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

Phillip Island och skola!

Hej!
Har varit på Phillip Island sist jag skrev! Det var fantastiskt, där fick vi se en massa djur och gå runt på Melbournes första farm. Vi hälsade även på lite koalor, kängrur och pelikaner. Kommer lite bilder längre ner! Vi var på en choklad fabrik och på en känd strand Woolamai Beach. Denna helgen som precis varit var jag på en AFL match (Aussie ruled football) kul men kallt var det. Dock förlorade hemmalaget (Melbourne FC) stort.
Har även en del att göra i skolan, tre inlämningar denna veckan (två var i måndags) och en nästa vecka. Sen rullar det på och jag har inlämning/presentation varje vecka hela september. Tur att vi inte har så bra väder, lättare att sitta inne och plugga då!
/Lotta

 

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.

Only four weeks left…

…until my semester in Australia is over. It has really gone by fast, it feels as if I arrived at Tullamarine Airport just yesterday and I met my house mate Matt for the very first time, when he picked me up. I guess these four weeks that are left will go by even more quicker!

Since I last blogged a few weeks ago a lot of fun stuff have been happening – I have been both to Tasmania and Indonesia, which both were great! I will write more about those trips in another post, but I will devote this post to the academic part of my semester. I don’t think I have written much about the differences between studying in Australia and Sweden and this info might be useful for those of you who consider going on exchange!

The biggest difference between my Malmö uni and my australian one is that I study four subjects and the same time. I have one lecture and one tutorial (what we in Sweden call “seminarium”) for each subject, each week – 8 “activities” all together, per week. Another difference is that you have the exact same schedule for one semester, which made at least me feel that the school became way too much of a routine. Unfortunately enough I also ended up with lectures and tutorials that started at 8 am every day….

Another difference is that you have assignments due almost every single week, where as you in Sweden usually only have a hemtenta or salstenta at the end of a subject and then a few group presentations during a seminarium. Anyway, at ACU I have had assignments due almost every week. They consist of reading responses or commentaries, which means that you in about 180-220 words should summarize the key points of one of the required readings for that week but also provide a bit of analyze yourself. My experience is that word limits are pretty rare in Sweden, we mostly use pages, but at ACU word limits are what guides your writing! I thought it sounded really hard at the beginning, getting to say all of the things I wanted to say AND draw conclusions on top of that, but now I like having to adjust to a word limit, it makes my points and ideas much more clearer and straight forward and I actually feel that the things I write holds a high quality even if it’s only 200 words.

So, reading responses/commentaries are one form of assignment. Another one I’ve had was a mid-semester test in philosophy, which consisted of 20 multiple choice questions, which I’ve never had before in Sweden. It went really well – sorry for bragging but I was the only one in the whole class to get 20 out of 20! It was my first test of the semester so I was really happy about that. My studies are paying off…

Yet another assignment type is an annotated bibliography. This one was for my Global change & development subject and we had to choose from around 10 different topics provided by our lecturer and then find four peer reviewed articles. We then had to write around 1200 words which should include why that article is valuable for our research essay (which will be based upon the topic and articles you chose for your annotated bibliography), which theories the author uses, which key points the author makes and so on. This assignment also went really well for me and I was so proud of myself since I haven’t had any experience of writing academic papers in english before my semester in Melbourne.

I have had to do research essays in two different subjects. One was for the Global change subject, which meant that you used the articles from the annotated bibliography for your research essay. I chose a topic where I had to discuss how neoliberalism has affected volunteer tourism as a development practice, which was really interesting to write about. In the essay I had to argue for my position, but of course always with support from the articles I had chosen. The research essay was more like a normal paper that I am used to in Sweden, but the annotated bibliography was useful to have done as well, since that really is what you do when you write a B- or C-uppsats in Sweden – arguing for why the literature you have chosen for your essay are valuable and how it is related to your own position.

The other assignments I’ve had are essays, which were around 500 words each. You got a few questions to answer and it was pretty straightforward as usual – always support your own thoughts with the arguments found in the literature for that subject.

This friday I have a philosophy essay due, which is 1200 words. You had to choose between different topics such as sexual freedom, abortion, punishment and so on, and develop your own ideas of why the arguments provided by a specific philosophical branch are, or are not, valid arguments, which was really interesting.

As you might tell, the assignments are always very short in regards of the word limit but I really find that you get a lot said with a low word limit.

