Aberystwyth

Today as I had no classes, I decided to take the bus up to Aberystwyth. Not that I had nothing to do, I would like to finish my essay this week, as well my room needs cleaning before inspections, and laundry would be good too. Yes, we are going to have room inspections, I suppose a good things to make sure things are properly clean, but I, not being the neatest person, don’t know exactly how clean I should make it. Well, I say clean, it is only cluttered, nothing worth fines. Because they do fine you! If a cleaner is required to come in, or something fixed that you broke, it comes out of the deposit you paid at the beginning of the year. So hopefully, she won’t find anything fine-worthy! As well laundry, is really horrible here. Well, meaning that I have to go outside of my building, so two flights of stairs, and then across this complex of buildings before coming to the laundry room, with 4 washers and 4 dryers. Only, for hundreds of students. And then, it costs £2.00 to wash, £1.50 to dry. I really hate doing laundry, firstly there is the walk (lampathy!) then the paying, then the waiting, and then returning to put it in the dryer, and waiting some more. That, if there are even any empty machines.

Anyway, I was going to write about Aberystwyth! The lovely sea side town (Aber mean water, or sea something like that) that is so cute and quaint. Huge, in comparison with Lampeter, but very much a town. Shopped a bit, wandered by the sea, walked through some 700 year old castle ruins, had tea, and finally took the hour long bus back. Yes really, I had tea! Never do you get that in Victoria, just stumble upon castle remains built by Edward I. It is very much in ruins, yet you can still see the outline of it, as well as a few arches are still standing. So you can just walk through it and around it! Very cool.

It was a really nice day, meaning clear and not raining. Freezing cold, or at least, cold, especially by the water, but the sun was shining. It is actually a sizable town, lots of hills to walk up, and holding the national library of Wales, as well as a university. So quite studenty  too. Within 3 hours, there are 3 universities in Wales. But one of the…____ signs I saw on the bus, was one that looked like those ‘deer crossing’ signs, but said “elderly people” and actually had an image of 2 people walking hunched with walkers. I didn’t get a picture because it came too fast, but yes it is really what it was as there was another not too far down.

I should really stop procrastinating on this essay, going to Aberystwyth was half shopping, half travel, and half just procrastinating on this essay. I really really want it done, but can’t seem to get past 50 words at a time. But it’ll be so great when it’s finished! Because then I’ll have another one to start…

It’s Raining, it’s Pouring…

It has been raining really really hard here for the last couple days, and as a result, the river is flooded. This univeristy is situated right in the town, the tiny town with 3 streets. As you exit the university gates, you are on one of the main streets of Lampeter. As you walk into the actual gates, there are all the buildings, and then there is a tiny river, and over the bridge there are the student housing. So to get to the supermarket, it is less than a 10 minute walk, 5 if you go fast. But really, no reason to rush here, just dawdle.  Continue reading

Dinefwr

When I first set up this blog, I was still in Victoria and I had all these ideas about writing in it, thinking I would have the time, the inclination, and the content. I kind of do, but everytime I think I should write a post, I remember that I have a 2500 word essay due in a couple weeks, and so much reading to do. So, I go to Facebook instead, because I have become one of those people who use only Facebook to keep in contact! Before I joined I did not really like it, but really, it is a pretty good way to stay in contact, and upload hundreds of pictures at once. So apologies that I have not posted as much as I originally intended!

But to explain the title of this post, Dinefwr. It is Welsh, and pronounced Dinehver, and it’s a castle about an hour away from here, and so gorgeous! Right next to a town called Llandeilo. The castle part is from the Normans, and then there is a house that construction was originally began in the 16th century. Really lovely place, and I went as part of the International Cultural Programme. Unfortunately I did not take that many pictures, but I am going again next term, so hopefully then.

Another thing that happened was my birthday! I turned 19, and had a little party to celebrate. It was really great, I got a few really nice presents and cards, and it was just fun to hang around with new foreign people! Lol that sounds a bit weird, but it was a really awesome birthday evening. The kitchen was decorated by my hallmates, and then a few people came over, then went to a bar, which I was already legal to go to here, but now in British Columbia I can go to bars too!

Classes are another thing that is going on, I have lectures 3 times a week, each 3 hours long. So it’s good and it’s bad that they’re so long. Something else that’s really weird is that I live so close to the classrooms. At home to get to Langford to Camosun it took me over an hour, here I can leave my room 5 minutes before class begins and still make it with plenty of time to spare. And there is less work, kind of. Each class I only have 2 essays to write, but in all it’s going to be 15,000 words. But no exams or marks for attendance or seminars, so that’s a bit different. It just means that the essays count for so much more!

Oh, violin issue has pretty much been sorted, I have bought a violin for £100. It is full size, because there were no good 3/4, and if the violin didn’t sound good I wouldn’t have wanted to play it, so useless. I have found 2 places where I can play, the Lampeter Chamber Orchestra, which is a higher level of difficulty than I am used to, but hopefully it shall be alright. There are only 3 rehearsals before a concert, way less than at home, but as there are wind instruments and percussion the violins can kind of hide in that! Where I can’t really hide is the second place I’ve found, which is the student Folk Music Society. There I am the only violinist, and then there’s a couple guitars, a mandolin, and a bouzouki, a type of string instruments that sounds really cool! So I get to play the tune, and have a nice accompaniment:) And as it’s folk music it is not so difficult or complex, so it does sound really good.

