From hearing the formidable tornado alarms to being woken up by our residence sophs at 7am every morning during o-week; the first 10 days as a ‘frosh’ at Western University has been a complete whirlwind! ¬† Yes, being in university residence means that I can once again pretend that I am a frosh, new to Canada and Western University just as many other students are here. ¬†I was placed on a¬†global village¬†themed floor in residence which has provided a ¬†great opportunity to meet people from every corner of the globe – I thought my journey was long from the UK, but some students have travelled from as far as the Middle East, Africa and East Asia.

Football Game O Week

O-week (or freshers week) involved a combination of round-the-clock chanting, attending the Western Mustang football match, appearances of public speakers, ¬†performances from the Western national champion cheer leading squad, music performances and waking up at the crack of dawn for 5 days straight. Everyone organizing and taking part in O-week had so much energy and passion for the university and the incoming students that you start to really appreciate how lucky you really are to be studying at one of Canada’s leading institutes (not to mention its reputation for Canada’s leading party university). ¬†The biggest cultural differences between British and Canadian universities, I have discovered so far is university pride; they wear purple, they breath purple and they bleed purple (as admitted by one of the profs). ¬†One of the first activities that is mandatory for all frosh is to learn the university chants and songs, and to attend a rally where these are performed. ¬†As a slightly reserved and shy person this all felt very unnatural, however after participating in these rallies with 6,000 other first year and international exchange students you could really ¬†feel the sense of Western pride that flows through everybody studying and teaching at Western.

Huron CampusFood…food…glorious food – it’s in abundance wherever you look! ¬†Every street has at least 3 fast-food outlets selling Canada’s specialities, ¬†poutine, ribs and chicken wings. ¬†The chocolate milk has fuelled most of my mornings over the past week! ¬†We are still yet to take a trip to McDonalds to savor the McLobster.

The campus itself is absolutely beautiful, and you can even spot Canadian geese, beavers, skunks or raccoons roaming around if you’re lucky!

Class began on Monday with a sudden jolt, however the lecturers and fellow students all seem very friendly and willing to help us settle in: as soon as they here the English accent, they jump at the chance to talk as for some reason they are crazy about the English accent.

So far we have experienced some extremes of weather, from 34 degree heat to being stranded at a shopping mall due to a tornado warning, and as I write this thunder and lightening persists outside. In two weeks time, the international office at Western have organised a week-end trip to Niagara Falls which I hope will be a future blog entry with some stunning photos.

Canada so far has been a complete contrast  and positively exceeds everything I could have imagined about studying abroad.  After ten days I have met so many different people, both domestic and international students, discovered things about diverse cultures, made friendships for life and last but not least have taken on the purple with pride.

Canada eh?

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