After months of preparing and what felt like years of anticipation, I have finally arrived in Canada (actually, I’m more than 2 months in now!) I am delighted I chose Canada, the country, people, environment, is all just incredible. I am having the most incredible time. I really quite enjoy the outdoors and being athletic, so Canada is particularly well suited.
During their, ‘froshers,’ week (it sounds weird and you don’t really get use to it) I joined the Western Outdoors club. I had heard a few people previously recommend for really remote trips, to explore places of Canada that ordinarily you would miss. Quite a few of my other international friends signed up too – in fact, the club was so popular I know a couple of people who weren’t accepted because it was already full, so make sure if you’re interested, you sign up early!
Their first trip was to Algonquin national park. It was a hugely popular trip and only 45 places. I arrived to the sign-up meeting 90 minutes before it was scheduled and I was one of the last people to get a place (I was so lucky!). At the pre-meeting the execs of the group go through the plan of the trip (put you into food groups, car groups, etc…) and went through all the appropriate things to bring. At that moment I panicked. They were telling us all these special ‘outdoorsy,’ clothing materials to bring and quite frankly – I had none of it. I had cotton clothes – their worst recommendation. But it was less than 48 hours before the trip started, so I didn’t have much time! I managed to buy a few jumpers and woolen socks that were better suited for the trip. Rest assured, compared to my flatmates who had no walking boots or waterproof clothing, I was in a better position. In the end it turned out absolutely fine, I fortunately didn’t capsize so I didn’t have to worry about drying clothes or anything. But a note for future self: bring more outdoors type clothing! (I am so thankful for my walking boots that I brought, whilst they’re not the prettiest shoes, they’re definitely the ones which have come in the most useful! I’ve even worn them to a club in Montreal, it has the added bonus of not having sore toes from people standing on you too!).
The weekend itself was incredible, Algonquin is beautiful (despite the lack of bears and moose) I would recommend for everyone to take a trip there and don’t be put off by the amount of canoeing (you’ll be fine and if you’re not, it’s hilarious!) It has been one of the highlights of my time abroad so far. The people at Western outdoors club are great too, a great mix of Canadians and other international students. I can guarantee you will have an amazing weekend!
Written by Louisa Beckwith – Western University, Canada