On July 28th, 26 students of Class 2022, together with two teachers arrived at 90U Residence, the student dormitory, in University of Ottawa after 19 hours’ journey. University of Ottawa, located in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is the oldest English-French bilingual university in Canada and the largest in the world.
On the pleasant morning of July 30th, we attended the orientation of our summer school program, where teachers from the University of Ottawa gave us a brief presentation about the Canadian culture, the schedule of our program and a few tips on living on campus and in Canada. After having muffins, croissants and blueberry pies, along with drinking juice and coffee, we learned how to use the teaching platform 'Brightspace' of the University of Ottawa and took a short tour in the campus. After the orientation, we were all very excited for the next few weeks of study.
Our courses include: English for Academic Purpose, Social and Cultural Anthropology and Introduction to Psychology: Application. English for Academic Purpose, relevant to medical topics, begins with OBESITY, laying emphasis on speaking and writing skills. Social and Cultural Anthropology integrates science and culture. We learn how anthropologists use linguistic, biological and archaeological research methods to explore the meaning of human behaviors and culture. Compared with two courses mentioned above, Applied Psychology is also rather attractive. Our professor explained the nature, nurture and diversity of human with humorous words and examples. In brief, the three courses are new experiences for us, not only because of the round table teaching style, but also the teaching method that makes students dominate their study.
On August 2nd and 3rd, 14 of us took the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) in both Ottawa and Montreal, which is one of the indispensable requirements for applying a North-American clinical medical school. During the 7 hours, we answered questions in four medical-related sections. The extremely long reading materials are a considerable challenge for us. Through this "endless" and "painful" MCAT experience that is completely new to us, we had a first taste of the long and hard path to becoming a doctor ahead of us.
Living in Ottawa
Since purchasing food and other groceries in the supermarket is a big expense of living in Canada, we adapted to a more economical way: we tried to buy as many as possible in the supermarkets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when we could have a 90% discount with our student cards; we spent hours in the public kitchen to save money from dining out and to get a familiar taste of home. Besides saving the cost on food, how to improve our cooking efficiency also remains intractable. Students in groups have to evenly divide the labor. Cutting, cooking and dish washing, all of these tricky procedures should be carried out by different people so that our cooking time is minimized. Everything that we had taken for granted before has become a new challenge.
Student A: In Canada, what impresses me the most is hospitality. Canadians are so polite that saying "How are you" has become part of their life. The cashiers always greet us warmly and the taxi drivers even got off to say goodbye to us.
Student B: I’m attracted by the courses. Anthropology teacher’s insight into culture, psychology teacher’s humorous talk show and the discussion guided by English teacher benefit us a lot, and we are looking forward to the classes in the next few weeks.
Student C: Tired, is the very first thing I want to say about the first week here—17 hours' flight and getting things in order is just exhausting. However, these troubles are just nothing, compared to the great opportunity we have to study and live in such a beautiful university. Dormitories, libraries and classrooms are very warm and welcoming; teachers are very wise, humorous and patient. I believe we will not diddle away our lives here, but actually learn something useful.