Impressions on Returning to Manchester

By Lisa Scott (Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada)

It is hard to reflect on my study abroad year without spending the next few hours wishing I was still there. The whole experience was amazing!

I have used the positive experience I gained from studying abroad to encourage others to do the same, by volunteering at study abroad fairs and meetings through the Global Ambassadors programme. Studying abroad also encouraged me to socialise with students from other cultures, therefore, once I returned to Manchester I participated in the Global Friends programme throughout semester one and worked at the international students’ Orientation in September which enabled me to interact with students from all over the world.

Studying abroad gave me a real passion to gain more international experience. I am looking at graduate opportunities abroad which will hopefully take me to another part of the world which is something I wouldn’t have thought about without studying abroad.

The photo collage below shows all my favourite snaps from studying abroad!

PicMonkey Collage

It’s nearly time to leave

By Lisa Scott (Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada).

After a Jam packed second semester at Queen’s University, I am writing this blog to procrastinate from the horrifying experience known as Packing. My year abroad has not only resulted in me buying more belongings than I can fit in my rucksack but it has also been an invaluable experience which I will never forget.

Being a student at Queen’s University is like being part of a wider community which thrives on good will and team spirit. Just earlier this week I was sat in the library doing some last minute revision for an exam, when the Principal of the University delivered fresh cookies to every student on campus. It is these small acts of kindness which improve my day and make me proud of attending such a prestigious University.

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The cookie delivered by the principal of Queens University as a revision treat

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Queen’s University and studying abroad opens up countless opportunities. I have experienced the Canadian culture with students from all over the globe and as my time here comes to an end it will be hard to say goodbye to the friends I have made. I have six weeks of travelling ahead of me which compensates for the sadness of leaving Queen’s University after calling it my home for the past 8 months.

As a final note I would just like to say that studying at Queen’s University is more than just another year at University, it is a way of life which I would strongly recommend to anyone considering studying abroad.

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A Canadian flag with messages from the friends I have made on exchange

Vacation in the States

By Lisa Scott (Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada).

As my first semester at Queens University had ended and my second semester would be starting in two weeks, I decided to make the most of my Christmas Vacation and visit the states. My first stop was Chicago where I eagerly awaited at the airport for my brother to arrive from London, England. It was lovely to see a member of my family after four months away from home and we certainly had lots to catch up on whilst we traveled to our hotel.

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Chicago was a little warmer than Canada so it was nice to put the snow boots aside and wear some nicer clothes. We spent our first few days touring around the city and we visited the museum district, wandered along navy pier, ate a lot of chocolate in the Hershey’s shop, shopped until we dropped on magnificent mile, sang our hearts out at the candle lit carol service and took lots of photos next to the big bean that acts as a huge mirror. When Christmas day arrived and we were over 3000 miles away from home we decided to make it a Christmas to remember. We started our day ice skating in the snow, then we went out for a lovely Christmas dinner with cocktails followed by a trip up the tallest building in Chicago which had a very scary glass box to stand in and then we finished the day by relaxing in our hotels rooftop heated swimming pool and sauna.

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On Boxing Day we left Chicago and flew to New York City. It has always been my dream to visit NYC and I loved every minute of being in the city. We celebrated the New Year at central park, where we watched the sky light up with amazing fireworks and danced in the open park until our legs were tired. We spent a lot of time being tourists and visited; the empire state building, Rockefeller center, Times Square, Brooklyn bridge, Statue of Liberty, New York public library, Central park, 9/11 memorial and watched Spider man the musical in Broadway. After seven days it was time for me to say goodbye to one of my favorite cities and head to Boston.

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Luckily we managed to catch a flight just before a snow storm hit New York which lasted several days and cancelled most of the departing flights. We spent the last few days of our vacation in Boston, visiting Harvard, playing in the snow and tasting more of America’s amazing food.

Christmas Vacation away from home was a totally new experience for me and it was very strange not being surrounded by family and friends opening presents on Christmas day. However, I can definitely say I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to visit the states again on my next vacation.

