UoM vs. uOttawa

By Rhiann Singh, University of Ottawa, Canada

I am over halfway through my first semester here at uOttawa so I thought I would share some of the differences I noticed between The University of Manchester and the University of Ottawa.

Continue reading “UoM vs. uOttawa”

A Solo Weekend in Montréal!

By Rhiann Singh, University of Ottawa, Canada

It sounds so cliche but if someone told me 9 months ago I would be solo travelling in Canada I actually would’ve laughed in their face! At the start of the year, I really struggled with my mental health, to the point where I couldn’t even leave my uni room. It got so bad, to the point where I was considering not even doing my year abroad. So for me to be sitting here writing about this trip is such an achievement and an example to others that it will eventually get better!

This trip to Montréal was definitely spontaneous! I saw that one of my favourite UK djs (Yung Singh) was coming to Montréal for an event and I basically planned my weekend trip around that.

The easiest and most affordable way to get to Montréal from Ottawa was by train. The train was only a 2 hour journey and it was so nice compared to the trains in the UK! I got to Montréal around 8:30pm so it was already dark. I did have a well deserved McDonalds in the train station because I was starving. I was also putting off leaving as I was a bit apprehensive about being alone in a new city in the dark. I was shocked at how lively it was! Ottawa is more of a government city so it was different being in Montréal. Obviously I was weary walking 20 minutes to the hostel but I realised how safe this city was, especially for a female alone!

Staying in a hostel was also completely new to me because the hotels were so expensive. My first impression of the hostel was really good, everyone was so welcoming. I was in an all-female room with 9 other people. It was strange at first but I got used to it pretty fast. I decided to just have a chill Friday night in the hostel because I was super tired from travelling and uni.

On Saturday morning I had breakfast in the hostel and then decided to go explore around the city! The weather was also beautiful, which made the trip even better. I went to the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal and I was honestly speechless at how beautiful it was! I had seen pics online but nothing prepared me for seeing it in person. I stayed in there for a good hour just taking it all in and walking around. I lit a candle too for good vibes and I felt so at peace. Afterwards, I walked around the Old Town and it was so cute! Everyone was out and about walking, which was fun. I then went around the Old Port of Montréal and it was so fun seeing La Grande Roue de Montréal! I definitely would’ve gone on it but I am scared of heights. All the trees around the ferris wheel were turning brown, meaning fall wasn’t far away. I then stopped for lunch at this cute cafe and had a grilled cheese sandwich, not knowing it had pickles! By the late afternoon I was feeling pretty tired so went back to the hostel and had a quick nap.

I found a group for people staying in hostels in Montréal and decided to see if anyone else was going to see Yung Singh on Saturday night too. Luckily two girls from Germany were going so we planned to meet up for dinner beforehand. I was so nervous to meet up with strangers, as this was something I had never done before! Thankfully, they were both so lovely and we spent the full dinner and night chatting away. Yung Singh was absolutely amazing! I had so much fun being there! I also met some other girls who were also doing an exchange year in Canada which was so nice – I missed hearing a British accent so much!

After having a super late night, I decided it would be nice to have a bit of a lie-in. On Sunday I decided to go thrift shopping – I heard the shops in Canada were a lot better than the UK. After a lot of walking, I finally got to the main street for thrift shopping and literally spent hours there. The thrift shops are definitely better! Later on in the evening I wanted to go watch the sunset from Kondiaronk Belvedere. No one warned me how many stairs there would be – I actually thought I was going to throw up at one point lol! When I reached the top I was speechless. The view was so beautiful. I felt really overwhelmed and emotional when I got to the top. I just felt so proud of myself and I was just coming to terms with how far I have came these past few years. I Facetimed my friend to show her the view and it was such a lovely moment. After walking down hundreds of steps later, I was so ready for bed.

I had an early morning too because I had to catch the train back to Ottawa and make it back for class!

This trip was honestly the best thing I could’ve done for myself. Even though it was short, I felt like I learned so much about myself. It’s given me so much confidence and pushed me out of my comfort zone in such a good way. I want to travel around Canada even more now! I’ve already got a trip planned to Vancouver, Calgary and Banff in reading week which I can’t wait for!

Starting up in the ‘6ix’

By Hannah-Safiyya Awan, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Confession: I had never been to Canada until two weeks ago when I moved to Toronto to study abroad, so I wanted to share a few things that helped me get started.

There are two main things to consider: 1: Moving into a new city, and 2: Starting at a new university.

Continue reading “Starting up in the ‘6ix’”

New Beginnings in Ottawa!

