Hectic September!

Soooo… Back again after a busy month of parties, exploring the city, meeting new people and building friendships, and of course studying *wink wink* No seriously 🙂 studying!

I managed to get sick twice so far, along with most students living in the halls. The nightlife here is amazing which makes it difficult to get sufficient rest.

I’ve been doing quite well on the nutrition front, eating healthy and going to the gym regularly.

salmon & veggies

gym

I’ve been to the beach :D, actually swam in the sea, it was so cold that my body was numb and it felt amazing (I think I just realized why i got sick!). My lovely French friends and I have also been to Arthur’s seat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur’s_Seat), we climbed all the way up and had a picnic at the top followed by a choreographed dance to “dancing in september”, footage of that might be revealed someday in the future. I have to mention that Mel B from the Spice Girls was in a (what i think was) a festival tent outside just a few meters from the beginning of Arthur’s Seat, I only realized that after we had gone up and was too lazy to run back down to meet her! 🙁

swans

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picnic

picnic

Made it to the top

Made it to the top

Arthur's Seat

Louis

Axel

Louis

at the beach

So far I’ve baked twice for 2 birthdays, and cut 3 guys’ hair. Fun fun fun!

Charline's Bday

my friends

Axel's haircut

Haven’t had so much time to see my baby sister 🙁 I’ll hopefully get to see her more soon assuming my life won’t be as hectic.

I haven’t managed to get to any skateparks yet 🙁 I’m dying to though so as soon as I get a day off and it happens to be sunny I’ll go out and skate.

Oh yeah, one more new thing done, I went to Musselburgh Racecourse for research for one of my courses (Marketing Research). I’ve never seen a horse race live before, it was interesting and quite fun 🙂

Musselburgh Racecourse

I’ve joined the football team and cheerleading but since I’m sick I’ve only managed to show up one time for each. I’ve also applied to do some volunteering with sports. Time time time! Need more time. And MONEY! I need a job… :/ TIME!

Wow I’ve written over 400 words so far 😀 which reminds me that I have an essay of 700 words due next week!

I’m a blogging correctly?!?! :s /Dania OUT!

Queen Margaret Uni

The Parliament

Pub Crawl

Harry Potter

J. K. Rowling handprint

U of G – Week 2

Did you know…

That milk is sold in transparent plastic bags in Canada? Apparently it is much cheaper to buy a bag with 3L of milk than it is to buy 1L or 2L of milk contained in carton. The bag contains within it 3 smaller bags of 1L milk each. However, it is also possible to buy 4L of milk divided into two bags. Fascinating.

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Dear reader,

Another week and yet another blog entry. This time I will be focusing on living on campus, its pros and cons, as well as my observations so far. I will also tell you a little bit about how my lectures went, and, of course, a bit of drama. Brew your tea, add some “half and half”, stir in a bit of honey, take a sip and read on.

Living in the East Village

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First of all, I’m currently living on campus in a residence community called East. As I mentioned in the earlier post the East residence is divided into two parts: Village and Residence. I live in Village. Which is pretty much the “adult” part of town…or village. You get the point.

Moving on!

The East Village is a, usually, quiet and serene area with townhouses. Within the residence is a building merged into the townhouses called The Town Hall. Inside are the mailboxes, laundry room, games room (with tennis and pool tables, and a TV), as well as beverage and snack machines, and a large room upstairs which you can rent.

On the opposite side is a building called East Residence. This is where all the youths usually reside. You can also find a convenience store in there (quite convenient, eh?), the East residence desk, and an ATM.

I have yet to see the insides of the East residence rooms. However, the village townhouses are quite similar to each other, and are reasonably furnished. For example, the townhouse I’m currently living in is shared with three other women other than myself. We each have our own room, and each floor, there are 3, has a bathroom and a shower. Except for the first floor/ground floor which has the kitchen and dining/living room. Quite cozy, too.

Lately I have been referring to Canada as a “zoo”. Why? Well, let me tell you something. I saw a skunk the other week, I see more than 5 squirrels every single day, adorable chipmunks passing by, and there is at least one ground hog in my front “yard”.

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Suite mates

So far I have, sadly, not been able to properly communicate with my suite mates. They seem to be too busy with their own lives to even care about whom they live with. I managed, however, to have a nice conversation a couple of times time one of them.

