Enough from me, who else is loving their year abroad?

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16179437_1328911833798104_4017035432068824843_oWhy hello there you fabulous readers! Only one more month to go until I’m back in England. Honestly, can’t believe I just wrote that sentence, it’s insane how quickly the past few months have gone! Everyone is slowly realising that this awesome year is coming to an end and there are a lot of mixed emotions about it. I’m sure you’re all aware of how much I’ve loved this year abroad experience, so I thought I’d dedicate this blog post to a few of my fellow year abroaders living with me over here in Canada. Continue reading

Skiing: A very specific list of what not to do.

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img_9194Howdy, all you fabulous readers! Wow, what a crazy few days it’s been! I just got back from skiing at Sunshine Ski Resort in Banff and I must say I’m shattered. It was an extremely eventful and stressful trip and I’m still not entirely sure I’ve recovered, but overall it was an absolute blast! So whilst it’s still fresh in my mind, let me tell you all the things that went wrong and give you a few pro tips about what not to do when you go skiing. Continue reading

Christmas in Canada

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Well hello again you fabulous readers! It’s been quite a while since my last post so there’s a lot to fill you all in on.

Let’s start with Christmas Day.

Christmas Day in Calgary!

Now admittedly, I and most of us lonely international students that didn’t fly home for Christmas, were rather sceptical about how we’d be able to have a smashingly festive day, but we did!

With a bunch of Australians staying in our flat for the holiday, Christmas morning was an absolute delight. We had the classic cheesy Christmas tunes blasting out, everyone quickly skyped their families and then we dug into a spectacular breakfast and didn’t stop eating for the rest of the day.

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Christmas dinner was a very special affair. Much like our Thanksgiving dinner, we collected a whole bunch of tables and chairs and somehow squished 15 people into our little flat (with two Christmas trees might I add). Everyone brought food and was dressed as Christmassy as possible.

The Canadian weather couldn’t have been better. It had snowed non-stop for two days previously but Christmas day was beautifully sunny (and -20).

img_7454For many of us, it was our first white Christmas so we decided to prance around in the snow for a solid ten minutes until we started to freeze and had to run back inside to drink more Baileys.

The rest of the day was spent playing games, eating food, watching movies and eating more food. Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day with such perfect company. Overall, definitely one of my favourite Christmas Days yet.

Next, my travels!! This trip lasted 10 days and we tried to see as much of the east of Canada as possible. First stop, Toronto!

TORONTO

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Having been before many years ago, I was excited to see how much of it I’d remember- turns out I didn’t remember a thing. I felt just as touristy and lost as my travelling companions as we walked through the vast streets of Toronto. A truly great city that I could happily live in, but I must say there wasn’t a lot of culture to explore. The CN Tower was definitely the highlight so if you’re ever passing by I would definitely recommend it. But here are a few things I wish I knew beforehand.

Tips if you ever go to the CN Tower.

  • Get there super early. The first time we went they told us it would be a four hour wait…no thanks.
  • If you’re scared of heights, avoid the glass floor section, I still feel queasy just thinking about it.
  • If you want a drink at the top of the CN Tower, prepare to empty out your bank account.
  • Bring an awesome camera because the views are worth treasuring. 

MONTREAL

img_8279-1 Wow, were we still in Canada? Montreal felt like a whole new world! The snow was significantly thicker than Toronto, everywhere was within walking distance and, oh yeah, obviously everyone spoke French!

There were still very Canadian elements, (such as poutine still being everywhere and maple syrup being served as a side for a spinach and cheese pancake- are they insane?) but overall it did not feel like the spacious Calgary and Toronto we had just left behind.

We spent New Years Eve in Montreal and it was an absolute blast. We made a few friends in our hostel and then headed out to the big outdoor New Years Eve party for the countdown and fireworks. Around 80,000 people danced in the snow at -20, it was a pretty perfect way to start the year.

Tips for Montreal

  • Go to Schwartz! We were trying to find a bar but ended up here…classic me always finding food. They had the best smoked meat sandwich I’ve ever had in my life.
  • Walking up Mount Royal was easy, coming down was tricky- watch out for the ice! We had a few nice wipe-outs.
  • Make sure you’re on the right side of town when the train comes by- we were stuck for literally 20 minutes waiting for the longest train in history to go past.

QUEBEC CITY

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Everyone told us “oh you’ll love Quebec City, it’s just like a little city in Europe”. I must say they were right. Old Quebec had lovely little streets (I wish I could say they were cobbled but I have no idea as they were covered in snow) and the streets and shops were all so Christmassy and cute. With loads of cafes and chocolate shops dotted around it was also a treat to go to a new place for breakfast every day. We spent our time here walking around the city and exploring some culture, finally! Founded in 1608, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America which is quite a contrast considering that Canada is only 150 years old this year!

Tips for Quebec City

  • Wear appropriate shoes! The whole city is covered in a crazy amount of snow that turns into obstacles of slush. Although very amusing when trying to cross the road, our shoes will never be the same again.
  • Don’t order a large poutine. Or even a medium for that matter. Even for me, it was quite a marathon trying to finish it.
  • If you see a large area of snow without footprints, don’t think it’s a park and decide to walk through it. We ended up getting stuck in snow up to our waists!

So there you have it! My fabulous Christmas and New Years that I will never forget.

Also, if you want to see my video of last semester here is a link. Was tricky fitting 4 months into 4 minutes but I just about managed it!

Hope everyone back home had an awesome Christmas and New Years too! Let’s make 2017 another smashing year!

Till next time,

Sonia xx

Top 10 Moments (so far)

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15000762_1170867532969204_8375154948438180072_o-1Hello again fabulous readers!

As the semester is coming to a close (it’s the last week, where has the time gone?!) I thought it would be nice to go through my highlights of the semester. There is an unreal amount of great moments but I miraculously managed to narrow it down to 10 so you won’t get overwhelmed by how much fun I’ve had. Here goes…don’t forget to scroll over images! Continue reading

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! Continue reading

Orientation Week Completed!

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Hello again you fabulous readers! I’ve survived Orientation Week! (I know, I can’t quite believe it either).

I’ve had the best first week here at the University of Calgary, experiencing some amazing Canadian culture and meeting a crazy amount of people from all over the world. Admittedly my flat has befriended many fellow English people, but we also know a bunch of Australians, Dutch and, of course, Canadians.

I’m still working on fitting in with the Canadians, but my love for Drake has significantly increased so I’m half way there! Continue reading

The Final Countdown: 5 Things I did this Summer to Prepare Me for My Year Abroad

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IMG_2986 (2)Hello there you fabulous readers! Now, you might have to bear with me, I’ve become a tad excitable during the past few weeks as I prepare for my departure and I’m struggling to keep my cool.

I have just under one week until I’m off to Canada and, don’t tell anyone, I’m a little nervous. Although I’ve been before, a holiday isn’t quite the same as living and studying there for a year, and I can’t help feeling slightly unprepared. I’m always up for an adventure but the unknown can be daunting! That’s why, to calm my nerves, I spent the last few weeks of summer making the most of England and doing things that would help me look forward to Canada.

So here it is, my shortened list (believe me it was substantially longer) of must do’s to prepare me for my year abroad! Continue reading