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Top Ten

By Lisa Scott (Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada).

Four days ago I completed my final exam of the fall semester at Queen’s University and now it is time for me to embrace on a four week vacation in North America, which I am extremely looking forward to. As the semester is over and a lot of my new friends are leaving (they were only on exchange for a semester). I decided now would be a perfect time for me to reflect on my favourite and most memorable moments of the semester.

So here is my top ten (not in any particular order);

1 – Celebrating my 21st Birthday in one of Canada’s largest Cities – Toronto

2 – Visiting Niagara Falls – one of the natural wonders of the world

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3 – Frosh week – A whole new meaning to the first week of university and a great way to make friends

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4 – Halloween – Including some crazy fancy dress parties and a trip to a pumpkin field

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5 – Wine tour and Sand dunes – Going on a wine tour and stopping for lunch to enjoy the beautiful sand dunes in the same area

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6 – Visiting Montreal – My whole flat from residence decided to go on a group trip to Montreal

7 – Homecoming – This is a Queen’s tradition and occurred over two weekends and everyone dressed up in Queen’s clothing. It gives alumni the opportunity to return to campus and celebrate their success. The Alumni were really great to talk to and some of them even joined us when we were partying.

8 – The lead up to Christmas – Everyone in my flat starting wearing their Christmas jumpers, we went to visit Santa (turns out your never too old) and we had a big Christmas dinner

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9 – Meeting people from all over the globe, e.g. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Malaysia, Germany, and Spain to name a few

10 – Jumping in Lake Ontario on glorious sunny days

I have had an excellent semester at Queen’s University and I am thoroughly excited to see what the winter semester will bring.

Happy Holidays

Studying on Exchange – Yes it does happen

By Lisa Scott.

Having successfully completed by first semester at Queen’s University, Kingston I feel now is a perfect time to write about my academic experience and how I have adapted to the changes between my home and exchange universities. Firstly I would like to mention that I am studying Chemistry and I am in my third year so some of the things I write about will be course specific but others will just be general things about studying at Queen’s University.

Time table: I have roughly 20 hours at both Universities, however lectures here start at 8:30am which is just a little harder to make after a night out than 9:00am.

Lectures: At home lectures aren’t a vital part of my academic experience and all the material covered is uploaded to blackboard. In comparison here at Queen’s I have found I need to attend all my lectures, as sometimes notes aren’t uploaded to blackboard. However full attendance at lectures pays off as the professors will drop hints about what questions will feature on the exams.

Assessment: At home most of my courses are assessed by an exam at the end of the semester worth 100%. At Queen’s each course will be assessed using a variety of different methods, for example I had all of the following assessment methods; Presentations, assignments, Lab reports, Examinations, weekly tutorial quizzes, class participation and practical work. This for me was the biggest change and took a lot of getting used to. However one big advantage of this method is that the final exam will be worth 60% at the most.

Exams: Not only do you have to do final exams but most courses will have midterm exams as well. Also just as a heads up, don’t be surprised if you have an exam scheduled on a Saturday night 7-10pm!

Class size: I have found the class sizes are a lot smaller here, and it is often common for the professor to know the names of all the students. This means you have to be on the ball in case you are randomly asked a question. However it is better to answer than hide in the corner because many classes give marks based on your class participation.

Course selection: Another big difference here is you have to select your own courses and ensure your timetable has no clashes. This was new to me as usually I just get handed a timetable as all my courses are mandatory. There are plenty of people to help you with this process so it doesn’t have to be a scary experience.

All in all I think the moral of studying abroad is WORK HARD PLAY HARD, and make the most of every moment despite those regular deadlines.

Thanksgiving in Montreal

By Lisa Scott (Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada).

Thanksgiving weekend in Canada is an opportunity for people to gather with their families and celebrate their good fortune. Traditionally most of the students from Queens University will head back to their home town, visit family and eat a thanksgiving dinner which must involve turkey. As an exchange student at Queens University ready to encounter my first Thanksgiving weekend (England doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving), I opted for a long weekend away in Montreal.