Not wanting to be the annoying suite mate I have been ignoring the whole awkward situation and gone on with my life. However, I did send an email to the lot about meeting up. Guess how many replied? So frustrating.

Classes

IMG_1772IMG_1769My first week of lectures was both exciting and disappointing. I ended up dropping a couple of courses due to their irrelevance, and chose three new ones instead. Latin, here I come! However, before I was even able to drop out of my courses, I needed to speak to my programme coordinator, who, by the way, is six hours ahead of me in time. Thank God, he answered quite fast (at 1 AM his time) and I managed to drop and register the courses within a day. Thank you so much Berndt Clavier!

The teachers here, mostly, refer to themselves as professor or doctor X. and, thankfully, they also tell you what to call them. You see, we don’t use titles or prefixes in Denmark or Sweden. Meaning I currently have to restrain myself from calling the professor by their first name. That would be rude unless they told you otherwise.

Something I discovered here in Guelph was the i-clicker. This device is used in class as a tool for multiple choice questions. For example, in both the history courses I am taking we often use the i-clicker during the lector. The professor allows us a certain amount of time to pick our answer, before ending the question and showing us the answers. These quizzes count towards your final grade.

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Sincerely,

Lady Diala

U of G – Week 1

Did you know…

that the “Poutine” is a common Canadian dish which originally comes from Quebec? The dish basically consists of fries, curd cheese, and gravy. You can also find different toppings sold at various restaurants and fast food chains, such as a vegetarian poutine.

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Dear reader,

This week has been just as hectic, if not more, as the previous one. With the orientation week and its 500+ events, culture clashes from left and right, and a certain juvenile suitemate. The o-week, as they call it here, was amazing. People were everywhere beaconing students to listen to their cause, inviting others to taste some delicious vegan BBQ, get a free book or buy a plant. However, before the o-week was kicked off, Move-in Day made its appearance. It all started on a hot summer day, one busy Saturday morning…

Move-in Day

I woke up early that day excited, and exhausted from the day before. I quickly finished up some dishes from last evening, and went back up to my room, waiting. Didn’t last long since I quickly got bored and decided to clean around the house, watch some TV shows, cook, Skype with my family, print and cut out coupons, and before I knew it, it was quite late in the afternoon. Nobody had turned up yet. Suddenly the front door to the three story townhouse was opened, and in came a girl. The said girl shot me a quick “Hi, I’m Ta ta~.” put her stuff away inside her room, locked the room, and left the house. She came back the evening before classes were supposed to start. That is, four days later.

However, the day after the disappointing “move-in day” another girl moved in. I greeted her with a smile and offered her a hand. Alas! I was, yet again, shot a “I’m La la~.” And she continued with an upset visage “I don’t like it here. I hate this place.” I dared ask why, and was met with a shaking head and another mumbled answer “I really hate this place.”

The third and last girl moved in while I was out busy with o-week. We accidentally met when an RA (residence assistant) rang the doorbell. She was a nice girl, and we quickly agreed on a basic kitchen rule.

Other than these three instances with the suite mates, I haven’t had the chance to actually sit and chat or get to know the people I’m living with. I’ve been trying to strike a conversation, you know, a simple “good morning, how are you today?” and was either answered with a “hi, ok” or a nod. All of them always seem to be in a hurry, and mind you, I have not been constantly trying to get to know them, oh no. I’ve been leaving them alone to their business and stuck to my own. However, none of them as much as communicate with one another. One is always running around (probably sorting things out) or in her room, the second is always in her room and I barely ever see her, and the third prefers to skip classes (since she hates the university, although she assured me that nothing was wrong with it) and watch Bollywood movies with wine all day and night.

The audacity!

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Pictures from the Orientation Week.

The Pep Rally

Putting aside boring residence problems, I would like to tell you all about my pep rally experience. However, first I presume I must clarify the term itself. A pep rally is intended to “pep” (energize) an audience before a sports game. The whole point is to get people excited and pepped. That is in briefer terms: to encourage the school spirit. The whole pep rally is seen as a huge support to the team who will be playing and cheerleaders usually also show off some dance moves and keep the audience cheering.

My role in this:

Each on-campus and off-campus residence community was divided into several groups of students. You’ve got North, East, South, West, and the off-campus living students. East was divided into East Village and East Residence/Side. And East side/residence was also divided into smaller groups, depending on the different names of their buildings. The whole dividing act was also applied on the other residence communities. I live in East Village, and had to pep with my fellow EV’s.

