“Wow, I love New Zealand!”
“That’s where the accent is from!”
“I heard there are more sheep and cows than people.”
“Have you visited the LOTR/Hobbit set?”
It seemed like every person I met during my first week would proceed to say at least two of these sentences. It was pretty cool, being the “exotic” one for once. One thing I’ve learned since arriving in Canada is that people here are very curious and open-minded.
- 90% of Queen’s university students are not from Kingston (where Queen’s is). It’s a university town, meaning people go there just for university.
- Historically important as it is a former capital and is where the oldest prisons, military sites are located.
Getting to Kingston
One thing I realised as soon as I arrived in Kingston was how great the location was. Kingston is smack in between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Bear this in mind, there are no direct flights to Kingston. You can either fly to Montreal or Toronto then take another flight, or bus or train to Kingston. I chose to fly to Toronto and chill with some high school friends for the weekend before heading towards Kingston via rail (train). Buses are the cheapest way, but takes the longest time and are dreadful when you have to lug so much luggage around. Trains are the middle ground because there’s a place to put your luggage and a free bus service directly from the train station to campus.
What to Do in Kingston Before University Starts
I arrived a month earlier as I wanted to do some travelling beforehand. Did you know? There is a 17-hour time difference between NZ and Kingston, meaning, I spent my first 3 days in a daze of jetlag, waking up and sleeping at ungodly hours. Anyway, before university started I took advantage of Kingston’s central location and travelled back and forth Toronto and Montreal.
Here are some quick tips:
- Montreal is known for their poutine and bagels. As they say “you haven’t tasted good poutine, until the cheese curds squeak!”. I kid you not.
- If you’re heading to Toronto, check out The Mansion. It is THE pub that everyone goes to. It’s made of 3 houses joined together.
- Take advantage of what’s left of the summer – I went canoeing and “got lost” while in all three places.
- The bus service is free for Queen’s University students. You can use it to travel to Cataraquai Centre (Ca-a-rock-a-way) – basically, the closest actual shopping centre.
Here are some pics of me being a foreigner, canoeing in Lake Ontario and attempting to visit as many of the 1000 islands as possible. By the way, there are actually 1800 islands, we managed to get to 3 of them in the span of 6 hours!
Here’s what you guys are probably waiting for aye? Orientation week is a BIG thing at Queen’s University. They have one of the oldest student council’s in Canada and are known for their student life *ahem* parties*ahem*. There’s a special orientation for exchange students, known as NEWTS. It costs quite a bit, but I would say it’s worth it. It’s 3 days filed with fun, jam-packed with activities where you get to meet all sorts of people.
Highlights for this orientation were:
- Tamming ceremony, where you get a “tam” and as a whole group, you are inaugurated into being a Queen’s student. We also had to learn the Queen’s university chant. The picture below is a group picture of my NEWTS group and my geckos (leaders). Our team comprised of people from Sweden, England, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Japan, New Zealand (me!), Toronto, Ottawa.
- Paint Party – Pretty much everyone gets into this space and starts throwing paint at each other
- Semi-formal – The only phrase to sum up this night is: “Wow, you clean up nice!”
Overheard @ Frosh week:
- The Purple People – Upper year engineers “leaders” who have purple bodies for the WHOLE WEEK. THIS IS HOW THEY LOOK THE WHOLE WEEK.
- Chants – every single faculty has one main chant and a few others. We also had our own. Whenever we saw ArtSci students, we would ask “hey ArtSci, how do you feel?”, to which they had to say “I feel so good, OH! I feel so good!” For Newts it was “I don’t hate it”
PS: Want to know more? Travel with me through IG: linsayshi Snapchat: lin78
As always, feel free to message me if you want to know more 😊