Our Western Hoodies!
Our Western Hoodies!

If you are thinking, even for a second, about going on an Exchange, go. You will not regret it. It will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. Although my first month here in London (it’s ridiculous how many places have the same names, like Cornwall and Middlesex!) hasn’t be the smoothest, with the stress of revision for Semester 1 Exams (oh dear…) whilst meeting new people, starting new modules AND dealing with the fact that I’m in a completely different country surrounded by a completely different culture, I’ve still managed to have a brilliant time.

Firstly, the university set-up is very different. Everyone refers to University as ‘school’ with ‘classes’ taught by ‘professors’. Most lecture rooms have wheelie chairs, which have not been good for my concentration. I have also had the misfortune of a 7-9pm Lecture on a Tuesday (evening lectures are NOT fun). But, knowing people worse off than me with 7-10pm lectures kind of makes me feel a little bit better. Then within the modules, the marking system is very different. Everything seems to be out of 10 and in some modules, part of the assessment is made through class participation and debates. At first I thought this quite bizarre, but seeing how engaged the classes are here, it seems like a pretty good idea. There are also midterms which everyone seems to get in a panic about. And the university itself looks like something out of Hogwarts; church-like buildings covered in snow.

Fortunately, the stereotype of Canadians is indisputably true! Everyone really is extremely kind, and no one is boring I swear! Even when I went to the wrong building within my first week, a guy immediately offered to take me to the right one. Arriving in Canada into -17⁰C weather was a bit of a shock, which even Canadian’s were surprised by. This continued to drop below -20⁰C (feeling like -35⁰C!) Resultantly, the second day of term was cancelled with warnings that if you went outside for 5 minutes you would freeze, and you would die. Well that may be an over-exaggeration. But still, it was bloody cold. But now it’s over 0⁰C (horray), which just means A LOT of snow.

Over here there are two main types of food they seem to be obsessed with: poutine (chips, gravy and cheese) and frozen yoghurt (or FroYo as to cool kids say). I also adore the fact you can buy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from shops. Squirrels over here are black and it’s acceptable to go to a lecture wearing a white vest, a baseball cap and have a fully grown beard. University patriotism is also HUGE, with practically everyone wearing a university hoodie or hat, and you can literally buy anything from the university shop with the UWO logo on it, from an engraved parker pen to a mug for your Nan. So, you know, I thought I may as well join in…

People seem to be rather excited by the fact I’m British, if I say anything it’s immediately, “Wait, are you from England? Oh my god that so cool!”. Which you know, is good to know. But I’m still getting to grips with differences in words, like shrimps (prawns), pants (trousers), and people have so far asked me what a bender is.

Overall, this first month has been incredible. Meeting so many new people has just amazing, and I’ve never been so out-going before and I love it. In fact, this has actually led me to getting a place on an 11-day field trip to the Las Vegas strip and camping out in the Mojave Desert, California! So I really cannot wait for what the next month will bring – a moose hopefully…

So You’re British, Ey

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