If you visit London, you have to take a photo at Buckingham Palace. If you visit Amsterdam, you have to take a photo at the canals. If you visit Montreal, you have to drive two hours to a mountain, spend the day hiking up it, and get a picture of yourself with the city faintly visible in the distance.
Doing an exchange at a Canadian university gives you the opportunity to take part in a whole range of outdoor activities that you’ll definitely miss when you return to the Netherlands
Fall is well and truly upon us now, and with that comes the technicolour magnificence of the Canadian countryside. Well, technicolour is rather generous, and wholly pompous; it’s more like four or five colours done really, really, really well. Last weekend I hiked up Mont St Hilarie with the Concordia Outdoors Club, a student-run organisation that does exactly what it says on the tin. Walking through the woods that cover the mountain was wonderful; a postcard-perfect stroll though trees of gold, orange, red, yellow, and a few stubborn greens who didn’t get the autumn memo. Doing an exchange at a Canadian university gives you the opportunity to take part in a whole range of outdoor activities that you’ll definitely miss when you return to the Netherlands. Jumping onboard the last of the Fall hiking trips has been far more enjoyable than studying for my French midterms that sit on the horizon—and after all, there are no retakes for hiking.
The COC is entirely student run, meaning you get more than just some great photos for Instagram; you meet a whole range of students from all different faculties that have come together for the trip. It’s been a great way to get outside the shared-discipline bubble that came from making friends from my classes, as well as being a pretty solid workout on a weekend that I would have otherwise spent studying or at the pub.