Nine pictures to sum up one month of my Year Abroad in Canada
Hannah is a student at the University of Exeter and is spending her year abroad at the Université d'Ottawa where she is studying a wide selection of arts courses. You can read her latest updates on her blog, and here are nine pictures to sum up the first month of her year abroad in Canada.They say a picture paints a thousand words; that may be, but all the photos taken in the month-ish I’ve been on this adventure called the third year abroad, I know that they paint a picture of new-found courage, trying the new and sometimes scary – and that Canadians make friends of epic proportions!
When I first heard that a Canadian delicacy was the beaver tail, I wasn’t convinced I would partake of such a custom. Surely they’d be chewy and gross? Turns out, the beaver tail is a calorific delight on the train to Pastry Heaven. There are multiple toppings: lemon and cinnamon, Reece’s Pieces, cheese, M&Ms; but good old banana and chocolate is definitely my favourite. If I return to England with hips as wide as Ontario itself, Byward Market beaver tail stand is to blame!
This was taken at the close of an awe-inspiring weekend trip deep into the heartland of Quebec. Taken in Quebec City against the backdrop of the old town walls, this is picture never fails to make me smile – especially as I know how many attempts it took to achieve all six of us being off the ground.
My third year abroad has had one major aim: for me to uncover some courage. I managed to find some by going on a trip whale watching in the Atlantic. After three hours on choppy seas, our pale faces are prevalent! But feel bad for Nicola on the left, who spent most of the ride chucking her guts up. Oh, and we did see whales! What can I say? They’re big!
Every time I told people where I was spending my year abroad, their initial reaction was “good luck – it’ll be really cold.” And the induction meeting for exchange students at my host uni didn’t help as they provided us with a factsheet warning us of the dangers of cotton vests leading to frostbite of the nipples. Fortunately, some kindly Canadians took me coat shopping and I got to test different coats out in the shop’s winter simulator. This is me in what is essentially a giant freezer at -40 feeling like I’m inhaling razor blades. Winter will be…interesting.
Canada’s Parliament: it’s like Big Ben, Hogwarts and Buckingham Palace rolled into one! (British colonialism say what?) It’s a truly stunning building inside and out, with massive sprawling lawns which play host to free yoga every Wednesday and in the summer months, feature Canada’s history broadcast as a light show. I got to see it on its last day and it was phenomenal! It was clever and poignant and received a standing ovation from all the patriotic Canadians.
The poetry of Canada’s founders pays tribute to its stunning scenery and Fall has not disappointed. Seeing these colours, vivid and bright, as I stroll around campus and around the city has been a total joy. Maple leaves are the most incredible shade of red in the flesh. Sadly, they don’t taste of maple, which I only know after a dare to lick one…
Killing two birds with one stone by meeting a Mountie and a moose. I know I like my men hirsute, but this guy may be taking that a bit too far. This photo would perhaps be more successful if it didn’t have the sign “Ottawa Souvenirs” in the background. Hash tag must try not to be so touristy!
uOttawa liberally decorated the entire campus in welcome banners and billboards and it made me feel so welcome. Investment in students and a compassion towards them are probably the two key ingredients any institution needs to be a winner in my eyes.
There is nothing to make you feel more thoroughly North American than being wished a “Happy Thanksgiving!” and if I had won the wishbone with Julia, I’d have wished for a thousand more afternoons (and meals!) like the one I had for my Canadian Thanksgiving. Even if they do serve jello with turkey!
These pictures don’t fully do justice to the amazing month and a bit I’ve had out here, but they do capture in some small part the utter joy I feel on this adventure! Here’s to many more months of Canadian fun!