Lobster's cheap in Canada, eh?

Impressions of Canada and Canadians by our guests

- June 28, 2011

Elisabetta Angelini is an international exchange student from Italy. Photo by Vander Tavares.
Elisabetta Angelini is an international exchange student from Italy. Photo by Vander Tavares.

Each year Dalhousie welcomes students from around the globe who are participating in an exchange or who have chosen to study abroad in Halifax. Three students from exotic locales share their impressions of Dal and the quintessential aspects of what it means to be Canadian.

From Down Under to East Coast

Ben Berntsson, a third-year chemistry student from Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, admits it's “going to be a struggle finding good poutine” back home. Mr. Berntsson spent the 2011 winter semester at Dalhousie and praises Dal’s student services and atmosphere, adding that the best part about the university is the people.

The Aussie native says he loves the quirky Canadian accent, and was surprised the use of “eh” wasn’t just a myth. He has also found himself completely enamoured with Canada’s favourite sport, quickly integrating into hockey mania.

Mr. Berntsson is thinking of entering the pharmaceutical industry, which may offer him the chance to work in Canada. “I would love to return to Canada,” he says, “the entire culture and nature of the people [are] awesome.”

New land, new language

Elisabetta Angelini, from the Universitat di Macerata in Macerata, Italy, came to Dalhousie for the winter semester to pursue a degree in Languages and Cultures, after receiving a scholarship. Ms. Angelini says it is very different to speak English in a foreign country and especially difficult to become accustomed to Canadian English after studying British pronunciation and colloquialisms in Italy.

While studying at Dalhousie, Ms. Angelini joined the Italian Society, helped to tutor students in Italian, and assisted the Italian professor during classes and oral exams. Ms. Angelini believes the tutoring experience was beneficial practice because she has aspirations to be a teacher or translator.

Luckily, Ms. Angelini loves winter and snow and was actually surprised that Canada wasn’t as cold as she had imagined. While she missed Italian meat and cheese, Ms. Angelini fell in love with berry pie and jam, commodities that are rare in Italy. She puts things further in perspective by adding, “and lobsters are so cheap [in Canada].”

Her favourite experiences were a trip to Cape Breton with fellow exchange students and the Easter weekend that she spent in the Annapolis Valley with a Canadian friend. “That is when I really experienced the Canadian lifestyle,” she says.

Ms. Angelini will spend her next semester in either Spain or Australia before graduating in the spring of 2012.

Coast to coast, sunrise to sunset

A scholarship to study at Dalhousie was perfect for Hamish Nelson who wanted to travel to an English speaking country and was attracted to the beauty of Nova Scotia. The Dunedin, New Zealand native studies Political Science at Otago University and is using both possible semesters of studying abroad to reside in Halifax and attend Dalhousie (Winter 2011-Fall 2012).

Also a fan of poutine, Mr. Nelson misses New Zealand apples. He has found it difficult to get used to the custom of tipping, but has taken easily to travelling around the country. After visiting Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa, he says, “I’ve enjoyed watching the sun rise and set in some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.”

Outside of his studies, Mr. Nelson enjoys rock climbing at the Dalplex and a busy social life in Halifax—a city which he considers to be the perfect size.

All three students are very pleased with the professors at Dal. Mr. Nelson says he was inspired by his International Development lecturer, Professor Bob Huish, who made class time one of the best experiences.

When asked whether or not they’d return to Canada, the answer for all is a resounding “yes,” and return trips will involve exploring more of the county and reuniting with the many friends that were made during their time here.

“I made heaps of friends,” says Mr. Berntsson, “I’m going to miss them a lot.”


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