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Raging reporter - Vancouver

Article by Mike Geerts

If you think the Netherlands is rainy, just wait until you arrive in Vancouver, or "Raincouver" as it's also called. Fortunately, I had good weather almost every day: lots of sun, followed by snow in December. The city is characterized by a peninsula full of high-rise buildings, surrounded by lower houses and beautiful nature. By car you can easily go from Vancouver to the mountains for breathtaking hikes. Some tips: go to Grouse Mountain and always take enough water and food with you. Whistler is also a beautiful place, especially for skiing or snowboarding in the winter season. As you can see, hiking and winter sports are characteristic of Vancouver. Don't expect your roommates to go out; They are more likely to ask you to go hiking tomorrow morning at 04:00.

The hike that impressed me the most was to Garibaldi Lake, just over an hour's drive from Vancouver. This 30-kilometre hike starts with a climb through dense forests. Together with a group of exchange students, we walked through these forests, to finally enjoy breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains and the turquoise lake. Along the way, there are information boards that explain the culture and history of the Squamish people, the indigenous people of the Vancouver region. Sometimes these signs are even in the Squamish language, or "Sḵwx̱w̱wú7mesh snichim". Remembering the indigenous people is important in Canada. Also at the university or in public buildings, it is indicated on exams, at the beginning of lectures and on information boards that we are on the land of the original Squamish people.

But there is also a lot to do in the center. I often walked through Stanley Park with friends. From there you have beautiful views of Vancouver and the inlets of the sea. Stanley Park is located at the far end of the peninsula where the center is located. And if you want to get a burger in the evening, go to A&W or Walmart, a bit on the outskirts of town. Occasionally, you'll meet drug addicts or homeless people, particularly in "Downtown Eastside." Unfortunately, that is also the reality of Vancouver.

As I write about these adventures, I almost forget that I was also there to study. Do you have to study quickly the night before the exam? Head to Breka, a chain of cafes that are open 24/7 and serve as a second home for students during exam periods. The campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC), where I studied, is located west of downtown, about half an hour by bus. It was great to experience Canadian campus life, full of associations and fun people. Through the classes and the campus, I easily made friends with people from all over the world. As an exchange student, I met a lot of European friends, other exchange students. Do you want to know who the local students in your class are? They are often dressed in a slightly less colourful way than the Europeans. Without generalizing, it was an unforgettable trip.

Vancouver, but also other trips to the beautiful nature on Vancouver Island, beautiful hikes in the Rocky Mountains (especially Banff and Jasper are recommended) were great. It still feels like I was living in a postcard. The nature, the university and the people were unforgettable. Finally, I would especially like to thank Eva, my support during the hikes. For this beautiful time. Are you considering an exchange to Vancouver? Let me know!

The land of the indigenous Squamish people



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