I opted to spend my third year abroad at the University of Calgary, a place best known for its appearance in the Disney movie ‘Cool Runnings’, and for having a temperature average of -25. Well this week, that turned out to be completely accurate when it reached a record low of -43.
With just over a month left I’ve had a chance to reflect on what I’ve learnt by risking it all to study abroad. I am now a proficient line dancer, I can two-step and dance at least eight different set line dances – line dancing here is the equivalent to clubbing or attending a ceilidh. If you can’t dance, you’re expected to learn, fast! Calgary is the home of the ‘new west’ and very country. My Spotify now has a number of country playlists which I will listen to for evermore. University here is much more hands on than Glasgow with assessments throughout the term, although it’s surprisingly enjoyable. Just last week in class they bought puppies into a lecture because ‘sometime you need some puppy love’?! Living an hour away from the Rockies is great for all things to do with snow. As much as I complain about assessments I have managed to ski at least every other weekend, as well as trying and failing at winter sports that I didn’t even know existed.
The biggest thing though is the people. I have made friends from literally all over the world. I have celebrated National Australia Day and an important date in the Finnish calendar that I couldn’t pronounce. I have been taught by Norwegians that après ski requires an entire bottle of spirit, minimum. I have discovered that Canadian’s really arefriendly and too polite, you steal a traffic cone here to bring back to your flat, and it is frowned upon. I’ve learnt how to sing in Spanish and that Spanish people salsa as a form of transit. Also, everywhere I’ve gone I’ve bumped into people from home to share it with. So as next Monday brings in my country’s national day, St. Patrick’s, I am excited to scar and taint other foreigners and locals, who have scarred and tainted my memories with only good times. Oh, and the ability to swear in numerous languages.