Well, the time has come for me to leave Ottawa. In three days, I will have finished my last two exams, hastily packed my bags and be flying on to Washington DC to do some more travel.
I have had the most amazing time in Ottawa, and I can't believe just how quickly this semester has flown by!
If you've ever considered going on exchange, I'm sure you already have a pretty good idea of all the reasons why a semester abroad is pretty much one of the best things you can do while you're at uni. So, I've decided to dedicate this entry to why studying in Canada whilst on exchange is so awesome! Clearly, I can't speak for the other countries, which I imagine are all pretty cool too, but I am biased. So if you've ever thought about going to Canada, here's my list of why you should hop on that plane asap!
#1. The Canadians are really cool people. They are very friendly, and they love Australians. Although I found that they worked very hard at uni, once the study is done, they're really laid-back and fun to be around. Because I grew up in a small town in Australia, I've really enjoyed that nearly all the Canadians I've met also grew up in a small town and then moved on to a bigger city to study. It means that once you start meeting some Canadians, you'll be able to hear lots of really different stories from people all over the country.
Although it may be hard to tell from this picture, it was taken at the Christmas Carols evening at Parliament a few nights ago. They also had little bonfires for people to roast their marshmallows on and we all got free hot chocolate and "beaver tails" (a pastry covered in cinammon and sugar shaped like a beaver's tail) - I told you the Canadians were nice!
Westport, a tiny little town about an hour and a half out of Ottawa
#2. Canada is such a beautiful and diverse country, geographically. They have the Rocky Mountains in the West, the prairies in the centre, places like Prince Edward Island on the Atlantic coastline, and then of course there's beautiful Ottawa with its Parliament Buildings and icy weather! Although Canada is so big that weekend travel during semester can be a little bit hard to go a long way, if you allow some time before or after your trip you'll be able to see a lot. Also, I've found that just from Ottawa I've still been able to find somewhere within a few hours drive to visit every weekend.
A photo from my travels in the Canadian Rockies
#3. Canada and Australia share a lot in common, mostly because of our shared history with Great Britain. However, Canada differs from Australia because of its french-speaking population. The Francophones do not all live in Quebec, like you may imagine. They are spread all throughout Canada and there are several distinct Francophone groups. It makes for an interesting European twist for the otherwise typical North American cities. Also, it means that crepes and bagels can be found on any and every street corner (right beside the hot dogs).
Would you believe that this picture was not taken in Europe, but in fact in Montreal!
#4. Canada gets snow. And we are not just talking a few pretty flakes here and there to land on your nose and eyelashes. We are talking knee-deep, powdery, constant snowfalls. Even if you hate the cold, you should still come to Canada because they heat their buildings so well that most of the time you just get a pretty view from a warm room. When you do venture outside, you can make snowmen, have snowball fights, make snow angels - the list of is endless! And you'll have so much fun that you won't get cold!
Locals skating in front of the Kingston City Town Hall
I am very sad to be leaving Canada, but I definitely hope to return sometime soon. Until next semester in Australia, I'll be doing some more travel through the US and then China! In mid-January, I begin an internship for my course (which is Media and Communications) at The Korea Herald in Seoul. So I promise to keep you updated on the next part of my journey too :)