By Sarah Winspear (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada).
I really don’t know where to start, so much has happened in the past week!! One thing that immediately struck me about Vancouver and the UBC campus is how beautiful the surroundings are. I still can’t believe I live so close to such vastly differing terrains with mountains, the ocean and a city centre so close by, and I love how green the area is, so many trees!!!
So far this week I have been to the beach which is actually on campus and about a 10 minute walk from where I live. I thought I lived close to the coast at home but this is a whole new level. Wreck beach has some amazing views out to the Pacific and of the mountains, only downside is it is actually a nudist beach, but once you get over this fact it’s actually a really pretty area.
I’ve also been to Stanley park near downtown which is another beautiful area but unfortunately we didn’t have much time to walk round it all so I would like to hire a bike and some point and cycle the perimeter.
Since being here I’ve had quite a few new experiences including going to a country night at the Roxy in downtown. I went with Canadians and there was a live band on and loads of people wearing cowboy hats, denim shorts and boots!! It was great even though I only knew two songs; Taylor Swift and Mumford and Sons. Some people even started line dancing, we definitely don’t get this in England but I loved it!!! Also that night there was a woman with a snake allowing people to take photos with it, well this was the first snake I’d ever seen and to be honest I thought they were pretty scary before hand but I was brave and decided just to touch it, it was a very weird feeling like nothing I’ve ever touched before.
On Tuesday there was Imagine day which was a day for new students to get told information and then get the chance to sign up for any societies or clubs. There were a lot of stalls all trying to get you to sign up. While I was there a group started singing acapella, it felt like I was in Pitch Perfect . I signed up for a couple including: the Ski and snowboarding society (I’ve only been skiing once and I’m not very good but hoping a few trips to Whistler will help me improve), the exchange society, who are putting on a trip to the sunshine coast, and I signed up to a sorority (not that I actually know what that means).
I’ve had two days of classes so far but I’m still adapting to having lectures in classrooms rather than the lecture theatres I’m used to and having to find classes that aren’t full if you want to switch a class. I’m particularly looking forward to the cartography (maps) course as I did a similar module last year however this one seems a lot more practical-based in which you make many of your own maps in lab time. I’m also taking a course on Modern Europe which should be interesting learning about Europe from a Canadian perspective.
This evening I went to my first ever basketball game, it was the UBC Thunderbirds against University of California Riverside. Unfortunately we lost 77-88 but it was a great evening, but again very strange having a sort of mini indoor stadium a 2 minute walk away. There were cheerleaders, a band, and Thunder the UBC mascot. It was all as you would imagine and there was even a commentator who in every time out would advertise for things such as refreshments. In every break there was load music playing the atmosphere was brilliant!!
I have another day of classes tomorrow then a free pancake breakfast on Saturday which I cannot wait for, the amount of free food so far has been great; we had a bbq on Monday and a free lunch on Tuesday. Hopefully I’ll get to explore a little more of Vancouver this weekend and I’ll let you know how it goes!!