I’ve just written 600 words, and this time probably should’ve been spent on the essay, but I did just want to update. Maybe I’ll just do a picture post soon, but there are just so many pictures I don’t know which ones to put up!

Getting Closer

My plane ticket has been booked! So now it is more than ever ‘official,’ as if I don’t go I will be wasting hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Plus that $10,000 + $1000 scholarship, again courtesy of the Irving K Barber Premier International Scholarship Society in partnership with the Victoria Foundation. Or something like that, the words might be in different orders. Anyway, the flight! We went to a travel agency, the same one that booked my week long trip to London in 2006, and again my 2009 3-week bus tour of Europe (pictures and more coming soon on that). She was very nice and checked out all airline possibilities that flew Vancouver to London directly, no stopovers as firstly I don’t want to stress about one m ore thing, making the connector and finding etc, but then also less chance, not none, but a lessened chance of my luggage being lost.

Comparing Air Canada, British airways, and Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Atlantic has the best prices for everything. Lucky for me then that it was only last month, the end of May 2012, that they began offering a Vancouver to London flight. In 2009 we used British Airways which was very nice though. But a few hundred dollars more expensive. And it arrived in Terminal 5 of Heathrow, whereas Virgin Atlantic lands in Terminal 3, where Trinity Saint David picks up its international students on the 17th of September. Just that alone I think would have made me choose the airline that landed there, as I really do not want to be running around an airport with 2 suitcases, a carry-on, and a violin, all the while being tired and nervous and excited and stressed and relieved and panicky and happy. At least that is what I imagine how it will be like a little bit. Continue reading

What I Should Be Doing…

This week I have officially accepted the offer of placement at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, so yes I am actually going! Not that there was every any really big doubt, Camosun has a regular exchange with them so it was pretty much just fill out the paperwork. But still, a big relief when it is official (well, I still have to do the Visa stuff, but lets not think about that for now). However to get it official, I had to send these 2 forms back to Wales.

I could have just posted them through the mail, but maybe it is my 21st century outlook, and the fact that I personally have never, except for a few cards to my grandmother years and years ago, sent anything by post. I don’t even know if we have many stamps at home, and I’d have to buy some then, and get it in an envelope, write the address and all that stuff. So, I did not want to do it that way. I could have faxed them, but we don’t really have a fax machine at home, and again the cost. Well, actually we do have a printer that apparently faxes, but that would have involved finding the right cables and plugging them into the walls somewhere.

In the end, we decided to scan them into the computer via said printer. But, the computer it is hooked up to does not accepts scans, so I spent nearly an hour trying to connect the printer to my older sister’s laptop. It did not work. Then my mother tried, and in 5 minutes she got both of the forms done. Looking back, perhaps the fax would have been better and more straightforward, but whatever, it is done. Now I think that Trinity Saint David needs to send me a couple more documents, Visa number etc. Until then, nothing more I can do either with Camosun or them, as helpful as these people are. With the time zone difference Trinity Saint David replies to me in the middle of the night, which is fine, but it means no more than 1 email a day. And so far all contact with them has been very nice and prompt, and the International liaison over there seems very nice so I’m sure once over there they will be very helpful. The International liaison at Camosun as well has been so great, answering my millions of questions when I was freaking out the most due to deadlines and stress. So thank you International Office at Camosun, for being kind to my pestering.

Now that things for Trinity Saint David are mostly sorted, I can just relax and enjoy the summer here, right? Continue reading

I am going to Wales!!!

September 2011 I began attending Camosun College, in the city I have lived my entire life, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Previous year to that, I was at Belmont Secondary, not graduating, but just taking enough (English 12) to get into Camosun and take Humanities courses. And 2 AP courses, which I got good enough grades on the exam, so I got 12 Camosun credits (4 classes) without ever being on campus. But I digress.

September comes and I am enrolled in 4 classes, and yes really liking them. And while waiting for my sister to finish her class so that she could drive me home, I would be in the library not doing homework but looking up various ways to get to Europe. I considered being an Au Pair and/or SWAP for a couple months, me thinking that as soon as my first year was over that I would get on a plane and go. But, it did not seem like the best plan, and it never went farther than just looking at various websites. My plan at that point was, for at least a little while, spend a year at Camosun, then do a year at the University of Victoria, do an exchange through them, then finish my last year back at UVic. Way back in highschool I had considered doing an exchange through Camosun, but discounted the thought after seeing the…calibre of schools UVic does exchanges with, and then Camosun. This was after a very quick overview of the Camosun schools, and in no way do I want to disparage them. I just mean,  going from the UVic to the University of Exeter (ranked in the top 10 universities in England, I think) to a tiny university in Wales, at a glance did not seem the most exciting. That was months and months ago, before I really researched the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Continue reading