Nanaimo, Canada: Saying Goodbye (by Benita)

By Benita C.

All good things must come to an end.

Beginning with this quote, I want to welcome you to my last blog entry about my semester abroad that I spent in Nanaimo, Canada.

Exactly one month ago, I stepped into the plane that would take me back home to Germany. Looking back now I’m very grateful for all the experiences and adventures I’ve had. But let me start in chronological order from the beginning of my last third at VIU.

The winter was coming, and all the people of Nanaimo began decorating their homes for Christmas. A big Christmas tree was put up at the University and many lights were glowing up downtown, which created a beautiful atmosphere all around the city. Additionally, there were light parades with decorated vehicles, which was an amazing event to go to during the wintertime.

Decorated house in Nanaimo

The weather was always mild and not too cold, which is why there was no snow at all during my time in Canada, although it was winter, which was a big surprise for me. There were many sunny days, which was nearly perfect for the few days left because we had more things we could do. For example, hiking up to Mount Benson or visiting other beautiful places in the nature around us.

We also went to an ice hockey game and concert in Vancouver on the weekend. As you are in Canada it is actually obligatory to watch at least one ice hockey game of the Vancouver Canucks in the Rogers Arena and I highly recommend it to everybody. The VIU also offers a ride to Vancouver and tickets for the game for students which is a great opportunity to participate in this event.

We wrote our last exams and submitted finished projects, which was the reason why we also had a stressful time at the end of the semester. But as everything was done, we had some more free time left in Canada, because our submissions and finals were luckily scheduled at the beginning of the examination phase. Sadly, it was also the beginning of the time to say goodbye to people who had become friends and it was hard to see them leaving the island.

As Vancouver is not far away from Nanaimo and I had two weeks left until my flight back home, I decided to take the advantage of being able to reach the airport in only a little time with flying to Los Angeles. There I visited a friend of mine and we drove further south to San Diego, where she spent her semester abroad. It was amazing to see the difference compared to Vancouver or Nanaimo, like the different surroundings with palm trees and the heat in December.

As I came back to Nanaimo one last time, I had to pack my luggage and say goodbye to all of the things that had become so important to me, which was the hardest part of all. But not everybody got home after the examination phase ended. Other students, for instance, stayed a little longer to make road trips across the island, the Rocky Mountains or down the west coast.

Looking back now, I’m so glad I decided to go to Canada. In the middle of the semester, I thought that the workload was definitely too much but after passing this period I learned how to set my focus on learning the right way and it got much easier, which made me enjoy my time there even more. I have to say that the campus life in Nanaimo and the community is something I will miss, just like nature and beautiful surroundings.

Luckily, many students that I met were from Germany too. At first, I thought that this was a bad thing, but in the end, I think it’s even better because now I can travel around Germany to visit them. Unfortunately, I don’t know when I will come back to Canada and especially Vancouver Island, because it’s so far away from here, but I can say that it will always be my second home and I’m coming back to Germany with many new memories, friends and even more self-confidence.

I hope that my blog entries were interesting and are helping you in your decision-making progress. If there are any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Cheers

Benita