Arriving in Canada for Huron’s International Pre-Orientation week barely gave me any time to catch my breath – or recover from the jet lag – before being thrown head-first into Western’s ‘O-Week’. After some hesitance and confusion at the constant enthusiasm of the Canadians, O-Week became 5 days in which the phrase I heard most often was “HURON, Oi Oi Oi!” echoing off the walls. To say that the students love their university is a gross understatement. This week saw main campus transformed into rallies, concerts and carnivals for the 6000 new ‘frosh’ to demonstrate their newly acquired school spirit. The first night of this week kicked off with a football game, and my very first experience of American football, which provided the perfect stage for the ‘Western pride’ that the whole place exudes. It’s very hard to miss the fact that the school colour is purple – something that was definitely out in force at the game!
The International Activities program at Huron is fantastic at organising out-of-town trips, and in three short weeks I have seen 2 of the Great Lakes, visited Canada’s Wonderland, and taken a trip to Niagara Falls. After going on the Maid of the Mist boat trip on a beautiful day, we had plenty of time to take in the stunning view and visit the dazzling array of tacky tourist shops that adorn the town of Niagara. There’s no way I was leaving without my souvenirs!
However, it’s not all been plain sailing, and I now have my typically English comment on the weather! I was aware that it rains a lot here in London, Ontario – I was not aware that they occasionally get tornadoes. After an epic 5 hour thunderstorm (complete with tornado warning) that caused classes to be evacuated to the basement, I’ve been forced to think twice before complaining about the rain!
Another thing I thought I was prepared for was maple syrup. If it can be put in food it will be, and there are products in supermarkets that would never even be dreamt of in England! Baked beans made with maple syrup… need I say more?