Puh, now I’m done with this essay/blog post and I will treat myself to some wine and movie in bed! This is my last week of lectures, before my three final exams in june 2nd, 16th and 18th. Wish me luck…

Wine tour in Mornington Peninsula.

Hello!
Yesterday I went on a wine tour in Mornington Peninsula with three of my american friends. We found the deal on Groupon and for 70 dollars you got picked up by a mini bus in the city (with seven other people that were also going on the tour) and then taken to five different vineyards in the Mornington Peninsula region. We started off at a dairy farm where they made different types of goat cheese, from the goats that lived at the farm. Then we drove to our first vineyard – we got to taste about six different wines at every vineyard and you could, of course, also buy some wine if you found something special – which I did! I bought a sweet moscato that I tried last night after getting back from the tour, along with the two goat cheeses I bought at the dairy farm. The wines and cheeses were pretty fancy but I thought that I would treat myself since I’m going home to Sweden soon. Anyway, one of the wine bottles I bought is perfect for saving a few years, so I really hope bringing alcohol back to Sweden is legal and that it will survive the almost 25 hour flight back home…

Here are some pictures from the tour! The tour guide Jason was really nice also and having a good tour guide is really important to fully appreciate a tour, so if you’re going on exchange to Melbourne, I can highly recommend this tour! We booked through Groupon for a special price, but you can also book straight through the company here.

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Easter break in Australia.

It’s been a while since I posted something here, I keep forgetting about the blog. Anyway, my easter break is just finished and tomorrow it’s time to face reality – back to uni! I have four essays due in the next couple of weeks as well as several minor assignments. Then I have three final exams in june and this exchange semester is over. I already feel that the time has gone by super quickly here.

However, back to my easter break! My american friend Paige and I booked flights to Alice Springs in Northern Territory about a month ago. On tuesday we left Melbourne on our five hour delayed flight with Tiger air, which is a budget airline. I guess you get what you pay for… We got to Alice Springs safe and sound anyway and Miles from Toddy’s hostel picked us up. We had booked a three day tour with The Rock Tour, which included one night at a hostel before leaving at 5.30 am on wednesday for our first tour day. I keep forgetting how huge Australia is – we sat several hours each tour day in the van going to different places. This was part of the experience, meeting people from different parts of the world (we were around 20 people in the van taking the tour) and seeing almost no other people or cars on the road. The desert was the only surroundings and it was truly beautiful even if it became a bit hard to figure out where we were sometimes!

On tour day one we went to beautiful Kings Canyon for a three hour hike. It might not sound that hard but keep in mind that it was 30 degrees and no shadow anywhere… It was a good hike anyway and during the tour we got information about aboriginals and their history. It was very interesting and I would like to more about it since it is such a big part of Australia’s history and I feel a bit ashamed coming to Australia without having any deeper understanding of how of an impact this has had on the Australian society. I guess it is a good thing that I at least feel encouraged to read more about this now.

After our hike we had lunch in the sun and then went for a drive to Curtain Springs where we set up our bush camp. We made dinner over the camp fire and then we slept in sleeping bags underneath the stars, it was really beautiful and a great experience!

On day two we had to get up at 5.15 am – we were driving to Kata Tjuta to go on another hike. Our tour guide lied when he said that day one was the hardest part of the tour… However, it felt really good being outdoors for three whole days and sleeping underneath the stars. On the last day we saw the sunrise over Uluru and then we went for our last hike.

I had such a great time and I really recommend future exchange students in Australia to do this tour. However, a major critic of this trips is that it is based on the history of aboriginal culture but almost no money goes back to the aboriginal community, which I think is a great problem.

 

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Melbourne on bike!

Hi!
A few weeks ago I got a bike from my friend’s mother, to use during my exchange. Besides saving tram money it’s a nice way of seeing the city through a different perspective. The first time I biked to school I discovered many things along the streets which I hadn’t seen before. Also, having a bike means that you’re able to go anywhere, not having to rely on the tram (even if the tram actually is pretty comfortable and fast).

It’s about 9 kilometers one way to my uni – I get some good exercise every day, no doubt about that. The first days of biking back and forth between my house and uni my legs were pretty sore… Also, you are required by law to wear a helmet. It makes you look pretty geeky, which you can tell from the picture below. There’s also a picture from the bike path to uni – it’s just straight ahead for 9 km and you can see all the way down to the CBD and the tall buildings, since the bike path begins from a small hill.

 

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