Meet Holly and Hannah Stark, two Hallam students who recently returned from a year-long exchange at Trent University; follow them in their experiences as they travel to Canada and America and see the benefits of studying abroad!
“It was incredible how quickly we felt a sense of comfort and unity with these once unfamiliar faces.
Arriving on a yellow school bus with frozen windows (on the inside!) in early January, we began our journey into a world of the unknown. Under the two pairs of thermals and several layers of cotton and wool, we wondered if we could remember what warmth felt like. -41 degrees was a shock to the system and three months of snow made us realise how lucky us Brits have it in winter.
But we soon adapted to the Canadian climate; skiing, ice skating, plenty of Tim Horton’s and trips to maple farms made us learn to love the cold. And it definitely can’t go unmentioned: you really can pour maple syrup into the snow, wait for it to become gooey and then scoop it onto a stick and have a maple lollipop!
Suddenly over the short period of a week, zero degrees became twenty three, spring was skipped and summer began. We didn’t understand Canada, but we loved it; the people, the climate and the uni. Trent University looked picturesque everyday, both covered in snow, and illuminated by sunshine.
We likened it to Hogwarts, with four competing houses, and a Great Hall. Trent also had a beautiful river and its stunning campus made the exam stress much easier to cope with. Adjusting to a new place can be tricky but we tried to embrace everything possible, whether that be the constant ‘eh?’s after sentences, the plastic waterproof money or the milk sold in bags (not cartons), and funnily enough, we now miss the things we initially found unusual.
On top of reading five books a week and indulging in Canadian Literature, we took it upon ourselves to learn some new skills from our fellow international students; these involved attempting to speak Dutch, juggle, longboard and cook (but mainly eat) Latin food (Tigrillo, Locro and Arepas are personal favourites and definitely worth a Google.)
We managed visits to Toronto, hockey and baseball games, the incredible Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and New York City, all within reasonable distance of Trent Uni, but nevertheless, time began to pass much too quickly…”