing ceremonies, parties every night, crazy challenges to win points for your teams, concerts, a scavenger hunt across town, a glow-in-the-dark run, a dance battle, singing the school song to the principle outside his house one night, seminars, panels, tours, movie night, play auditions, games and much more!

massawippi shoreAs if there wasn’t enough excitement already, I got to celebrate my birthday during Frosh Week! Before coming to Bishop’s I expected that with having just moved to a new country, I wouldn’t scavenger huntknow anyone well enough to properly celebrate it this year. However, I was so wrong. My lovely new group of friends decided to surprise me with a personalised cake they had made that day, and I was sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to by the entire Frosh Week student body, before we partied on that night.

Frosh Week has been one of the most fun-filled weeks of my life and even though it’s now over, my life at Bishop’s is just beginning.remember how you entered