26th August – London to Victoria
After three hours in an airport, ten hours on a direct flight to Vancouver, one hour on a bus, one and a half hours on a ferry weaving through the Gulf Islands, another hour on a bus, and five blocks walk, I finally made it to my hostel.
27th August – Exploring Campus
It was immediately clear to me that UVic was way bigger than Stirling with a lot of culture to boot. I hopped on the number 4 bus from my hostel downtown to explore and got to campus without an issue. I visited the exchange office, introduced myself to the exchange advisor, Larissa, and picked up my student ID card. This card – known as the ONECard – is my bus pass, gym card, food payment scheme (if I wish) and so much more…
28th August – The McPherson Library
In the morning, I attended the International Student Welcome, where I met some other exchange and international students. We were welcomed to the campus by Saanich elders, who blessed us and our family in their language, and sang a traditional song. I was both intrigued and incredibly touched by this gesture, as I know little to nothing about the First People. I spent the rest of the day in the library, frantically searching online listings for houses and apartments I could live in.
29th August – Birthday Whale Watching!
I spent my 20th birthday on a boat watching orcas breach from the Pacific, while floating illegally in US waters. Not too shabby!
30th August – First People’s House
My search for housing was successful! I paid my deposit and signed on the lease and spent the rest of the day exploring campus. This is the First People’s House, the academic and cultural centre for indigenous students at UVic. There are many indigenous pieces of art on campus, and a UVic student is current in the process of carving a new totem pole!
1st September – Move In Day!
All moved in! My house is on a bus route that goes directly to the university and I’m not too far from Thrifty’s, my local ‘grocery store’. I experienced my first real bout of culture shock when I realised there’s no such thing as a generic brand in Canada, just cheaper brands. Confusing to a British student, but it’s somehow forced me to eat a lot more healthily.
2nd September – New Student Orientation
The official welcome for the class of 2018! I felt like a bit of a fraud sitting on the bleachers and listening to all the freshers get inspired about “what the next four years will bring”, knowing I’d be hopping on a plane back to the UK at Christmas… The speakers and audience were first welcomed by Saanich elders (the UVic campus is on native land) and we were then introduced to the deans of the faculties. There was an inspiring keynote speech from Craig Kielburger, founder of Free The Children and co-founder of Me to We. After that was a free barbecue (yesss), except the skies decided to open and cut our lunch and campus tour short. It was just as well though, as there was a massive thunderstorm by the time I got home!
4th September – David Turpin Building
The location of my Interpersonal Relationships class (my favourite!) taken during a gap between lectures. My timetable either has me frantically running across campus or leaves me with five hour breaks!
5th September – Stranded in Oak Bay
Oak Bay is one of Victoria’s rather up market municipalities. It’s very well-kept (case and point this bus shelter!) so it was hardly a burden to have my plans fall through and be forced to explore the area a little,
6th September – UVic vs. UBC ‘Soccer’ Game
7th September – DevaCut
I really detest taking selfies but I needed to mark the occasion of my very first DevaCut – a haircutting style specific for curly hair. Each curl was cut dry, strand by strand. My hair was then washed and cut again, and slowly diffused to help as many curls as possible form. It somehow only came to around £30, which is what I’d be paying for an average haircut back home. I’m convinced the second the cut makes it to the UK, stylists will happily charge extortionate prices.
8th September – Work, Work, Work
9th September – Campus
A quick break for lunch on one of my very busy days led me to this tree stump which as a holly tree growing out of it!
10th September – Fire Engine
It’s the little things that make Canada different. Yellow fire engines are one of those things.
11th September – Care Package
My lovely mum sent all this the 4,779 miles from London to Victoria! I got a lovely jumper, warm pyjamas, two pairs of gloves, Haribo, and Minstrels! And let me tell you, you don’t know the true deliciousness of European chocolate until you’ve tasted the North American attempt…
12th September – Clubs Day: Part I
13th September – Clubs Day: Part II
I’ll leave it there for now, but you won’t have long to wait for the next installment as it’s very nearly October – eeep! Time is really flying!