By Fiona Lee
Welcome back everyone to the first issue of SIN ’19/20! I’m excited to keep writing for this lovely paper, even if I am a few miles further west from campus this time around. As a part of my course (Arts with Journalism), I will be spending this semester in Canada, studying a variety of modules at the University of Ottawa. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ottawa, it’s about an hour-long flight from Toronto, if that helps at all.
When I first found out I’d be doing this in February or March of this year, I couldn’t have been more delighted and relieved. Studying abroad has been something I always imagined would be part of my university experience and I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to do so. I never expected to find myself in Canada, but it seems to be a popular spot for Irish people at the moment, so great!
However, I won’t pretend it has been nothing but a dream. Getting organised through emails with NUIG and University of Ottawa, organising accommodation from abroad, even packing, were all stressful. It was hard to get excited, what with all the nerves surrounding moving away from all I know, away from my friends and boyfriend, and hoping I hadn’t missed any important details along the way. I didn’t even feel like I was really leaving until I had already left, and even then it’s weird to think I won’t be going back home for the entirety of the semester, which suddenly feels much longer.
Now that I’m here, though, the anticipation and feelings of uncertainty are gone and I’m nothing but excited for what is ahead of me. I’m settled in my accommodation in Byward Market (lovely spot) and am throwing myself into student life here in Ottawa. After all, four months is not very long, so I have no time for hesitation!
I don’t have many exciting or adventurous tales to tell as of yet as my main goal for the last two days has been figuring out where I am in this new spot of the world, settling into my new home and trying to meet a few people! It’s great to arrive a bit earlier (at the time of writing this article my classes don’t start for another week) but there are still social activities going on for new students. I’m slowly finding the balance between my social life and getting my life in order.
I did feel a bit shy initially, at the first ‘Internationals Meet Up’ event, but really there was no need to be! I shook it off, joined a table of Swedish and Austrian students, and it couldn’t have been nicer. Everyone, especially other international students, are eager to meet people, make connections and make friends, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and find people you can have fun with during your stint abroad. If you find someone a wee bit disinterested who doesn’t want to talk to you, just move on and keep looking, don’t be discouraged! Doesn’t matter how loud or quiet,outgoing or introverted you are, you’ll find people you like.
I think that’s all for now, I’ll update you next issue! Thanks for reading.