One of the main draws of going to UBC for me was the prospect of travelling and getting the chance to see more of North America. Having just returned from a month long road trip down the west coast of the US, i can say that it was without doubt one of the best experiences of the year abroad, and indeed my life! Continue reading
The end is nigh….
Vancouver’s Top 7….
Over the last two semesters at UBC I have been lucky enough to explore Vancouver – and what a place it is to explore! But instead of pursuing the usual cliches of the ‘breath taking views’ and ‘friendly Canadian atmosphere’ I thought I’d attempt to put together a quick bucket list of things to see and do in and around the city for anyone who’s heading over here, and hopefully include some things we’ve stumbled upon which are slightly off the beaten track and not in the Lonely Planet guide! Continue reading
Not a bad view of Vancouver from campus.
The second semester is now well underway and has absolutely flown by! Its currently ‘reading week’ so I thought I’d take a minute to recap over my time at home over christmas and the semester so far. Continue reading
December was definitely a tale of two halves! The first being that of the dreaded final exams. Admittedly the extent of these exams did come as a little bit of a shock having spent the year convincing myself that the Canadian style of continual weekly assessment would result in little more than a pub quiz at the end of term. In the end however, the exams were not too bad, and the fact that I had been forced to review content throughout the term meant that revision for the final exams was not as traumatic as usual.
The last month has flown by so quickly I’ve hardly had time to sit down and write my blog! FIlled with assignments, more quizzes, and the dreaded Midterms, it has definitely been the hardest month since arriving here, and right up here with anything I’ve experienced at Durham. The sheer volume of work has been difficult to manage, made much harder by living in such a amazing part of the world, with uncountable distractions wherever you look – It has never been easier to procrastinate! With the continual assessment it has quickly become apparent that staying on top of your work is key – no more cruising through 2 terms preparing yourself for the mad last term like back in Durham. Of the two completely different systems however, I’m still not sure which I prefer. Maybe I will have a better idea when my results start coming back in, but it certainly takes time to adjust between the two. The system here forces you to keep constantly reviewing your work, which actually really helps to remain engaged with the content – for the first time in a long while I actually understand what is going on in lectures….to some degree anyway, which makes a refreshing change.
So I’m now 5 weeks into term, and to say the last month has been fairly busy would be a serious understatement! There is so much going on around campus, not to mention in and around the city itself, that the last couple of weeks have been fairly non stop. Classes are now in full swing, and one of the biggest adjustments since arriving here has been adapting to the teaching / assessment methods. Unlike in Durham where all the exams are generally in the final term, here you are assessed constantly with class ‘quizzes’ every other week ( they’re not as fun as they sound ), assignments and lab reports to be handed in each week, and midterm exams dotted throughout the term. The work load is fairly constant however, because the ‘summative’ parts of the course are spread fairly evenly throughout the term, there is much less of a build up to the usual intense last term and final exams back in Durham. At least that’s what I have been assured….
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.