British University vs Canadian ‘School’

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14324411_10210698710769059_8881947420531825965_oWhy hello again you fabulous readers! So, I’ve almost been in Canada for 8 weeks now, and miraculously I’m surviving just fine, actually, I’m still having the best time ever! A lot has happened in the past few weeks; had a great weekend in Banff (read my other blog about it here), a spectacular Thanksgiving meal, and everyone is getting super excited about the upcoming four day Halloween weekend, they take it very seriously over here!

Check out these photos for some highlights, don’t forget to scroll over the images!

As much as I know you’d love to hear about every little detail of my life over the Atlantic, I thought I’d paint a better picture of my experience here by doing a University comparison. Durham versus Calgary. 184 years versus 50 years. Rain versus snow. Bring it on.

Campus. Castle versus Cascade.

OK, putting these two photos up for comparison might be a tad unfair, I don’t think these two University campuses could be more different. As a proud Castle student, I must say that I miss the charm of Palace Green and strolling through the almost 1000-year-old Durham Cathedral. The lack of cute coffee shops here in Calgary hit me hard and the thought of a 5-minute walk to Tescos (instead of getting a 20-minute bus) sounds too good to be true. Although Durham is pretty impossible to beat, I figured I still have to give Calgary a chance. I mean, not all universities have an Olympic Ice Rink now, do they?

So, instead of the classic cobbled streets in Durham, Calgary’s ‘sidewalks’ are surrounded by lush greenery and adorable rabbits, (technically hares), that accompany you on your walks to lectures.  No bear spottings yet but they do have black squirrels here that eat birds! Now that was a terrifying realisation.

Unsurprisingly, Calgary does not have a collegiate system. Instead, they have halls of residence or Rez (yes, with a ‘z’) where each building is appropriately named after a mountain in the Rockies. My building, Cascade, is named after Cascade Mountain which is near the Bow River Valley in Banff. The pictures below show the resemblance between the two.

As well as the very different campus life, academically the system here in Canada also took some getting used to. Exams are unnecessarily  named ‘Mid-Terms’ and ‘Finals’ even though they occur throughout the entire term (or should I say ‘semester’). People here don’t write essays, they write ‘papers’. And the amount of class participation (they don’t say lecture) is unreal. It’s a system that I am certainly warming to, even if I still refuse to call it ‘school’.

So there you have it, the main differences between Durham and Calgary. I honestly don’t think I could say which one I prefer, Durham will always be home but I must say, Calgary is suiting me very well.

Till next time folks! Happy Halloween!

Sonia xxx

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