So today it is exactly one month since I arrived in Canada, and it’s gone so fast! Western already feels like a home to me, and though many students hate the almost constant snow flurries, I love them because snow makes everything look beautiful. Arriving in London in the middle of the ‘Polar Vortex’ freeze with lows of -40°C was a bit daunting though! I’m living in halls over here, and there’s almost 30 students just on my floor which was a bit daunting at first, but everyone’s really friendly and has made me feel welcome. Getting to campus is a short five minute walk from halls, and I get to cross the Thames River (everything here has stolen English names!) every morning to get to class- the view never disappoints:


The campus itself is beautiful, and it’s not that uncommon to see wild deer grazing on University hill in the evenings. So far I’ve been to see my first ever Ice Hockey match where the Western Mustangs won 7-1, I’ve experienced the epic ‘Frost Week’ hall parties, I’ve been ice skating (albeit very badly) at Victoria Park and I’ve seen local legend Rick McGee perform at the Spoke café on campus. Western always has lots of fun free events running that anyone can attend, so it’s keeping me busy alongside my studies. I’m taking three Geography modules and one Anthropology module whilst I’m here, and I’m really enjoying all of them and loving that I have the opportunity to study topics I wouldn’t normally get the chance to. However, I definitely wasn’t prepared for the constant stream of work – I’ve already had mid-terms, quizzes and assignments; which is completely different to Southampton where everything happens in the last few weeks of term. I like the challenge though, and it takes a bit of the pressure off knowing my grades don’t all rest on one final exam. I also have an evening class which finishes at 9pm, which took some time to adapt to, especially with the time difference!

I was surprised at how different the Canadian culture is to the UK. I honestly didn’t think I’d experience any type of culture shock moving to another English speaking country, but it’s the little things that throw you off- there are quite a few language differences, the money is pretty confusing and the food is certainly taking some getting used to! One part of Canadian culture that I am used to however is their love of winter sports, and with the Winter Olympics starting soon I’m definitely going to be cheering on Canada as they have much more of a chance of winning medals than we do!

Finally, here are a few things I’ve learnt so far in my first month in Canada:

    • Everyone is really, really polite. It’s so odd to get asked how your day is all the time.
    • There is always a queue for Tim Horton’s. Always.
    • Instead of surreptitiously watching football in class, guys watch ice hockey matches.
    • The lecturers are a lot more informal over here, and people tend to speak up a lot more in class.
    • In class barely anyone hand-writes lecture notes like we do in Southampton; everyone types them on their macbook (because everyone has a mac).
    • They drive on the right. You’d think this would be an easy concept to grasp, but after waiting in the snow for ages then watching my bus drive past as I realized I was waiting on the wrong side of the road wasn’t great.
    • Tax is the worst thing. They add it on to prices at the till so you can never work out how much change you need beforehand.
    • There are (secret) underground tunnels that connect a lot of the buildings on campus together so you don’t have to spend as long outside in the cold. It’s also very easy to get lost in them.
    • Canadians really do say eh. A lot.


Waiting for the hockey to begin!


The view out of my window on my first morning waking up in Canada.


My halls of residence.


First month in Canada

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