I started the weekend along with thirteen of my friends by walking up Mount Royal to reach a viewing platform which over looked the entire of Montreal. The view was amazing and all the autumn leaves falling from the tree’s made it the perfect photo opportunity. Ready to explore some of the sights we had observed from the top of the mountain we visited the Olympic stadium which was used in the 1976 Summer Olympics. After a long day of being tourists we headed to one of the student districts of Montréal for a few drinks and to gather with some of the locals.

The following two days we carried on exploring the beautiful city by visiting all the quirky shops in Old Montreal, looking around Notre-Damn Basilica and eating famous Montréal food amongst over things. The weekend was perfect and even though this was my first Canadian Thanksgiving, I definitely hope it won’t be the last.

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FROSH week NOT Freshers week

By Lisa Scott (Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada).

If somebody asked me what my fresher’s week in England involved, my answer would most likely include making friends, exploring a new city, and participating in all the nights out my residence leaders organised for the new students.

However, if you asked any student from Queens University what their FROSH week included the responses you would receive would vary immensely. The commerce students would explain how they had to run everywhere for the entire week, the Engineering students would explain how they had to die their hair purple and gel it up in weird shapes for the entire week (even the girls), and the arts students when asked ‘Frosh how are you feeling’ would chant you a song. If you’re confused, then watch the video below;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQuehHFs534

It became obvious to me within my first few hours of FROSH week that community spirit is a huge part of student life here at Queens University and every student is proud of the fact they have a place here. Regularly in England you can read news articles linking FRESHERs week to excess alcohol and trips to A&E for a noticeable percentage of students, however here at Queens University residence has a dry orientation week meaning no alcohol can be present in University accommodation. This was one of the first big differences which made me realise that a FROSH week and a FRESHERS week aren’t the same thing.

To start my FROSH week I had a residence orientation with all the other 500 students that I was sharing my residence with. The floor I live on has 27 rooms, and all of them are occupied by international students from all other the world. My residence orientation started by a welcome from the principle of the university, followed by a night of games ranging from Quidditch (yes they play quidditch here) to board games. The next few days of my res orientation were jam packed with activities involving treasure hunts, gaels football games and book discussions amongst other things.

After my residence orientation I had a NEWTS orientation which was for students from the castle, or students on exchange. NEWTs week was so much fun and extremely tiring. During the day time we had a paint fight, a mystery road trip, capture the flag game, tours of the town, traditions ceremony and general advice sessions from the Canadian students who generously gave up there time to help the new students out. The night activities involved karaoke, a formal dinner and a music concert which had an amazing atmosphere.

NEWTS week and residence orientation together made my FROSH week one of the most memorable weeks of my live, and is a great way to make friends whilst in a new country for the first time. And I know for sure if somebody asks me what I did in my FROSH week, I’ll be able to talk for hours. Image

Canada here I come…

By Lisa Scott (Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada).

Visa… Check

Accommodation booked…..Check

Flights booked…….Check

A fully prepared exchange student….Pending

Preparing to set off on a once in a lifetime opportunity to a new country can not only be very exciting but also very scary. As my departure date draws closer, I have started to say my goodbyes and suddenly feel emotional at the fact that it may be a year before I see most of these people again. However, the one thing that makes saying goodbye easier is that everyone is excited for me… probably more so than I am myself.

Whilst I’m sitting here writing this blog, a small pile of clothes (about ten tops) is sitting on my bedroom floor ready to be packed into my suitcase (I’ve bought one of those worlds lightest suitcases), so as far as my packing goes I am fairly disorganised. However, I feel the rest of my preparations for my exchange to Canada have gone well and I should, ‘fingers crossed’, have a hassle free transition to my new University. I have cancelled my phone contract and unlocked my phone, ordered my Canadian dollars and a Travelex cash card (I’ve heard they are great for travelling), ordered photo prints to decorate my bedroom with and also booked accommodation, so all in all, I’ve done a lot.

So, watch this space and hopefully next time you hear from me I will have some exciting stories to tell you about my journey and transition to Queens University, Canada.