Poutine, Gee-Gee’s Football & Sunburn

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Semester

Jake is currently studying abroad at the University of Ottawa in Canada with his Film degree at Reading. Read on to find out what he’s got up to in the first few weeks into his semester studying abroad. 

Having completed my first week studying at Ottawa, I can honestly say I have already realised what an amazing experience this will be!

Since arriving Saturday 3rd September, so much has already happened and I have already been thrown into the Canadian culture at Ottawa University. It has been both nerve-wracking and exhilarating! It seems a world away since I stepped onto that plane, flying on my own for the first time.

In one week alone I have undertaken a captivating tour of the local Parliamentary buildings, watched a light show projected onto the very same buildings and managed to attend my first ‘Gee- Gee’s’ football game. I haven’t stopped since my arrival and have appreciated having so much to do, helping me to acclimatise to such a different but interesting culture. Everyone has been welcoming and it has been great to begin making friends with other exchange students from around the world, who are in the same boat thus equally determined to experience as much as possible in their time spent in Ottawa.

I wanted to study abroad to experience the world, inspire my creativity as a film student and ultimately grow as an individual into someone who can offer a valuable contribution to the film industry. It is still very early into my semester at Ottawa, I am still nervous, finding my feet and slightly homesick. However, the beauty I have already seen in and around Ottawa has greatly aided my transition.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Semester

On the Monday after my arrival, I made the decision to go exploring on my own because the few students I had met at the time had already seen the Parliament tour etc. Twelve miles of walking later, my feet incredibly sore and my body tired, I returned to my room with a smile on my face…my passion for photography sated. In one day I took so many photos of the scenery and architecture, from ornate rooms to natural landscapes. It was an awesome day! Since arrival, the sun has been shining almost none stop; I have capitalised on such weather by taking photo after photo.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Semester

On top of this, my first week of lectures has been as equally interesting. One of the big draws to studying abroad was that there were no compulsory modules, thus I had such a wide selection to choose from. Despite taking place on a Saturday, Literature and Film has already proven to be a great choice. Watching Hitchcock’s Shadow of A Doubt (1943) was great because despite the obvious culture differences, I felt a familiar and similar passion for Hitchcock in Ottawa, as seen in Reading’s own FTT department.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Semester

I already know that I am going to be busy academically with the courses I have chosen, from Canadian and Quebec Fiction to American Cinema, but Canada offers such a different culture compared to what I am familiar with, alongside awe-inspiring scenery. As such, I know there will be plenty of places to travel to like Montreal and Toronto, which will hopefully inspire my work further and aid me in improving my confidence. I have cheered at a football game, eaten poutine and been incredibly sun burnt in only my first week here so I am excited for what else lies ahead. But for the immediate future, the main objective is to find a nearby cinema…so many films so little time!


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