Announcing the Closure of this Blog

Recently, UBC Blog Squad has moved towards focusing its content on the new-to-UBC experience, thus removing 2nd year and contributor roles to the program. As a 4th year student, these changes have influenced my involvement with Blog Squad and has lead me to create this post announcing my decision to transition this blog from “active” to archived-form.

I began as a Blog Squad member in August 2009 while I was preparing to move across the country to begin my adventure at UBC. A lot has happened since then and I’ve been very happy to be able to share it with you. It’s been a pleasure being recognized in residence by new-to-UBC students who connected with my blog prior to coming to UBC just as I did when I was in their shoes. Blog Squad was how I found connection to UBC when I couldn’t visit the campus in person. I’m glad I’ve been able to give that same connection to others over the last 3 years.

Like all good things they must come to an end. It may not be a forever-type thing, but for now it is farewell and thank you. As I have progressed through university I have travelled more, began more time-intensive internships and summer projects, and found myself moving towards graduation–I don’t have the time to be able to maintain this blog like I use to. I don’t want to leave loose ends laying and felt this post was a proper way to conclude a defining chapter in my UBC experience.

Now for some acknowledgements. A big thank you to Janet Teasdale for always encouraging me to keep blogging. Alyssa Koehn for being my wonderful Residence Advisor turned best friend and travel companion. Megan Ritchie, Maegan Cowan, Katie Kolberg, and Lauren Kube–all of Naropa and all of Nootka 2nd 2009-2010 for that matter, thank you for enjoying what came from my blog and reinforcing the fun factor in life for me. Brian Commons for reading my blog as a way to get to know me before we started dating and for his continued readership to this present day, years later. UBC Student Recruitment and Ella Wong for giving me the opportunity to film my everyday life and share that with prospective students in Ontario. Big thanks to everyone who read my blog and told me it encouraged them to choose UBC, you brought me such happiness. Pheobe Yu for being the Blog Squad writer who gave me that connection to UBC while I was still in high school in Ontario. Nancy Delvecchio for being a silent but strong reader of my blog and the closest thing to family who has ever had the opportunity to visit me in Vancouver. Katie Fedosenko who once wrote an article for the Faculty of Arts on my experiences during the G20 riots because of a blog post I wrote, thank you. Rabi Sun who I wouldn’t of have had the pleasure of being friends and collaborating with on numerous occasions if it wasn’t for Blog Squad. Shannon Sterling for always making CSI-life sparkle, thank you. Kait Hazzard for all her love and support through my years in Totem, many thanks. The two floors I had the pleasure of advising in Totem Park, thank you. All my friends on UBC campus and abroad, fellow Loran Scholars, Residence Life and SLC teammates, and beyond–thank you. And last but not least, to my fellow Blog Squad members who also put in enormous amounts of effort to create content I thank you for everything you have also done to create the best university experience possible for others.

This blog will remain connected through Blog Squad as an alumni blog for future students to be able to access. I still believe there are posts and resources on this blog that showcase what UBC has to offer and I hope you explore them through my UBC 101 page and through looking at my favourite posts. As a large and wonderful university, it is often hard to connect all the dots and present everything UBC has to offer in one place. It was my goal to be able to provide that for you as much as possible.

With that, it’s time to begin my 4th year at UBC.



How to be alone: sometimes the story of going on exchange

I rediscovered a YouTube classic today. How to be alone, a poem by Tanya Davis, and video by Andrea Dorfman (filmed in Halifax, too!) Before I left to go on exchange to Australia, there were workshops on cultural communication and making learning plans that I generally brushed off. I had gone abroad before and never had much trouble adjusting. There were a few things I didn’t expect about exchange, one of them being that I’d finally learn how to cook for myself after three years in Totem Park (I did it), and another being the difficulty of making meaningful friends. I thought it would be easy. I’d meet Sally Sue at orientation, we’d both like Ryan Gosling memes, and boom we would go on awesome trips together. Maybe her dad would own a Marble Slab Creamery or something, and I’d eat all the ice cream I wanted.

But exchange hasn’t been like that. A lot of people have talked about the difficulty of meeting people who aren’t exchange students while abroad. Yes, that’s been difficult for me too. Beyond that, it’s been more difficult making friends (exchange or not) that I have more meaningful relationships with beyond the surface level of it all. This is not to say that I haven’t met any friends, but I want to put it out there that it was a lot easier than I expected. And with the friends that I have met here in Australia, our friendships are different or not as strong to the ones I have with people in Canada, another adjustment I wasn’t expecting.

I would describe myself as an outgoing, friendly, and independent person. I’ve traveled internationally on many occasions by myself, haven’t lived at home since high school, and I had never thought that finding meaningful friends here in Australia would be difficult. Some reasons why I haven’t made meaningful friends are because I’m a commuter student for the first time, most of the occasions I’m invited to are about partying (when at home, regular partying hasn’t been a part of my university experience), and the simple fact that a lot of the students I’ve met I haven’t had a lot in common with. I’m lucky that I’m comfortable being alone (like in the video) otherwise exchange might of been a disaster for me. I would of been talking to my dog calendar and eating even more chocolate pudding alone than I already do.

