So it’s finally time to start my year abroad! As I begin writing this several thousand feet above the Atlantic, I’m glad to be on my way though getting this far has been anything but straightforward! Preparations to go away seemed endless and occasionally rather problematic. The process for applying for a study permit for instance proved rather more stressful than I had anticipated upon realising that my passport was not going to cover the duration of my stay. A quick phone call to the passport office and a mad dash upto Durham later however I was back on track. Flights were soon booked and the cases packed with all the essentials, and a few less crucial extras like a skateboard just to make things a little more challenging.
I was soon on my way to Manchester airport at the less than friendly time of 5:30am to catch my 12:00 flight. A little early with Manchester about a two hour drive away? I thought so too until a slight petrol/diesel mix up resulted in an AA call out about an hour outside of Manchester. Frantic calling for a local taxi company followed until eventually we were back on our way thanks to Telecar Taxis! A mad airport dash is one way to wake you up.
9 hours later and I had landed and was on my way to stay with a friend near downtown Vancouver for the night before move in day. My first impressions were how astonishingly beautiful the place is!! You can’t fail to be taken back – looking in every direction you find something of epic proportions from the Rockies to the North/East, to the Pacific Ocean to the West! Moreover, once you begin talking to the locals you realise that they are indeed as friendly as their reputation suggests! Feeling like a typical Brit on my summer holiday, I immediately immersed myself in the local culture by heading out for an Indian takeaway….
The next day it was time to move into the campus residence which for me meant scaling 16 floors of the Walter Gage towers – the view from the top is most certainly worth the wait! Once again the people I met were all extremely friendly and from all corners of the globe. The campus itself is absolutely breathtaking with an extremely diverse range of architecture, and natural features, the most prominent of which being the beaches – beware the water is not quite at warm as it looks!!!
I guess now the honeymoon period may be over as classes start and assignments begin to be set however with so much to see and do, I really can’t wait. Next on my list is seeing an Ice hockey game, visiting Vancouver Island and learning how to make sushi! I will report back.