It’s been roughly three months since arriving in Vancouver and I really feel as though I’m embracing the Vancouverite lifestyle. I’m currently sitting in one of the many coffee shops situated on campus writing this blog, listening to Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ play through the speakers. It’s safe to say I’m feeling the Christmas spirit this year, helped by snowy day trips to Whistler and the festive lights that seem to give every corner of UBC’s campus a charming sparkle. Although I’m slightly saddened to not be spending Christmas in London this year, I’m confident this year will be a jolly one with my new little UBC family.
The end of term 1 has arrived so soon and I can’t quite believe I’m already saying goodbye to my close friends who are returning to their respective universities. Although things will be different next term without them, I’m looking forward to meeting the new arrivals for term 2. What’s more, the ski season is in full swing and I’ve already met some Canadians who are keen to visit the mountain at least twice a week which is ideal for me, especially considering 90% of my friends are currently from the UK – I think it may be time I branch out a little.
In reflection, term 1 has been more of a culture shock than I expected. Academically, the work load is heavy with almost two deadlines a week. Mostly, I’ve spent my weekdays in the library which has probably served my work ethic well, and devoted weekends to hikes, bikes and food. The work itself hasn’t been too challenging though, so I’m confident that now I’ve learnt how to keep on top of it all I can allow myself more free time to explore more of Vancouver’s great outdoors.
One thing I’m still adjusting to is campus life. Having become so used to living in the city both in London and Manchester, my experience living on the UBC point grey campus has been interesting. The campus is located a 20-minute bus-ride from the nearest town, and an hour bus from downtown (where most of the city action is). Because of this separation from the city, the campus is its own microcosm of the city, with a multitude of amenities to cater for every student’s need: shops, café’s, restaurants, bars, sports facilities – you name it they have it. It takes about an hour to walk from one end to the other, which is why most students have adopted alternative modes of transport. Skateboards are incredibly popular, however the skateboard culture steers away from the ‘skater dude’ stereotype, with the main purpose of owning a board to get you from A to B and by no means used for hitting the skate park with. Other students opt for niche modes of personal transportation, including electronic scooters, one-wheeled miniature Segway’s (didn’t even know such a thing existed) and even unicycles. Honestly, I feel like I’m walking around the set of ‘Back to the Future part 4’ – I think I’m going to stick to good old-fashioned walking for now. Despite the difference in lifestyle, I’m finding it all rather refreshing and look forward the new term.