By Rhiann Singh, University of Ottawa, Canada

The week before moving to Ottawa was such a hectic, overwhelming and emotional week filled with saying goodbyes and celebrating my 21st birthday early with my family and friends. If you don’t like celebrating your birthday like me, I definitely recommend doing a fake one. It’s all the fun of a birthday but without the actual ageing! Like always, I left all my packing and shopping till the last minute – definitely don’t recommend! – but I managed to be completely done the day before I left. I was so lucky that my Dad was able to come out with me to Ottawa, and I am forever grateful that I got to share the start of this new experience with him.

Continue reading “New Beginnings in Ottawa!”


By Olivia Bucherer-Ezer, University of Toronto, Canada

It’s been just over a year since I packed up my life and set across the pond to start my year abroad in Toronto and it got me thinking about all the thoughts, fears and anxieties I had that, in retrospect, I truly didn’t need to worry about. So I thought it was suitable to whack them in a blog in case they provide any reassurance for those heading out this coming September. 

Continue reading “Prepping”

The Do’s and Don’ts of Touristing in Toronto

By Olivia Bucherer-Ezer, University of Toronto, Canada

**subjective of course**

Whether you’re heading out to Toronto in September, perhaps along with a family member or are expecting visitors throughout the year, here are some top tips to give you the most fulfilling experience of the big T-city. 

Continue reading “The Do’s and Don’ts of Touristing in Toronto”

Getting into a routine and Life on Campus

By Modinat Tijani, Queen’s University, Canada

After completing O-week (orientation week), it was time to brace for Queens University academically and my timetable was pretty intense compared to my friends’. I had to get used to the complete change in assessment methods, where there are assignments, midterms, and finals. Coming from UoM Chemistry, where most of my modules were 100% exams based, it did take a lot to get used to. I see the benefits to both having regular assignments vs having 100% exams. Being in the labs felt different compared to the ones in Manchester.

Honestly at first I struggled with the workload, mostly because I wasn’t used to the sheer amount assignments that we were getting. Plus the unfamiliarity of grading and a whole bunch of stuff. I did ‘badly’ on an assignment and I went to the IPO and they were really great with me and kind of just reassured me that everything was fine. My visit to the IPO was amazing, one professor in particular (shout out to Dr Margaret from the IPO) was extremely reassuring and we just had a long talk in her office. If you’re ever going through anything just go to the IPO and ask for help! Plus, Queen’s has free counselling for students.

Continue reading “Getting into a routine and Life on Campus”

Q&A with a Mitacs student

The Mitacs Globalink Research Internship scheme is a UK-Canada mobility programme for undergraduates to develop their research expertise. The competitive programme co-funds undergraduates from partner countries to complete an intensive 12-week summer research internship, in a variety of academic disciplines, under the supervision of a professor at one of 70 participating Canadian universities.

We took the chance to speak with Nichole, who participated in the programme in the academic year 2022-2023. She even managed to get an offer for a PhD with her former MITACS supervisor!

Read on to find out all about Nichole’s experience in Canada:

Continue reading “Q&A with a Mitacs student”

Settling in Kingston, Orientation Week! NEWTS!!

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.

Continue reading “Settling in Kingston, Orientation Week! NEWTS!!”

Snow, Toronto, Homesickness :( and my trip home :)

By Modinat Tijani, Queen’s University, Canada

Of course, we all know what Canada’s weather is famous for being, and the stories are true. I can now say that I’ve experienced -30°C weather and survived. THE COLD IS NOT A JOKE. My nose hairs literally froze but I made it through.

Continue reading “Snow, Toronto, Homesickness 🙁 and my trip home :)”

A guide to finding accommodation in Toronto

By Olivia Bucherer-Ezer, University of Toronto, Canada

Time to plan where to stay in Toronto? Let’s break some options down. 

Just a cheeky disclaimer before we get into the nitty gritty’s of Toronto’s accommodation options… this is all based on mine or my friends experiences, which are obviously subjective so don’t be completely put off if you already something in mind. This is more of a guidance in case you have absolutely no clue where to start… just as I did this time last year. 

So lets jump in and hopefully this can be of use!

Continue reading “A guide to finding accommodation in Toronto”

Ending the year abroad in California!

By Christevie Ngoma, University of Toronto, Canada

Pre Holiday

In January, me and my best friend (Danielle) from London (who did an exchange at McGill in Montreal) decided we needed one more holiday after New York to celebrate the end of our exchange! So we picked California, I have a close uncle in San Diego and my best friend has a close Aunt in Los Angeles. This meant we had free accommodation so we were saving over £1,000 not paying for a hotel.

My flight from Toronto to San Diego with a return from LAX costs £374 with Air Canada, me and Danielle planned to meet in Chicago during a stop over! We didn’t have to pay for a ESTA since we got one in December for when we went to New York so that was sorted! All we had to do was plan our trip!

Continue reading “Ending the year abroad in California!”