On an American and English Literature degree, I chose to spend my year abroad at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, with a view to writing my dissertation on Indigenous literature. I’ve had a wonderful 6 months here so far and I can’t wait to see what the remaining 2 months will bring. Here’s a little summary about what Vancouver has to offer and why living here is so fantastic.
Since the age of about 12 I’ve spent many a family holiday in Canada, visiting Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Mont Tremblant multiple times through the years. Whilst the scenery across vast Canada varies hugely, it is always stunning and allows for a great lifestyle. I’ve come to love the Canadian way of life; after leaving the office or school, it is not uncommon for families to spend time in the great outdoors enjoying the nature Canada has to offer. There is always an activity on offer, regardless of the time of year (people also seem to think Canada is always freezing – Vancouver weather isn’t dissimilar to that of the UK).
Since I arrived in Vancouver in August last year, this hidden gem has allowed me to do so many things with friends from all over the world; I’ve been to a Canucks’ game, skiied in Whistler, cycled around the Seawall at Stanley Park, been to the Aquarium (multiple times), visited historic Gastown, had a wander round Granville Island market, completed the Grouse Grind, walked the wobbly Capilano Suspension Bridge, learnt to ice skate (kind of), and been all over stunning Vancouver Island, just to name a few. When I don’t fancy doing something so energetic I love going for lunch and a shop downtown. UBC itself sits on a peninsula into the Pacific Ocean, so it’s surrounded by water on three sides. It’s got its own farm, golf course, winter sports arena, aquatics centre, woodland park on the coast, beach, world famous anthropology museum (handy for dissertation research), Chinese and Rose gardens… like the city, the list goes on and on. It’s a beautiful, huge university, so tonnes to do and see without even having to leave the campus. Vancouver’s proximity to America is also great; I’ve taken a trip down to Seattle for the weekend and been relaxing on the beach in Hawai’i for Spring Break.
Although there have been many things I’ve had to adjust to here (the main one being that supermarkets don’t deliver!!), the culture and activities on offer in this modern city on the water’s edge with mountains and forests in the background are second to none, and I feel incredibly lucky that I have been given the chance to experience Canadian life in such a wonderful environment for the year.
Emily Eastwood studies American and English Literature at UEA.