Highlights of the Semester

After Boston, I never really spoke about what I got up to in New York, but it was definitely a highlight of the semester. Travelling with my Dutch friend, Margot, we took the $15 megabus to NYC. We decided to go couchsurfing, which you’ve probably heard of, but never had the balls to do. I was the same, but Margot persuaded me and I’m so glad I did. Our host, Tak, a product designer from Brooklyn. And what a host he was- I can’t recommend couchsurfing any more, Tak was extremely generous and gave us so many tips. One of my personal favourites was the High Lines, an urban redevelopment. He also took us to some awesome restaurants, and his Uncle took us for some proper dim sum in Brooklyn Chinatown-we were literally the only Caucasians there, that’s when you know it’s the real deal.

We did all the touristy things too (but you’re just going to have see it for yourself one day): Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Museum of Modern Art, Grand Central….etc, etc…. All in all, a great experience!

Another highlight was Science Carnival, a weekend full of fun & alcohol debauchery. Teams of around 20 all compete to be prized the ultimate carnival team. Points are given for tasks, such as drinking games and scavenger hunts all around Montreal. Be warned it isn’t for the faint hearted, but if you’re up for it, you’ll love it.I’ve said it before, but join the McGill Snowboard Club! If it’s the only thing you do at McGill, this is it!

Being a rugby fan, I had to find somewhere to watch the 6 nations games, so when England played Scotland, I headed to the pub to watch the ensuing action. The game was actually quite boring, but I did meet the coach of the Montreal Irish, a local rugby club. So, Istarted playing rugby again, and when they found out I was only 19, they signed me up to play for the Quebec U20 team. We ended up at the Atlantic Championships in New Brunswick, where we played and beat Novia Scotia convincingly. Then, 2 days later we had the epic task of playing the reigning champs Newfoundland. A bunch of tanks basically, with lots of players pushing for u20 Canada selection. Anyway, we lost by 11 points, but not without letting everyone know that Quebec rugby has some talent. We were down by 4 points up until the dying seconds, when we went all out for victory. It was a great experience and genuinely felt honored to represent. I was lucky enough to be spotted by one of the u20 scouts, but alas I’m not Canadian….or so I thought! My dad had always said that my grandmother had lived in Canada when she was younger, but he didn’t know much about her history. After searching the 1911 census, we found that she was living in Hamilton, Ontario, aged 2. Pretty astonishing really! So this made me ponder the question, was she born in Canada? And if so, am I therefore Canadian in some way?… After my parents searching the house, they eventually found her birth certificate and the excitement was over. She was born in Dundee!

Montreal has so much going on over the summer that I desperately wanted to stay, but without getting a job I wouldn’t be able to. However, McGill has a career planning service (CaPS) with a job search, so I managed to get an amazing job. I worked as a Lab Researcher, in the WOW Lab. Basically, we developed fun experiments to get children interested in Science. Remember all the cool experiments you did in school, the rockets, the volcanoes, the chemical reactions? We brainstorm ideas like those and develop them, so that teachers can use our blueprints in order to teach their students. One of the most popular projects being the Maglev Train http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHtAwQXVsuk , but we also have simpler ones such as a really cool digestion model using an elbow length vet glove (representing the oesphagus), cookies with baking soda, and a large balloon (representing the stomach) filled with vinegar.

So even though the semester has finished I still have the whole summer (it was a long time ago since I wrote this) to look forward to. I’m heading back to the UK at the end of August just in time for the start of next year.

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