We got a t-shirt with the residence logo on (a monkey holding a banana in my case), and we were to learn some “dance moves” within a couple of hours before the actual event. Fantastic! Everybody was nervous and we all complained about not having had enough time to practice. Nevertheless, the pep turned out well. We danced, bumped into each other, and had a laugh. An overall great and unique time was had.

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Pictures from the Pep Rally.

Niagara Falls

Naturally, if you’re in the area of the famous waterfalls you ought to pay them a visit. START International had such an event planned, and I quickly signed up for it. I’m so glad I did. The Falls were absolutely astonishing. Although, I must say the pictures and videos I have seen of them kind of make them look bigger than what they actually are. Don’t get me wrong, the Falls are quite huge and sprayed a shower-like mist whenever you got close. My point is, don’t expect them to be covering the entire area like I did. Because they don’t.

Moving on, my group and I were guided to a big cruise-like boat and were given a plastic poncho which was supposed to protect us from the “mist”. I’m glad I brought my raincoat with me. Because the “mist” was like a shower, a heavy shower of rain which made me laugh in delight. The experience was quite hilarious. Though I do think I’m one of a group of few who found it so.

The remaining of the time my group and I took a long walk around the area, which looked strangely Americanized, and we ended the whole trip with a visit to Hershey’s Chocolate Factory.

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Pictures from the Niagara Falls trip.

Sincerely,

Lady Diala

Pre-Autumn Semester Shenanigans – Week 3

Dear reader,

I finally arrived to Guelph on the 26th, and was thrown right into a neatly scheduled breath taking, feet exhausting, sweaty, hilarious, bonding, and welcoming three days. I cannot express with my current vocabulary how much I enjoyed this three day event with START International and its amazingly talented team. Here you have a snippet of the shenanigans I was so blessed to be a part of:

Caesar Windsor

However, before we move on to Guelph I would like to talk a little bit about this casino my uncle so kindly invited me to. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t play, but we did get a delicious taste of the amazing Market Buffet located in the heart of the fancy place. They had everything from international food to salads of all kinds, and an enormous ring buffet filled with sweets. My favourite dish was the Pasta Your Way section, where you had the choice of various meats, fish, and bird. Afterwards you get to choose the pasta type you prefer, along with a souse. Delicious.

U of G – START International Day 1

I woke up at 6 AM sharp to get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast (just this once), and head towards the University Centre. On my way I was greeted by several brave squirrels, brave because they dared come close rather than run away, and a few students. An overall good morning.

Upon arrival to the UC I found the registration table, registered, signed up for the trip to Walmart, and chose East Side Mario’s as my preferred restaurant to eat at in the evening. Had I ever been to the restaurant? No. However, Italian rarely disappoints.

The trip to Walmart was through your typical American, yellow school bus. The shopping itself was quick and smooth.

Upon return we all, international students alike, went back to our residence to get rid of the burdens of dorm room essentials, took a bath (well I did), and went back to the bus stop area by the UC. There we took a regular bus, our group led by a START International worker, to the Italian restaurant. On our way we all chatted, got to know one another, and had a laugh at how silly the idea of “milk in bags” sounded.

The restaurant itself was very noisy and stereotypically Italian decorated. The food was amazing and so was the service. They we tipped well for that.

We went back to our separate dorm rooms by foot, and had a long talk about TV shows, books, the weather, culture and expensive dairy products on our way there.

The START International team also had a games night arranged. Fun, loud, and ridiculous would be the appropriate terms to use for this event.

U of G – START International Day 2

I started the day with a well-planned breakfast (leftover pizza from the day I arrived), and went by foot to the UC. The place was crowded by happy-tired students, who stood in three long lines. One queue led to the registration table (you would get a tag with your name and country flag on it), a second to the bowling registration table, and a third that led to the breakfast buffet. The said buffet consisted of tea, coffee, and hot chocolate for drinks. Scones, muffins, cinnamon buns, jelly filled puff pastry, and fruit for food. What a way to start a morning, eh?

