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International Exchange

Week One at UBC

10 September 2016
So I’ve been in Vancouver for a week now and I’m still sane and functioning which I have to say has been a shock to most of my friends and family and especially to myself. Admittedly I may still be in the honey moon stage with this amazing city and university  (the pictures really don’t do it justice- especially the first view from my flat window definitely beats the streets of Cathays!) but the people I have met here have made the first few days of my hopefully long-term relationship with this incredible place so much better than I could have ever imagined.

My first impression of Vancouver and UBC is just how big it is, everything here seems to be on a completely different scale to Cardiff- from the parks, buildings, roads and the campus itself to the size of people’s hearts here. People told me before I came that Canadians were welcoming and they weren’t lying, I have yet to meet one that isn’t a constant source of friendliness: people (and when I say people I mean literally the people of Canada: anyone from bus drivers to cashiers) ask you how you are and is genuinely interested in your answer, strangers meet your gaze when passing you by and don’t just give you an awkward grimace, they give you a full on toothy smile. I asked one girl in my lecture for directions to the bank and she dropped everything and walked me 15 minutes across campus right to the banks door.

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I’m also surprised at just how much similar it is to the stereotypical Hollywood portrayal of North American education in some aspects. I attended my first frat party and it was everything I had hoped it would be, from the red beer pong cups to the chanting frat boys, the only thing missing was Zac Efron. Also, despite some of the students insisting UBC is reasonably conservative with its school pride this didn’t stop various faculty groups breaking out into their subject chants all over campus on Imagine Day. The clubs fair was also on a completely different level to anything I’d seen before with insane amounts of options to choose from, from vegan and sustainability clubs to frats and sororities to fencing and pro-life groups. The UBC Exchange Student Club is also so well organised and has run trips and events in order to meet other students on exchange and to get to know the city and campus better. The past seven days have gone so quickly and I can’t wait to experience everything else that UBC and Vancouver have to offer!



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