So it would appear that the ‘let’s hope Ottawa get in touch before the end of the Easter holidays’ philosophy the International Office lady had instilled in us is now a tad redundant, bearing in mind I’ve now been back at university for 2 weeks and have heard exactly nada. Ah well.
I was warned about questionably reliable admin, was warned I may even need to make expensive long-distance phone calls to chase up unreplied to emails but blimey this is just a little frustrating. Exeter you’ve spoiled me; 48 hour turnaround is what I’ve become accustomed to. I know we’ll hear eventually (as the lovely Rhéa of uOttawa’s International Office reassured me in response to my mildly peeved and mostly panicked email: ‘students will receive during the course of May an acceptance or refusal from the University of Ottawa’ so, y’know, super specific stuff), but if I’m honest I am so keen to get Sorting. We had a Pre-Departure Talk the first week back after the hols, and it was all very much ‘you’re going to have such a fab year’ from the super cheery founder of thirdyearabroad.com and then ‘oh but culture shock!! It will happen to you!!’ from the admin people, and sitting in Alumni with the hundreds of other students heading off it all felt very very real and very much Happening. The fact that there’s the tiniest possibility of not being accepted to Ottawa is something I am in complete denial of because I am so mentally set in that this is what I’m doing.
That being said, all of my Sorting plans and desires have to be put on hold until I know I’m not going to turn up in Canada in August to a bewildered International Exchange office that aren’t expecting me. I.e. until I get my official confirmation from Ottawa itself.
But it’s all cool, because I’m back in Exeter! My city, my home from home, back with my second family and the joys of cereal for dinner. Plus the weather has been divine and I’ve succumbed to having to finally shave my legs because the jeans are out and skirts are in, and really, all in all it would be beyond lovely apart from that one teeny, tiny, issue of exams.
My first two exams (two!! On the same day!! But then this is coming from the university that puts exams on Saturday so I’m not really surprised) are coming up this Thursday, so of course here I am writing this blog post instead of revising. Fortunately, I only have 3 in total so will be free as a bird come 4:15pm Monday 16th. There’s heaps of fun things to look forward to when we’re all finished, namely beach trips, excursions to Bristol, lots of movie watching, and, most excitingly, Radio 1’s Big Weekend. Kudos and eternal thanks to my housemate Ella for being On the Ball and having 85 gazillion electronic devices open and ready at 9am when the tickets were released, and managing to get me one for the Sunday. Coldplay and the rest of the lineup should be fab, but I am mainly going for OneRepublic to play ‘Apologize’ (I love that song.)
All that though currently feels light years away because this revision stuff drags. Receiving a Not Fantastic mark back on an essay I’d thought had gone well is also not helping my motivation (though really it should). I’m trying my best, I really am, but hey, breaks are important for a productive routine aren’t they? And currently my favourite method of break relaxation is googling Ottawa related things, adding them to my bucket list and stalking other study abroad blogs. It’s a fun way to spend my time.
Emily (a good friend of mine even before we both applied and were offered to exchange to Ottawa) and I met up the other day for ‘chats’ which mainly consisted of both of us repeatedly saying ‘I can’t believe this is happening’ and ‘we’re going to have such an incredible time’ and planning our various travels into the US on Google Maps. The chance to travel in and around our degrees and see as much of North America as we can is a huge factor of excitement for both of us. Just gotta remember to keep a handle on the practical sides of things too I guess.
With practical things in mind, here is the terrifying Must Do list I have been constructing on the side of fantasising about weekends in New York and Niagara Falls.
- Apply for student visa – I also need to find out how long it lasts/whether it works for travel next summer.
- Select 10 modules – apparently I have to build my own timetable which sounds like far too much responsibility.
- Sort travel insurance and buy the health insurance uOttawa insists on you having.
Tell student finance not to charge me 9 grand(I’ve already sorted this one but strikethrough is such a satisfying function)
- Decide on accommodation – I have been in touch with a very friendly girl who is looking for a flatmate to a super lovely flat in the Sandy Hill area of Ottawa, but I need to confirm it.
- Book flights (one-way ticket!)
- Buy a decent suitcase for said-flights, because I definitely am lacking one.
- Apply for Ottawa’s buddy scheme – I will take any excuse to force more people to be my friend at this point.
- Sort out bank stuff – I am not looking forward to this at all, but I have been reliably informed that having a Canadian account is the way to go.
- Phone stuff – SIM cards are pricey in Canada, who knew? Not many people + a ridiculously huge country = not many phone towers and high prices apparently.
- Once insurance is sorted, fill out the form to prove it and send to the Exeter International Office.
- Get Canadian money (sooner rather than later because exchange rates are currently quite good? I think? I hate money.)
- Make photocopies of everything, esp. passport, birth certificate. Essentially, I bought a folder for scary official purposes and it’s currently pretty empty.
Of course, all of these are totally dependent on Ottawa getting back to me, and I can’t really start sorting any of them until they do. So, no pressure uOttawa International Office, it’s not like I’m waiting on you or anything.