By Katie Lewin (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
My first two weeks in Canada and SFU have been so busy I have barely had a minute to let it sink in! After two lonely days in Vancouver sorting out a phone and exploring, I took a taxi to SFU. I hadn’t been nervous about starting until I saw the mountain looming in the distance and it hit me how much of a big adventure I was undertaking.
Moving into my accommodation was fine with everyone being very helpful, however, it was early to move in (which mainly first years do), so my accommodation was very empty which was a slightly strange experience. However, I was able to make plenty of friends through orientation week, which I hadn’t realised would be so hard-core (7am to 9pm every day). Highlights of orientation included a great inspirational speech by a comedian/musician, the cheerleaders teaching us the SFU chant and a day trip to Lynn Valley. This was very different to Manchester’s Fresher’s week, which I surprisingly hadn’t expected, with more activities and guidance such as campus tours, which are great when everything is new.
Being on a campus university on top of a mountain is extremely different to Manchester and something I am still not sure on. The campus is small which can be great for getting to classes, but also means there is a limited amount of things to do. The bus to downtown Vancouver takes an hour, which isn’t too bad but isn’t as convenient. However, the facilities on campus are great and there are some great views of Vancouver and the surrounding mountains, especially from Burnaby Mountain Park. I am not looking forward to when the rainy weather kicks in, as it can get very grey and foggy up here, especially as it blends it into the concrete architecture. Although it has cleverly been designed so you can walk from residence to class without having to walk in the rain. In the coming week are the club days, so I am looking forward to see what’s on offer and getting more involved in university life. Classes so far have been more similar to Manchester lectures than I anticipated, the main difference being the expensive textbooks that some the classes require.
Weekends are busy with exploring and activities, especially as my to-do list only seems to grow. Attending the SFU homecoming football game was a weird experience, they are as stereotypical as you imagine and exactly like the movies! Having access to both mountains, beaches and the city is amazing, sunset at Kitsilano Beach can’t be missed! I already have my tickets ready for a Vancouver Giants hockey game and a trip to Whistler. There is just so much to do and I can’t wait!