A Kiwi's Perspective of Bishop's!

I was expecting to arrive at Bishop's, settle into rez and have a laid back week of orientation. A standard orientation would, I thought, be a campus tour, some free student stuff and maybe a concert or two, let alone a whole week of raising toasts, wearing a gown, watching others raise hell, quaffing ale, watching the Gaiters roar and giving poutine a try!

I certainly prefer the Canadian interpretation of "Frosh Week". It was also good to experience a "football" match first hand, a game that at first seemed quite strange to grasp, although I now no longer compare it to rugby, coming from a rugby crazed nation where "football" is relatively unknown. Win or lose, or whether you understand the game or not, the atmosphere and spirit in the stand makes it all worthwhile.

The Bishop's school spirit came as a surprise. Seeing the level of support and the pride of students for their university made me realize how different university life is in North America. The fact that students dress up in the Bishop's colors to support the Gaitor's, sing the school song, and are even willing to wear Bishop's merchandise is a new phenomena to understand. I think it's great; it seems to be so much of what you gain here at Bishop's and the memories you have when you graduate come from outside the classroom!

The Bishop's campus for me has made the transition to Canada so much easier as well as the grueling task of getting back into studying after 3 months holiday easier. Coming from a university in downtown Auckland, it has been great to be able to leave the classroom to go relax or read in the sun under a tree, or walk across campus with the picturesque backdrop of trees and countryside, even academic squirrels!
It all makes a pleasant change to bright lights, congested traffic, and towering sky scrapers. It is also great to be part of a community that extends from the campus into Lennoxville and not feel like just another number on a university roll, but rather see the same familiar faces every day.

The number of bilingual students at Bishop's and within the Lennoxville community came as a surprise, one that I admire. Coming from only a small country in the south pacific, often the only bilingual encounter we have would be with tourists or international students. My first few weeks here at Bishop's has certainly made the 17 hours flying time well worthwhile and I look forward to experiencing what the rest of the semester brings, and to make the most of it. I have a feeling my only regret when I leave Bishop's will be that I did not tick the box that said exchange for one year!

Andrew Whalley is an exchange student from AUT, Auckland, New Zealand.

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