I’ve been in Calgary and studying at the University of Calgary for 2 months now, with just over 2 months to go. It has been without a doubt the best decision I have ever made! I am absolutely loving living abroad, especially in Calgary. The city itself reminds me a lot of Adelaide, it’s not too big and so easy to get around. The night life is so different, with Calgary being very into the “west” and “cowboy” thing, the clubs play a lot of country music! I’ve managed to fall in love with it though, and it’s so much fun two stepping on a night out! (Never thought I would be saying that)
I live on campus at the university, and I think this was the best choice I could have made. I’ve made so many friends here in my building and in the buildings around. The friends in my building are like my family here now, my Yam Fam (I love in Yamnuska Hall). My room mates are lovely as well, both Canadian and super funny and welcoming! I managed to settle in very, very quickly – everything seems so comfortable and “normal”. I guess this is my normal for 4 months though, so I’m glad it didn’t take me long to settle.
Living on campus means a lot more socialising and meeting new people, which is such a benefit when you’re here on exchange (plus everyone loves the accents). Everything is so central – there’s a mall just 20 minutes away, and a supermarket, drug store and (thankfully) a liquor store 20 minutes in the other direction. The train is right outside the university – which takes you into the city, it’s been so useful! We’ve had college football games here and I went to my first NHL game several weeks ago – it was amazing! I’m hooked on the sport and the atmosphere at the games. The team spirit here on campus is amazing too – go Dino’s!
Study wise, the topics here are a little more challenging – but only because there is a little bit more workload than Flinders and usually midterm exams. You have more contact hours here too, because lectures aren’t recorded so you can’t just watch them lying in bed! I’ve noticed the grading here is much nicer than Adelaide, however, it’s much easier to get good grades. However, being on exchange you only get a non-graded pass or fail (so your GPA isn’t effected). This makes me feel much better because it’s allowed me to enjoy my time here and still have fun without stressing too much about the school work or if I miss a deadline by a day. I’m really enjoying my topics here though, which is making doing the work really easy and fun!
I’ve made so many new and amazing friends here from all over the world. Majority of them live on campus and some in my building, which makes it so easy to socialize! There’s always something going on here, whether it’s drinking/going out or just having a movie night with each other – we’re always having a good time.
I’ve had so many fun weekends, and a few weekends away with a few more coming up. I’ve had a weekend in Radium (a small town in British Columbia, just over the boarder) and thanksgiving weekend I spent in Banff – which was the most amazing experience I’ve had here so far! The town is so amazing and full of Australians (I actually went there to see Sticky Fingers the band, which could explain a lot of the Australians all there on the same weekend!), and the Rocky Mountains are just beautiful – I still get stunned every time I see them and hiking up them to see the view is incredible!
This weekend was Halloween, and Halloween in North America is definitely different than Australia! It was so much fun dressing up and getting into the spirit. This weekend coming I’m travelling down to Arizona to see another friend on exchange & the two weekends after that are snow trips! I’ve been keeping myself very busy and making the most of having the Rockies just over an hour away.
Overall, my experience so far has been nothing short of incredible! The people and the culture are just amazing. My first 2 months have been full of adventure and good times, and I can already tell my following 2 months will be the same. I’m getting very sad about leaving, but I know I’ll be back in Canada and hopefully Calgary in a few years. Plus I’ve made lifelong friends from all around the world, which will motivate me to travel even more!
Coming on exchange has been the hardest yet most amazing time of my life. You don’t grow if you don’t leave your comfort zone! I’ve learned so much about myself on this journey and although I miss home like crazy, my new Canadian home has made me happier and more independent than ever!
- Read Amy’s Pre-departure post here