Skip to main content

International Exchange

Some Advice for a First Month- Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada by Freddie Bennett.

30 September 2019

Hi, my name is Freddie and I am currently on a year abroad at Dalhousie University. I thought for a first blog post I could say a little bit about my first month as for anyone wanting to do a year abroad, it may be helpful to read about someone else’s experiences. It might not help you at all, but it might. I will try to summarise some of the more difficult things about the first month, and some of the really good bits too.

This is a view of Lawrencetown Beach earlier where we went Surfing with the Dalhousie Outdoor Society.

I will start by summarising some of the more difficult things. I think for anyone wanting to do a year abroad it is important to realise that you might not find a great group of friends right away. If, like me, you were lucky enough to find people in first year who turned out to be amazing and your closest mates, don’t really expect to find that again during your year abroad right away as you might not be so lucky again, and it could take more time. It is important to know that this is ok though as you have the time to find and meet new people. My advice would be just try not to worry and try to do things, keep busy or make different plans. A great thing about this university is that there is always something going on and it is fairly well- advertised so just keep an eye out. Then after these outings, actually be sure to contact the people you meet and make more plans with them. You will have bonded over something so try to carry that on, don’t let the day be wasted.

Another slightly difficult thing about this opening month has been about the work life itself. Being in the UK, you might have one essay due at the end of the course than one exam at the end. Here it is very different, the work is pretty intensive so be prepared to do some studying. There are mid term exams, end of term exams and more assignments, so the work comes quickly and it has started pretty intensively. But this is also quite good as you have grades not just resting on one exam which can definitely be very stressful.

Now to some really good bits. To begin with, as I have the least to say about it, my classes are properly interesting. Also, my professors are really nice people who have been really helpful in my opening month. If you ask for help, they are very approachable and want to help you- this is only based on my experiences but it says a lot about the university more generally.

This is from inside the Scotiabank Centre on Friday for the Mooseheads opening game of the season.

Moreover, as I mentioned earlier there is always some activity going on. I would recommend the Dalhousie Outdoor Society, but there are others. The Outdoor Society organise great hikes and things but, for instance today, they organised a surfing trip (picture above) which was great fun. Though I spent most of the time falling, it was a really good thing to do and a great way to meet new people so I would highly recommend them. Also, if you are a student, they lend you Outdoor gear for free (I think there is a deposit), so if you fancy a camping trip with your mates, it would be easily organisable.

Finally, this weekend I delved properly into Canadian culture by attending my first Ice Hockey game. Just go to one of these games if you come here, or indeed anywhere in Canada. Though the local team lost (Halifax Mooseheads 1-3 Charlottetown Islanders) I thought it was brilliant and I cannot wait for another one. Go to one of these games!!! The atmosphere is great and the sport is very exciting.

Thanks for reading and I hope you haven’t found it too boring.