Spooky Season in Guelph

by Lola Bianchi, University of Guelph, Canada

I am writing this at the end of November as a recap of October as soooo much happened in that month – however I have been swamped with so much work that this has really fallen behind me.

I wish someone had actually explained to me how much more intense the work load was going to be before I came. You have an assignment due at least once a week every week so it is very hard to juggle between all your commitments and also being able to enjoy the year abroad to the fullest.

The change of the season was a shock in of itself as it would go from being around 30 degrees to 10 day to day, however all the leaves changing colours and falling off the ground made it very worthwhile. I also managed to get into foraging and found so many edible mushroom species in and around Guelph ranging from Oyster mushrooms, to puffballs or Reishi. It was a lot of fun! I also met a really lovely Canadian girl who has changed my time here. I am still struggling to feel like this is home given how I don’t enjoy living on the campus, however Kirsty and I would go on dog walks everyday which has made it so much more tolerable, as it has forced me to explore lots of the beautiful natural area in Guelph, as well as forcing me out of the house and off campus.

If I could give advice to people coming on exchange it would be to not try and force friendship with people if you don’t feel that connection. I spent a lot of time hanging out with a lot of international students because they were the only people I knew and although they are all really lovely, I only managed to start enjoying and feeling comfortable in Guelph once I started to make my own friends, who share common interests and have similar vibes to me. That’s not saying that you should write off other international students, but it is very easy to fall into habit in seeing them all the time and the majority of other internationals are only here for a term, so it is also quite important to make sure you still have friends when they leave! Thanksgiving was also in October and Kirsty and I ended up cooking for over 20 people! However, despite it being very nice, as most Canadians here don’t really eat or cook vegetables, everyone was telling me (as I cooked them) that they would only them to be polite originally. But then they said that they were seasoned so well and so tasty that they actually went back for more! It was very rewarding and gratifying as we had put a lot of thought and energy into cooking it all, so it felt very wholesome to have people enjoy it.

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