After “breakfast” we went down to the basement, named Peter Clark Hall. On our name tags we also had a number indicating the table we were to sit at for the rest of the day. Skipping through the funny and very informative presentations given by university staff members and the 12th Councillor herself, Leanne Piper, we were invited to lunch; three tables at the time. Wraps, dessert, and drinks were supplied to everyone in big numbers. After we got our food we went back to the table assigned to us, and started socializing some more.

I met people from all around the world that day. You name the country and/or continent and I can assure you that I’ve met at least one person from there. Amazing. Not only did I meet people through the exhausting Campus Chase, but also through simple incidents such as having a person open the door for you, inside the elevator, at the stores, and even at the bathrooms! People are so incredible nice it’s almost suspicious. Maybe I’m just paranoid.

We ended the day with a noisy dinner, again, and went back home from fear of having a skunk spray us. Yes, I actually saw a skunk. On-campus. I’m loving Canada already.

U of G – START International Day 3

Once again, registration and breakfast at the UC.  We had several people come up on stage and present or explain rules, buildings, the weather and what to wear, and we were also advised to visit the services fairs which not only gave away neat freebies, but also encouraged us to join their movements. Interesting.

After the supplied lunch, we took a quick city tour in Downtown Guelph, before ending the day (well for me mainly) at Diana Downtown, an Indian restaurant.

This will be the last post related to the Pre-Autumn Semester Shenanigans. I’m, finally, going to start my long awaited semester at the University of Guelph on the 4th of September. Please stay tuned for “the real deal”, as they say nowadays, since much more is yet to come.

Sincerely,

Lady Diala

For Illustrated Shenanigans Please Click Here.

Pre-Autumn Semester Shenanigans – Week 1

An Introduction of the Author:

Greetings,

My name is Diala and I am a 21 year old Lady (got proof of this claim) from Denmark. Situated in Denmark I’m currently taking a bachelor programme called English Studies at Malmö University in Sweden. The said programme has allowed me to study abroad in Guelph, Canada as an exchange student. The following semester will last all Autumn, and end in December. Throughout these months I will be documenting my observations, experiences, and mischiefs adventures.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you will enjoy these posts as much as I will enjoy writing them.

 Best regards,

Lady Diala of Chaol Ghleann

 

Over-Friendly Canadians and Suspicious Michiganders.

Dear reader,

My first impression of the Canadians, I was forced to share an 8h 20min flight with, was a relatively good one. They were quiet, polite, and very apologetic. Even their children lived up to those adjectives! They only spoke when spoken to and they apologize a lot. Also, they never showed signs of impatience or anger. Impressive.

IMG_1175IMG_1159IMG_1161IMG_1214Apart from having prepared a long list of essential and semi-essential items to purchase for my dorm room and stay in Guelph, I also had an empty list entitled “Canadians”. However, this one was a mental one and not written on paper. I knew absolutely nothing of this country and its culture before traveling there; nothing aside from Tim Hortons, the people’s over friendly/apologetic nature, Canadian goose (the brand, too), moose, and the rumoured “eh”.

I did see several Tim Hortons on my way from the airport, and I did experience the over-friendly Canadians who would apologize for the simplest of things such as spacing out, not standing in your way, you bumping into them etc. I have seen no moose as of yet, but I did see Canadian goose by the river the next morning.

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The city I am currently staying in is called Windsor. Windsor is located about a 5min drive away from Detroit, Michigan. The day I went there I was relatively excited. The last time I had been to the states was back in 1996, and a lot had changed since then.

After crossing the border I was stopped by a couple of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. My goodness did they take their roles seriously. The hardest part of the entire procedure was for me to keep a straight face. I was questioned by both a white officer and a black officer. Their accents were pure American Hollywood movie accents, and so were their body language and facial expressions. I managed to get though the customs after filling out a form, going through a series of questions, having my fingerprints taken, and getting called ma’am.

Would you blame me for bursting out laughing after getting back into the car?

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Sincerely,

Lady Diala

Pre-Autumn Semester Shenanigans is a special series of blog posts posted once a week in August.

Aussie = Awesome!

