9 Things You’ll Only Know If You’ve Studied Abroad In Canada
Canada is a great place to study. If you’re lucky enough to have spent your year abroad there, you’ll have experienced the following…
1. Canadians are super friendly
On your arrival in Canada, one of the first things you’ll notice is the welcoming nature of everyone you meet. Canadian’s are extremely proud of their country, and once you’ve made friends they’ll be eager to introduce you to all aspects of their culture. If it’s an authentic and well-rounded experience you’re hoping for, then letting them take the lead is the way to do it.
2. The weather is predictable
It’s no secret that Canadian winters can be brutally cold, but this stereotype seems to have overshadowed the delights of its other seasons. Summers are glorious in Canada, much unlike the hit-and-miss weather we experience in the UK. Yet Fall (Autumn) is the most unmissable, as the leaves turn the most beautiful colours imaginable. Even winter isn’t all bad- if you are eager to get stuck in to winter sports such as skiing and tobogganing.
3. Frosh Week
This is the Canadian version of Freshers’ Week, and study abroad students are always invited to partake. However, if you’re expecting the week of heavy drinking sessions that characterised Freshers, think again. Student drinking culture is certainly not as prominent in Canada and the legal drinking age in Ontario is nineteen. Alternatively, new students are treated to activities which prove that it is entirely possible to bond and have fun without the need for alcohol. Besides, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to party throughout the year. Bag yourself an invite to a kegger for a North American twist on the British house party.
4. Multiple coffee runs to Tim Hortons
Founded by a Canadian hockey player, Tim Horton’s is the most popular fast food establishment in the country. You won’t be able to move for the number of Tim Horton’s you’ll encounter on a daily basis – they’re that common. Tim Horton’s are renowned for their donuts and iced coffee drinks, no doubt the best you will ever try. After a couple of visits, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
5. Visits to some of the most vibrant and multi-cultural cities in the world
Every Canadian province has its own unique charm, and its cities are just as varied. Toronto is hailed as one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, and is home to over 2 and a half million people. The city is a mind-blowing contrast of towering skyscrapers and natural beauty. The shores of Lake Ontario are only a stone’s throw away from the heart of the city if you fancy a break from the bustle of downtown Toronto.
6. You’ll discover why Ice Hockey is one of the best sports there is
Ice Hockey is the quintessential Canadian pastime, and attending a game is a must during your year abroad. The atmosphere is electric, and I can guarantee that it will be more heated than any football match you’ve ever seen. Pro hockey players are renowned for their hot-headedness, so don’t be surprised if you experience a punch up or two on the rink. Surreal, but strangely entertaining.
7. You’ll fall in love with Maple Syrup
Canadian maple syrup is the real deal, and once you’ve tried it you will be hooked. Maple-based goodies are also in abundance, including maple cookies, maple tea and my personal favourite, maple candies. Pay a visit to a sugar bush in early spring, and you’ll receive an awesome insight into the process of how maple sap is obtained from the trees.
Another of Canada’s most popular cuisines, poutine is a meal of fries, gravy and cheese curds. Don’t be fooled into assuming that such a simple sounding dish could be replicated in the UK. Give it a try, and discover your new favourite take out. Your local chippy cannot compete with this level of deliciousness.
9. But of course it wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Niagara Falls
Among the world’s most magnificent, natural phenomena’s, Niagara Falls resides in one of Ontario’s most beautiful regions. The sight of the falls alone is worth a trip, but to make the most of the experience, a boat ride on The Maid of the Mist is an unmissable opportunity to view them up close. The Niagara region is also famous for its many wineries – a tasting tour makes for the perfect summer outing. Alternatively, you can venture over the border to the US for an altogether new adventure!