By Modinat Tijani, Queen’s University, Canada
My first few days in Kingston were at the end of August and school hadn’t started yet. In this time, I started getting used to my surroundings. Because it was summer and very hot I did quite a few outdoor things.
Some activities I’d recommend would be bike riding along the waterfront (upon hiring said bike), taking the ferry ride to the islands and kayaking in the lake. Orientation started a few days later which I signed up for at the start of August (it was CAD $99 with the overalls for the paint party). Because I’m an exchange student, I was in the NEWTS group and our colour was orange. Orientation Week (O-week) was really fun (overpriced but fun), it really helped me feel more welcome, especially interacting with other international students. They took us around Kingston and trying to get us accustomed to the city. There were ten events held, which included: a mystery concert (Yung Gravy), a paint party, a mystery road trip, and a tour. We had a Tamming ceremony, where we got tams (hats with a pom pom on them) and there was even a mascot and a band.
There were so many fair events for freshers, what they call ‘froshers’, as well as new students which included me as an exchange student. There were so many clubs and societies to choose from and as an indecisive person I was stressed. I signed up for quite a lot which I later realised is a very tough commitment. One that I was actively part of is QBFA which is the ‘Queens Black Fashion Association’ because I do love fashion. Also, as a black person at predominantly white institution we don’t tend to be included in a lot of stuff or get valid representation. It was nice to find a bunch of people like me and for us to bond over fashion. Another club was ‘yarning for love’ which I absolutely loved because the whole concept was to crochet to donate the pieces to children so we could make things like small hats some socks etc. I also joined the ‘Queens run club’ but I soon found out the timing would be really awkward because they started running while I had my labs which didn’t work for me at all.
The highlights for me were definitely the paint party, getting freebies from the different stores downtown on the tour, and the trip to the beach. Our transport for our trip was a yellow school bus! I felt like I was in a movie. We also got to ride the Kingston trolley, driving through the city with a little history lesson. Fun fact: Kingston was the Capital of Canada at one point (a very long time ago).