So tonight I made a decision. I only have 4 weeks left in Australia and I’m leaving a month earlier than planned because I don’t have any exams and I have accepted what is best described as my dream job in Ottawa. I’ve decided that I’m going to start blogging about the things I do alone and try some of the things that Tanya Davis says in her poem for future UBC Go Global students who might have the same difficulty as me. Even if you don’t feel outgoing, or if you are worried about making meaningful friends, I want to show others that those things shouldn’t stop you from making the most out of exchange. I still have fun, I’m loving Australia* and no one is here to stop me from eating all the chocolate pudding I want (except for the weekends when my boyfriend comes to visit, then I feel judged).

I hope I remember to take lots of photos and I hope this mini-project inspires others who have difficulties adjusting to life abroad. The part of the poem that talks about going dancing by yourself.. now that seems like a scary one. You’ll have to wait to see if I do that one.

YouTube Preview Image

*Australia is extremely expensive to live in, especially since I don’t have a job. That part, I’m not enjoying at all.

UBC LipDub inspires lipdub in Cambodia made up of 300 school children

I thought this might be cool to share.

Basically, this guy working in Cambodia saw the UBC LipDub, thought it was the best lipdub he’s ever seen, showed it to Cambodian school children, and then made this amazing lipdub of 300 school children at Angkoren Temple. He even tracked down Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and is now trying to fundraise money to support the kids’ needs.

This is awesome! Indirectly UBC school spirit has inspired someone across the world, how amazing is that? If you have time, please watch the videos and visit his blog to find out how to donate.

Video of the kids watching the UBC LipDub: click here

Link to the lipdub on Viemo: click here

And the detailed blog with videos of the project: click here

(Sorry, there were issues embedding today)

UBC’s coat of arms are at the Univeristy of Queensland, how cool is that?

Building the Great Court / Source: The University of Queensland Library

At my exchange university, the University of Queensland (UQ), There’s this really great space in the centre of campus called the Great Court. Picture a big grassy area with trees where students can relax in, surrounded by an enclosed by old sandstone buildings and walkways that features great thinkers, grotesques, university coats of arms from around the world, and historic scenes all made out of stone.

Yesterday, as I was taking a new route to find the post office, I found the UBC coat of arms on one of the cloisters in the Great Court! Yes, I did get weird looks as I walked around the cloister to snap pictures with the worlds biggest smile, but it was worth it.

The UBC coat of Arms in the Great Court at UQ / Courtesy of me

It’s no secret that I think UBC is the greatest university on the planet, so I was really proud to see our school’s coat of arms there on UQ campus. I also thought, wow, that’s UBC’s coat of arms in the form of stone on a university campus in Australia and I had no idea for the last few months it has been there at all. Who know where else a UBC logo or coat of arms is hiding around the world?

What else makes this especially wonderful to me is that there’s a little piece of UBC with me while I’m on exchange. I’ve been asked a lot recently to speak to outgoing exchange students from UQ about UBC and now I’ve got this cloister is one more piece of evidence about how cool UBC is.

The gowns I wish I had to wear to class

Some Vera Wang for a bubble tea run before class. Banana or mango, with pearls.

I call this my “Buchanan Courtyard” dress. Possible follow shoot under this after class.

I’d wear this casual bad boy for Residence Advisor rounds, thus calling it my “Just Another In Night” dress. I can see myself having fun with how flowy it is while I go down staircases. Wee!

Go on exchange to Australia, and then see the Great Barrier Reef!

Our reading break just happened here in Australia as my friends at UBC started their end of term exams. Brian, who is on exchange at UNSW in Sydney, and myself went up to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef for the week. Some of the pleasures of living in Queensland is that it’s always hot like summer (even though we’re moving from fall into winter soon) and you’re only a few hours away from the reef.

The place above is overlooking Whitehaven Beach where all the white sand swirls with the clear water. If it wasn’t for the highest winds of the season that coincided with our trip, then we would of been able to go down there on this thing, to see these guys, and hang out like best buds. We still were able to visit another part of the beach on our jet boat/speed rafting watercraft even with the high winds. You can’t even tell, but I lost my one and only hair elastic on that trip and so my hair was in one big knot from traveling on our jet boat/speed rafting watercraft, so good job me. I’m kind of like this guy.

Now that reading week is done, it’s time to get through the last half of the term while everyone else in Canada begins summer vacation.

#ericainbrisbane, the story of an exchange student who spends more on nail polish than she wants to admit.

There’s actually 3 colours, but you can’t see the sparkly one very well. Shannon Sterling, if you ever read this, the sparkles are for you.

Thank you Brisbane, for the Sunday afternoons when I can’t focus on my studies in the library, and you provide me with shelves of OPI nail polish to choose from at David Jones. I’ll pretend that I didn’t just spend all that money on three different shades of purple (always purple nails) and that my currently Pinterest addiction that inspired this purchase is completely healthy.

This is what exchange is really all about.

Brisbane, as seen through my cell phone.

City Glider transit buses! Complete with flying squirrel graphics all over everything, including the buses!

I’m officially a UQ student!

I’ve lived in Totem Park for 3 years with a dining hall, this is my attempt at food liberation. Guacamole, corn, and chickpea sandwiches.

I have no ideas what these are, but I found them in the Botanical Gardens and I like ’em.