Flora Scott, Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Canada
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in Canada for almost 7 months. My time here is all too quickly coming to end with the semester finishing at the end of April. My last exam falls on the 27th giving me only a day to pack up my whole life and move out of University accommodation the next day.
I won’t be heading straight home as I have plans to first travel in both Canada and down the west Coast of the USA, however, I will be sad to see the back of UBC. A year studying abroad is such a unique experience; completely different to visiting somewhere on holiday. You become completely immersed in a new place. The best piece of advice I can give anyone going on a year aboard is to make the most of every second. Although, first and foremost, we are here is to study (a fact which is easily forgotten at times), there is so much more to gain from the experience. I have had the opportunity to travel and try new things that I never would have tried back in Manchester. Of Course, it’s important to make sure enough time is dedicated to academic work and to make the most out of being involved in a different university system. I’ve been able to take some really interesting courses, which aren’t available at Manchester. I have also been fortunate enough to have been taught by professors who are leading experts in their field and who have worked with some really famous scientists. However, I do think it is equally important to make the most of every other aspect of a year abroad.
UBC is a demanding university and with a continuous testing system it is by no means an easy ride. However it isn’t that difficult to balance it all once you realise you only have a year to fit everything in. I work later into the evenings most days leaving the weekends free to see more of Canada.
I spent last weekend on a Parks Canada site on Vancouver Island. I helped out with conservation work removing an invasive species and then we got to spend the night at the Fort Rod Hill site. It was really interesting discovering some of Canada’s history and it meant staying somewhere I wouldn’t have otherwise seen if I hadn’t gone with the UBC Parks club.
A few weeks before we also had a reading week. This was a novelty for me because as a science student at home I never get this week off. We spent a few days road tripping and saw some of the Oregon coast which was amazing.
My only complaint with Canada is that it’s too big! Vancouver island (which is a small part of one province in the whole of Canada) is the size of England. A year is definitely not enough time to see everything. Especially as there is so much to see. Without a doubt, I will be coming back as soon as possible.