By Sophie Black (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada).
Yes, I made it! I’ve been here for a week now and settled in pretty quickly.
Moving to Canada suddenly hit me when I opened up the window on the plane and saw the Rockies in all their glory. Wow, they looked incredible! Even the pilot said there couldn’t be a better day to fly…
Immigration was pretty quick and easy, plus both of my suitcases came off the plane (phew!). The easiest way to get from the airport to accommodation was by taxi (you could use the skytrain and busses yet a 13 hour+ trip means a very tired and hungry traveller!) The taxi was pretty easy to catch and cost $45 including a tip.
I am staying in Fairview Crescent, self catered university accommodation separated into flats of four or six. Upon arrival, my room looked pretty bare…
Yet I quickly erected photographs, bunting and free maps from the geography building (!) to make it a little more homely.
Thankfully, for the first few nights my flatmate lent me some bed covers to sleep with. I was able to quickly find pillows at a local department store, yet a lot of confusion arose on the topic of a duvet. Seemingly, a ‘duvet’ is very uncommon here – most people use a ‘comforter’, being a duvet and bed cover in-one. Hence, I went on a trip into the downtown and discovered the Canadian version of TKMaxx, where I was able to find a comforter and pillowcase set for about £43. What happens when it comes to washing my bed-linen, I don’t know…
Transport around Vancouver is very easy due to the compulsory U-Pass all students buy. This is a card much like the stagecoach bus pass in Manchester, yet the U-Pass is also valid on the Sky-Train. Busses are very simple to use here, as the name of the next stop is displayed on a screen overhead. It costs about £87 for the pass until December, definitely worth the money!
It doesn’t take long to realise how expensive the food is here. A trip to the supermarket leads a painful dent in the student loan! To my surprise, cordial/squash doesn’t exist here in Canada – instead they have juice ‘crystals’ that you add to water. Bizzare! A necessary trip to the British food shop in Denbar (around 10 minutes away by bus) quickly came about through cravings for Robinsons Apple and Blackcurrant!
The weather has been beautiful and very warm – my favourite place on campus is at the ‘flag pole’, where a view of the mountains and rose garden is lovely! The campus here is very large yet so green and clean, making the 20 minute walk to and from lectures really enjoyable.
Here are some thing’s I have been getting up too this week…
Thanks so much for reading!
(p.s. any questions are welcome in the comments section below!)