Oh how time flies when you’re having fun

Melisa Karasu, University of British Columbia, Canada

Well it’s safe to say that this semester is absolutely flying by. I can’t believe I am over halfway through already! In the short time I have been here I have already seen and experienced so many amazing things, my only complaint being now that I am running out of time to complete my never-ending list of things to do here!

Before coming here I had written a list of things I wanted to achieve while I was here, and this is something I would really recommend doing as motivation and something nice to look back on and be proud of. On my list was to try new things, and I have really tried my best to do just so not only in visiting new places and conquering fears (such as heights by soaring one of the highest ziplines in Canada and the US) but also immersing myself in life here at UBC, joining self-defence classes (something I have also wanted to do), ballet and some other dance classes. Doing this is not only a great way to meet new people, but it really helps give a different perspective of life here, helping sculpt a new routine and lifestyle.

As a student who is originally from Manchester and lives at home in the UK; having a true university experience was something important to me, and I feel that I could not have been more lucky than to experience it at somewhere like UBC! The campus is amazing, it has pretty much everything and is referred to as a city in itself! At the moment there are huge renovations going on and they are ever-expanding, which is really exciting for future students and it would be really interesting to come back one day and see how it has changed. Luckily I came at the time when the new pool has just opened, which is insane! It boasts 3 leisure, recreation and competition pools, as well as a hot tub, steam and sauna rooms, perfect for unwinding after a long week! I think even if I hadn’t stepped foot off campus I would still be spoilt for choice of things to do here at UBC.

I think the best way to show what I have been up to these past weeks here in Canada is through photos, with a few recommendations of things to see and do:

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Trip up to Sun Peaks with the University Exchange Club – fun weekend of skiing, snow tubing, food and new friends

I went on a long weekend trip to the Canadian Rockies with two friends with a tour group called Westtrek – I would highly recommend them; it was really well organised, so much fun and was such a great way to meet people. We spent the first day travelling, stopping to spend the night in some remote mountain cabins in Golden. The weather was freezing, but it was cosy around the campfire and they provided hot chocolate and smores! The second day we made our way through Yoho and Banff National parks, stopping on the way at Lake Louise, with a chance to go iceskating on the frozen lake. We then went for an ice hike through Johnston Canyon to see some incredible frozen waterfalls, before arriving in Banff and rode the Gondola up Sulphur mountain. On the third day we visited Lake Minnewanka and went sledging on Two Jack Lake before visiting the Banff Hot Springs; after which we had some free time to spend in Banff. We then made our way back to the mountain cabins in Golden for a final night around the bonfire with more hot chocolate and smores. The trip was really one of the best things I have done, and I have some amazing memories from it.

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Emerald Lake – we had misty weather all weekend, but it made for a completely magical atmosphere
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Frozen waterfalls at Johnston Canyon

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Hot Chocolate with a view at the Fairmont Hotel by Lake Louise
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Banff Hot Springs
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Our Rockies group

During the reading break my family came to visit, which was so lovely. We spent the week in Whistler skiing, and then they stayed another week in Vancouver, which was a great way for me to spend more time outside of campus, exploring the city more.

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Dusk in the city
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Evening runs to the beach on campus
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Vancouver Waterfront – I definitely recommend ‘Flyover Canada’- it’s an AMAZING virtual reality experience that literally feels like you are flying over Canada – I have done it twice already and can’t wait to go back
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Had to include a food snap in here somewhere – this is a downtown dessert cafe Cacao70. There are so many amazing food places here. You have to try Breka Bakery – a 24/7 bakery downtown – their chocolate nutella doughnuts are to die for!
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Balcony Views – definitely one of my favourite things about here!

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