Canada - full of some of the friendliest people you will ever meet!

The experience I received whilst studying abroad was definitely one of the best things I have ever done in my life, and I am incredibly glad that I had this opportunity. This experience had such a massive impact on me. It has given me much more confidence and independence, as well as a more open perspective on the world, and a desire to learn more and see more. It has helped me develop betterOttawa interpersonal skills, and trying different studying tactics in order to achieve the best result possible. This experience opened up my eyes to a whole new part of the world, and living in international halls I managed to also learn much more about other countries all over the world, including Australia in particular, as I managed to make friends with a large group of Aussies living in the same halls as me.

Canada is an absolutely beautiful country full of some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Even though I only stayed for one term and so did not experience the coldest part of winter, the temperate went down to -25 degrees (I am told it can reach a low of -45 degrees later on in winter!). Despite this temperature, and every single area being covered in snow, this did not shake the spirits of the local Canadians.

The university was a really good place to study. All members of staff were as helpful as possible with any query, and I enjoyed being taught from a different perspective. Instead of doing an essay or two and then having all my subjects exams in the summer term, which is what I am used to at Reading, at Ottawa I was constantly completing assignments and completing midterms as well as final exams at the end of the term. This contrasts greatly with what I am used to, and I discovered the benefits of being assessed the moment a module had been complete. Everything was within walking distance and living on campus certainly made life very easy (especially when the snow arrived!). The study abroad office was very helpful and accommodating and put on regular activities and trips to help students gain the most from their experience. These trips were also great for meeting new people, making friends, and learning more about other countries.

Whilst abroad in Canada I managed to go on a number of trips to explore the surrounding area. I went on a trip to Toronto, explored the city and the Toronto Islands, experienced the night life, and managed to catch a baseball game with the famous Toronto Blue Jays. I also managed to go on a weekend where the Toronto International Film Festival was on at the time. I also went on a trip to Niagara Falls and managed to go on the 'Maid of Mist' boat ride to have an up-close tour. I experienced my first ever Canadian Thanksgiving in a Canadian friend's house where I tried pumpkin for the first time. It was absolutely delicious! We barbequed it and had it on our Thanksgiving roast, and also had a pumpkin pie for dessert. I also managed to go on tour of Quebec City and a whale watching trip, where we managed to witness several different types of whales including the Blue Whale, which is the largest mammal in the world. I also went for a weekend trip to Montreal and had a lovely time exploring, climbing up Mont Royal and hiring bikes to cycle round the beautiful Islands. The colours were just breath-taking as fall had just begun and all the trees were fantastic shades of red and orange and yellow and purple and all sorts. When in Ottawa I managed to visit the War Museum and the Art Centre, and went on a trip to Parc Omega where we drove round and saw all sorts of Canadian wild life, including moose and bears! We even were able to get out of the car and walk amongst the deer and fed them carrots. I also managed to go on my first ever sky dive which was from a height of 12,000 ft, which was an absolutely incredible experience.

Harriet Barnsley, BA Philosophy

University of Ottawa

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