Well, here I am, it’s been exactly one week since I have arrived where it seems to be Antarctica but is actually Montreal.

And in that time I have come to one very big realisation: this is definitely NOT Australian summer.

During this first week, I have experienced some of the coldest temperatures I have ever, and hopefully will ever experience in my life. It’s safe to say, my first few days involved a lot of shopping for warm clothes, because as much as you would like to think you are prepared, once you start to see what all the locals are wearing to keep warm, well… you realise you really aren’t THAT prepared.

It’s hard to comprehend that people live so happily in temperatures as low as -33°. “Downtown Montreal” is alive and full of joy in spite of the cold. The roads are working, cars are driving and as one of my Uber drivers said, “life goes on”.

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My first week also consisted of being stuck outside my building, unable to open the door, unaware of how to. Now, I am speaking from personal experience, but I am also deeply hoping this has happened to other Australians travelling to Canada. I have now an understanding of how it works, and am no longer getting stuck outside (go me!!).

Amongst my discoveries is the famous, huge, and symbolic supermarket of Canada, better known as Walmart. This not only is the place where you do your groceries shopping, but is also the place where you can get medical drugs, clothes, office supplies and more. To make it simple, it’s pretty much a mix of Kmart and Woolies all in one. INCREDIBLE right?

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I had my first interaction with other exchange students during the orientation day at university and it was absolutely amazing. The very first person I met was a girl from Portugal and she just happened to be living in the same building as me, there we go, my very first friend here. In the space of 20 minutes I met so many different people from so many different places across the world including Mexico, the UK, Portugal, Singapore, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, France, and Norway. I have already bonded with so many people and have made so many friends.

Since applying for a global exchange and receiving my offer, to planning my trip, and to now finally being here, I’ve gone through so many different emotions: excitement, happiness, sadness, anxiousness, apprehension, and many more. But the thing is, going on exchange has been so far, the best experience of my life (and it’s only been a week!!).

Every corner, a story.

Watch this space!!!

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