Lost in Translation

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“I can confirm that I didn’t find a new version of myself huddling beneath a snow drift, or have a kind, humble yeti carry me to his hut, spoon feed me cocoa, and beguile me with tales of old.”

Articulating how it feels to have left Calgary is a feat of magnitude. My attempts to explain to family and friends about the life I left behind have felt lack-lustre, and as I furrow my brow and nod my head assuredly at earnest questions such as, ‘was it as amazing as it looked?’, I feel unable to translate my genuine sentiment on the matter unto those who weren’t along for the ride.

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Katie Looks Back on her First Semester

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Campus in the Spring

It’s strange celebrating a birthday away from home, especially a big one like 21. I don’t think I would have imagined my 21st birthday to be spent eating burgers with another friend’s family in a small town in Canada, but hey, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

Since the last blog post, life has been a whirlwind of activity: I have visited NYC for the first time with my family, sat the longest bout of “midterms” you will ever hear of, been to Montreal for a second time, experienced the Toronto Christmas Market, become closer friends with a few of the “locals”, attended handfuls of Zumba classes, and discovered the Williams Cafe on campus – a delightful island in a sea of overpriced bad food. Continue reading

Fall-en into Winter

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“After a trip to the British Import Store where I almost cried with nostalgia over a box of original Heinz baked beans and a packet of wine gums, and following a few cups of Yorkshire tea I found my resolve and evolved into Emma generation two – Canada edition”

Well, fall certainly fell away as quickly as it arrived. I’d been happily instagramming campus without even having to feed my photos through a rosy-golden tinted filter due to the abundance of multi-toned maple leaves which cast an effortless glance of Autumnal colour upon their surroundings. I’d even been caught using the word ‘fall’ in place of ‘Autumn’ – a harmless yet alarming example of the many northamericanisms I have delevoped since coming here.

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On The Road Again

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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

Final Exams and Start of the Road Trip

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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.boys-Tom and Joe Continue reading

All’s Well That Ends Well

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My final day in California – cold and wet but on top of the world!

It’s been almost two months since I left Calgary and yet that part of my life already seems like an age ago. I’ve travelled so much recently that I currently feel very far away from what I’ve come to view as my second home. Especially now that I’ve finally ended up in Belize, somewhere which is miles apart from Canada, both quite literally (6,239km to be exact) and in other senses; the climate, the culture, the languages, the food. You name it, it couldn’t be more different. Whilst adapting to this new Belizean lifestyle, which I currently find myself indulging in, I’ve had some time to reflect on my experiences since leaving Heathrow last August. This year has broadened my perspectives and changed my attitude towards others; it’s taught me how to respond to new people and unfamiliar ways of life.  In that sense I’ve learnt considerably more than I could have ever done at home – not just in the academic sense. I have thought long and hard about the things I’ve learnt whilst being abroad and, as this is my last post, I would like to share them with you.  I hope this proves to be good advice, wherever you travel in the world. Continue reading

Let Loose From Calgary! Time to go Travelling and Surviving in San Francisco

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I made it to San Francisco!

So it’s been around three weeks since I left Calgary and what a jam-packed adventure so far! It’s been quite the whistle-stop tour of the west coast; stopping off in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle. Right now I’m currently residing with my sister in San Francisco and have been here for around ten days. It’s been wonderful to stay in this quirky, diverse and gritty city whilst attempting to get to grips with its often surprising and eccentric inhabitants. Nevertheless I can’t help but feel the occasional pang of longing for my Canadian friends across the border. I will miss Canada for all its charm and courtesy (and there’s no Tim Hortons here either!). America feels far more dogged and rough-edged than its polite and reserved neighbours further north. Continue reading