Har nu varit i Aussie i tre veckor kan man säga. Jag har skrivit in mig i 4 kurser som man måste här nere. Har varit inne i Melbourne några gånger nu, har ätit middag med flera andra utbytesstudenter, och även haft en lite skandinavisk middag. Super kul att få se staden lite och jag hann faktiskt med lite bilder.
Det har det varit mycket att göra sen man kom ner, busskort skulle fixas, bankkonto och simkort har fixas och säkert mycket mer som jag inte kommer på nu.
Jag bor på campus och rummet är helt okej, på min våning (korridor) bor vi 7 tjejer från olika ställen i världen. Kommer bli en bra termin då alla verkar vara super gulliga och snälla 🙂

Skolan har börjat nu och jag har haft en föreläsning och en workshop. Det känns bra med dessa ämnena än så länge. Min lingvistik föreläsare visade ett klipp från big bang theory i går, så jag gillar honom redan 😀
Har även hunnit planera mina veckor. Här ser skolan mer ut som i gymnasiet där man har fasta tider varje vecka, skönt tycker jag för det är lättare att planera. Dock är terminen bara 12 veckor och man läser 4 ämnen samtidigt, det är lite jobbigare då de flesta av mina inlämningar ligger samtidigt..

I går fixade jag så att jag ska börja ta ett dykarcertifikat, det kommer bli super kul! Jag ska bara klara mig igenom läkarundersökningen sen så får jag börja!

//Lotta

My first encounter with ACU.

Yesterday I was invited to have a coffee with Kirk Doyle, who is working with different international issues at ACU, and Mats Johansson from Malmö University, who is an international coordinator at my home university. It was interesting here about universities through an Australian perspective – I learned that some australian universities have agents, which means that they try to get students to apply to their specific university. I guess this is logic if you consider the fact that students have to pay a fee to the university to study in Australia, however I think that making business out of education is a bit disturbing.

We had an interesting chat about the feeling of experience something new and different and visiting new places in general, but we also spoke about Malmö University and the possibilities there is to go abroad (summer courses, internship abroad, MFS, exchange). I hope that my thoughts about being an MU-student abroad and my reasons for going on an exchange will be useful somehow for the work that MUs international coordinator does!

After having coffee we got a little bit of a tour around ACUs campus by Kirk Doyle. I found out that my university has a rooftop terrace with a café and a great view of Melbourne – something Malmö University could be inspired by, perhaps?

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Five days to go!

newcastleuponI can’t believe these are my last five days in Newcastle. It all went incredibly fast and I feel like I wanted to blog more; I should have blogged more. I have so many things to say, so many blog posts drafts started and never finished, so many ideas on what to write. Without wanting to sound cliché, time was, and is, not on my side. My staying here was never boring and I was always occupied with doing something, that being either studying, seeing places, talking with my family and friends, hanging out with my housemate, etc.

My exchange here exceeded all my expectations. I will continue to blog about this until I won’t have anything to say. I will go back to all my drafts and write about the places I loved visiting, people I’ve met, things I’ve learned (because I’ve learned a lot especially about myself). I feel like I’ve grown to be more responsible, more tidy, and definitely more confident. Living in a foreign country where you start with no friends and no idea where the train metro is, brings out the best and worst in you. And then you have to choose between being afraid of going out of the house or just go out, ask questions, get responses, make friends, and get going. There is no choice, really. You have to do these things. Personal growth will not give you academic credits but looking at things in the long run, it’s the main thing one can gain from an exchange semester.

Right now I am wrapping up my affairs here. I have one essay to finish and hand in, and one sit-in exam and then it’s all done. Then packing, crying, saying my goodbyes. Then taking my plane to Sweden, doing more crying, this time out of joy (because as great as this was I do miss my home, boyfriend, friends, etc.). I can’t believe Monday I will meet my three best friends who I’ve missed like I’ve lost my limbs. All I’m thinking is if they will find me changed, if they will understand how much this meant for me, if they will still like me. I wonder if this is a common thing that runs through every exchange student’s head before they go back home.

My plan for my blog is simple: keep on writing. I want to write about the things that have been great and not so great. I would love it if prospective exchange students would read my blog and find interesting information. I want to write about the things I would have done differently and about the things that I’ve done well. The do’s and don’ts. I’ll try and write relevant advises for anyone considering applying for an exchange semester.

I don’t think I will have time to write anything until Friday when I will officially be done with my exams. So I guess this is goodbye, England. You’ve been magnificent. Goodbye Newcastle University. You’ve been one of the most inspirational places I’ve ever stepped in. Goodbye exchange semester. You’ve been one of my best (if not the best) decisions in my student life.  And Sweden: Vi ses snart!