In this new series UCM-student Floortje Rawee (21) will write about her experiences as an exchange student in Kingston, Ontario, Canada at the Queen's University. This week she talks about all the little differences between Canada and the Netherlands.
After too long a period of goodbyes, in which I started to wonder why I actually had to leave again – I guess that’s what usually happens; wasn’t the last day of high school so much fun that you (almost) forgot how much you wanted to leave it? – I finally took off to Canada on Thursday last week.
Although Canada is a modern, Western country, like the Netherlands, it’s the little things that do make it feel very different. Especially during my first day in Kingston, on Saturday, when I was completely alone in a country completely new to me. How was I supposed to know that streets are ridiculously long here, with an average of 800 numbers per street? Thinking that I would just have to get off the bus on Johnson Street didn't work, made me have to walk another ten minutes until I actually reached my house.
Talking about buses, how should I have known that you open the door of a bus by just pushing it, instead of by waiting for the bus driver to push some sort of button to open it? How was I supposed to know that ordering a medium cappuccino would make you end up with half a litre of coffee? How was I supposed to know that you don't buy beer in the supermarket, but in the special ‘Beer Store’? How was I supposed to know that you shouldn’t go outside with wet hair, as it may freeze in minus fifteen? And how was I supposed to know that snow and ice are slippery?
Well, I could have, probably like many of the other differences. Although these things sometimes caused embarrassing situations, made me feel unworldly or just plain stupid, they are funny as well and since they are just little things, they are easy to get used to. Learning the hard way is usually the most effective one.
Name: Floortje Rawee (21)
Study: second-year UCM-student
Goes to: Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada
From: 3 January until the end of May