I can’t possibly end this short and terse series of blogs with the words ‘we flew home’. My year abroad has been such a wide and varied experience that it deserves a greater tribute. Continue reading
The last few months have been some of the best of my life. After a year of studying abroad, I treated myself to a heavily extended road trip around Canada and the USA. I could not even scratch the surface of how amazing this experience was. I have visited Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, New York, Maine, Algonquin national park, and many places in between. I was accompanied by my girlfriend, Amy, who joined me in Canada for the experience.
-Me and Amy, soon after her arrival. Continue reading
I have finished!
The last few months of my exchange were pretty hectic.The fourth year courses that I was taking were less prescriptive than the third year courses for which I was examined at the end of the last term. I found myself having to work very hard to keep atop of them. In the lead up to the final exams, I was spending twelve hours a day in the library. The exams themselves were spread sympathetically. I had at least two days between each exam and I am sure that this contributed to being awarded a mark of 80% back in Durham for my year abroad. Not that I noticed. My travel plans began abruptly after my final exam.
24 hours after my final exam, I was Boarding a plane for Vancouver with two friends, Tom and Joe.-Tom and Joe Continue reading
Reading week is over and my exams are almost upon me. Some friends decided to come and visit me during reading week. I had a mad four days trying to get all of my work out of the way before they arrived. I didn’t really manage it, but I did get a lot done. It was great to see them, and made me miss home a bit. We all decided to go skiing, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made since I got here. It has been 14 years since the last and only time I have tried skiing.
-Skiing Continue reading
And I’m back in Canada!
This first month back has been very busy. The courses I am taking this semester have turned out to be more difficult than those I took last semester.
The Christmas break is two weeks long. Travel to England takes a full day, and effectively more when jet lag is considered. Despite a tight flight schedule, I was left with one week five days in the UK. It was lovely to be back. My parents have obtained a larger house since in my absence and the extra space makes for an even nicer visit.
The grading of exams and coursework in Canada is more prompt than I have been used to in England, and the final grade for the course was characteristically expedient. I had my first grade just three days after taking my last exam. The exam period finished on the 19th of December and I had my full list of grades for the year within six days, with the last arriving at 2am on Christmas morning. Somehow I managed to get a set of four A+. I’m going to buy Mikey a beer when I get back for his help.
In this post I will detail what has been one of the more challenging months in my life.
The last month went by in a mad rush of study. I have never been involved in anything quite like studying for a third year final exam. Students that have not attended a single lecture begin to show up at the library with heavy textbooks, those more dedicated crowd hallways and classrooms scrawling across blackboards and shouting at each other. The professors attempt to impose some coherence upon this cacophony in an attempt to ensure that the average mark of their exams is around 60-70%.
My last post told of the brilliant and unexpected sunshine. This is definitely no longer the case. The temperatures dipped drastically about two weeks ago. Over the course of the last month the average temperature has dropped from hovering around 25 degrees in September, to a regular -5 now we have reached November. There is, however, one tree on campus that refuses to admit the change in weather.
One month in and I’ve settled in nicely. It didn’t take long to furnish myself with a bank account, phone, etc. People here seem very willing to be helpful, occasionally quite beyond my expectations. Even opening a bank account with no address or phone number worked. I just had to go pick up my mail from the bank where they would hold it for me until I found somewhere to live.
It seems like an age ago that I left my mum and girlfriend at Gatwick airport. We said a long goodbye. So long that by the time I had got through check in my flight was boarding and I walked straight onto the huge plane, the kind I always see in American movies. The size made it feel really powerful in the air and there was barely any turbulence. I watched England disappear from the window.