Noorulain Shoaib – Human Biology – Level 3

Brock University, Canada

My Canadian Adventures

I couldn’t find any direct flights to Toronto from Edinburgh, so I had to fly from Glasgow. I thought this journey would be as unexciting as it comes, you know. Boring and tedious because I am a control freak and tend to check my checklist at least three times every hour. But boy was I wrong. I had not even boarded the plane and already had had two mini mental breakdowns.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we. It was a bright (as bright as it can get on a cloudy Glasgow day) and happy morning. My mom had cried half the way to the airport because this was my first time travelling alone. This was my first time away from home, siblings, comfort and most importantly my mom. I was going to live with a non-Muslim family and do everything on my own. I was equal parts excited and terrified. My mom had tried to pack absolutely anything she thought I might struggle finding. That includes salt too (yeah, I know). After the waterworks at the departures, I finally got to the security check ins and forgot to take off my shoes, had to go back and do it over again, all the while trying not to make any eye contact with the staff to stave off my embarrassment.

Let’s not forget the fact that I almost forgot my carry-on bag at the security. Yup. I did that too. I was just casually strolling the duty-free sections when I noticed a cute keychain and thought “Aww this would look cute on my bag” only to discover that I was not pulling anything with me. I had to run all the way back to the security check in point and spot my bag sitting in a corner. Sobbing for me to come get it. I am going to go in detail about the walk if shame I had to do back to the duty-free area. (no, I did not buy that keychain).

Then I was sitting in the Starbucks at the airport, trying to calculate how much it costs to get a new charger because as I was taking out the cable, it proper snapped (iPhone, I know). So now my phone was on battery saver mode for the next 12 hours because I refuse to buy a cable that will only last me three weeks before I have to buy it again. I have seen this vicious cycle happen to many of my friends.

On the plane I got a middle seat between two elderly people who liked the loo better than their seats. Meaning I had to get up from my seat at least fifteen times in three hours.

But to be honest it was not that bad. I found my luggage at the same spot I forgot it, turns out my phone charger works just fine (after I adjust it on three different angles), Both the old men were really polite and wished me luck for my future and I really enjoyed my flight as a Whole( I finally got to watch COCO for the first time).

All in all it was a fun trip. I know it sounds like a mess and feels like I was half crying the whole time but I really did enjoy the whole trip and anticipate the future adventures.

Until next time!

Last Night in Canada

It is the 31st of December.  A mere hour away from 2020. To say that 2019 has been crazy would be an understatement really. I have learned so much in just a year and have so many amazing choices. Made some amazing friends from all over the world, met up with old friends, traveled, lived and learned so many important life lessons. Canada has been amazing and even more amazing has been the experience of this Exchange.

I feel like when people talk about exchanges and how they attended another university and school, they focus more on the fun parts. like the travelling part and the partying part, the making loads of friends part and the new lifestyle part. But I want to talk about the more serious and academic parts of Exchanges. I know it may sound boring and may seem like I had an awful time but the truth of the matter is that I learned a to. not just academically but also in general. I got to experience how people study in this part of the word. What they expect out of students and how different we are to them.

These four months flew past me and at the same time get like years. They felt like years because I was away from my family and staying here in Canada made me realise how much of a homebody and comfort seeking person I am. I discovered that I have an automatic tendency of separating myself from uncomfortable situations. Be it late party invites (Which my anxious self finds too uncomfortable) or uncomfortable people. That is not to say that I did not go to late night parties. I just found out what kind of late night parties I enjoy. I also found out that no matter how much I try and think of myself as a shy and quite person, I am not. I cannot stay quite for more that 20 minutes and I just have to have someone around me to listen to me jabber. *insert all of my friend’s eye rolls*. I am proud to say that my constant jabber is one of the reasons why I was able to make such amazing friends.

Now, lets get to the academic part (hear me out, ok). University in Canada is stressful. I know, I know, a lot of people will be like “what are you talking about?”. But listen to me. University here is so much more like High School that I would get momentarily confused as to whether I was in school or University. Students here are expected to attend all the lectures (duh!!), sit midterms, tests, submit graded lab reports, graded and ungraded assignments, and on top of that, students have to choose their own timetable!!!!. I know the last is not uncommon in UK but I had no idea it was this stressful until i had to choose my own timetable and figure out what class to take.

However, between all of these assignments, seminars, assignments and seminars I got to learn how to manage my time between tasks. How to not have several mental breakdowns over just two assignments in a semester. No, really. Now I can have several mini meltdowns and and by the end of it not even be bothered about it too much *wink wink*. But all jokes aside, I saw the benefits of these little assignments and credits that are spread out over the course work. i got to learn a lot of new methods of learning and and writing. I don’t think I have ever been more proud of a paper asI was when my TA told me that she loved my essay and asked the professor to read it too. I learnt the importance of lab work and how to take it seriously ( I started taking it seriously after the second last lab report when I found out that these are graded but that’s not the point hehe). Most importantly I got the chance to learn from a lot new and amazing professors who are just as passionate about their subject as all of my other professors too. (Please Don’t get me wrong. I had heard so many bad stories about professors).

I will leave Canada tomorrow but the memories I have made are priceless and I hope everyone gets to experience the joys of an Exchange!!!!!!!!!

Semester Abroad Experiences

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