As my first semester of university came to an end, I can confidently say that I have learned a lot from these past few months and grown tremendously as a person. It was very challenging time but I see how much I have changed myself from the last September.
First of all, the key point to finish a semester with good grades is systematicity and hard-work. I have never seen more motivated and hard-working students before, as I see here in Canada. They are very smart, hard-working and they always do their best on assignments and exams. It is extremely motivational because when I look at them I want to be as good as they are. As the University of Ottawa is the largest bilingual university in the world, mostly all of students are bilingual and they are taking some courses in English and some in French. I can also say that I have improved my French skills a little bit, as the all informations are given in French and English. Also I have some friends from France who are also on the exchange and in the first semester I used to live in Gatineau – the other side of Ottawa, which belongs to the Quebec province so I have met many “Quebecois”, and their first language was French.
The professors here are also very nice. They are friendly and always ready to help. In each class I have teaching assistans, so if I have a problem with completing an assignment I can always meet them and discuss everything. So why studying here is challenging, then? First of all, you can do 4 or 5 classes. It seems to be easy because in Aberystwyth I had more modules than I have here.
I would recommend all of incoming students to take 4, because other students are also doing 4, and it is a standard here. ( at least in the Department of Science).Each lecture is 1,5 hour long. Sometimes I have 2 lectures in row so there is 3 hours lecture. Each class has laboratory part which is 3 hours long again. You get a mark here from the lectures and from the laboratory work. During an autumn season, I also had field-trips every week, usually on Thursday and Friday so I have seen many interesting places in Ontario and Quebec. They were marked as well. In general, the final grade consists of many grades you get during a semester. There are assignments from each class every week, lab reports, field-trip reports, project groups and sometimes there are research projects and you have to complete them in 2 months. And there are mid-term exams which are important part of the final
grade. I am having my mid-terms in 2 weeks so I have already started to study for them. It seems to be a lot of work here(and it is!) but I know everyone can do this. You only have to be well-organized and follow up all the time. Now in the second semester I am way better than in the first one because I finally know how does everything work here so I can manage my time more efficiently and I can also find a time for my personal life.
And now, there is a time for my favourite part ! 🙂
As I have finished my final exams in mid-December and I had a one month winter break from school, I have decided to travel
to The Bahamas. First of all I really wanted to escape from the Canadian winter for a bit and I also wanted to see how people live in the Caribbean, because I have never been there before. It was a kind of an exchange program, I have been investigating the coral reef 3 times per week 4 hours per day, and the rest of my time I spent with the Bahamian family. When I have landed in Nassau (the capital) and when I saw the palm trees and I felt this wormth I thought I have landed in paradise! It was such a good feeling especially if 3,5 hours before I was almost freezing in Ottawa ! The Bahamas have over 700! islands but I have stayed on the Great Exuma island, which is famous from the pigs who are swimming with people and from the geographical Tropic of Cancer which passes through a part of the island. I could endlessly write about all the great things which happened to me, so I will pick up only few of them.
– I have spent few days living in the bush, where there were lots of snakes around! But they were not really dangerous to humans.
– I have been snorkeling and diving so I saw a coral reef which was absolutely stunning!
– I have visited a place where the Tropic of Cancer passes through.
– I have learnt how to drive a car ! First time in my life. It was so funny because I was pretty sure I will just break the car and I will cause lots of accidents on the island, but luckly I did manage to learn how to drive and I can say I became a good driver! After one week , my host- family just gave me a car so I could drive around the island by my own. One day my host-family had guests from Barcelona so I took a car and I shown them some places around the island.
-I have also become a god-mother to one baby on the island! Her name is Olivia and now I am obligated to come back to the Bahamas one day again.
-I have learnt how to plant the organic plants and I helped on the farm. I have also planted some palm trees and I ate a sugar cane.
-I ate coconuts, bananas, passion fruits straight from the trees.
-I have spent Christmas “under palms”. Mostly all of the people decorate the palm tree instead of the Christmas tree, but my host-family had a Christmass tree imported from Canada! so everyone just came to our house to admire ‘a strangeChristmas tree’. The decoration on the Christmas tree was made from the shells or even from the starfish.
-I have met some Canadians, Americans and British people who are coming to the Bahamas to buy a house and settle down when they are older. There are also many expensive holidays resort where rich people come to spend few days, but there are still some native and wild areas of this island and I am glad I have had an opportunity to see the Bahamas not from the tourist side , but from the native side.
-I have met some people who have never left The Bahamas. When I told them that there would be a winter when I be back to
Canada, they asked if I would be able to wear my shorts. When I shown them a snow in the pictures, they were very surprised and one eight years old girl who was living at the same place as I did, said :I don’t believe in snow. It’s just a fantasy. Snow doesn’t
exist in the real world. Unfortunately I was not able to convince her when I shown her more pictures and videos.She still doesn’t believe in snow.
-Bahamian people love to party! I have been to many parties, the strangest one was a party organised by the police when all the police from the island just met up with local people and they had lots of fun. Unforgettable experience 🙂
-And Bahamian people are always, always happy! Maybe the reason of that is the fact they live in the paradise? Anyway, I have learnt how to be as happy as they are, and now I have lots of positive energy here in Canada to accomplish my goals in the second semester.
I have posted some pictures from the Bahamas below and in the next post, I am going to write some tips for students from Aberystwyth who are coming/thinking to come to Canada for the student exchange in next year.
Me and the starfish which I found in the Caribbean Sea.
Cece running on the sandbars.
I have been flying over The Devil’s (Bermuda) Triangle !:)
With my host family and 96 years old grandma.
Tropic of Cancer Beach, Little Exuma.
Me and my god-daughter Olivia 🙂
My friend who met Johnny Depp, as the Pirates of the Carribean movie was made in the Bahamas.
Me and my German friend Violetta who has joined our ‘family’ in The Bahamas.
And here are two last pictures taken by Violetta.