Hi everyone! My name is Orsi and I’m an international student at the University of Alberta. I am originally from Transylvania, Romania (yes, that’s where Dracula and all the cool dragons come from)! I am soon going to start my third year here, studying French and Polish language and literature within the Faculty of Arts. These past two years have been the most exciting time in my life – UAlberta has given me so many exciting opportunities and I’ve met a lot of amazing people in the process!
Since I study but also work on the North campus, I’m pretty much there the whole day, which has been great, because I’ve discovered a lot of interesting places and things to do on campus. I usually take classes in the morning (one quick word of advice, if you are not a morning person, don’t take classes that start at 8:00 am, you will regret it come December!), after which I have lunch with friends or classmates. We usually meet in SUB or HUB Mall, as there are always lots of comfortable places to sit and handy microwaves to heat up your food if you brought some from home.
After lunch I usually head to work. I work at the Equipment Room in the Van Vliet Centre (also known as the Butterdome, that big yellow building that you can’t miss), which is a lot of fun! Working on campus has been great, it’s very convenient, as I can take a short shift in between classes or in the evenings/weekends and I also have the chance to meet a lot of other students. I’m also a volleyball referee for Recreation Services, which sounds pretty serious, but it’s a lot of fun. So, if you would like to earn some extra money for that weekend ski trip to Banff, I highly recommend working on campus, there are lots of opportunities with very flexible hours!
(Having fun at work and the Van Vilet Center - aka the Butterdome)
In my spare time I volunteer on a few different committees in my faculty, as I’m really interested in getting involved in making decisions about the policies and events concerning our department. Usually each faculty has a Faculty Committee, a Department Council and a few more specialized committees and you can apply to sit on them and become a student representative. It’s a great way to get involved and get to know the ins and outs of your faculty and it puts a great perspective on the amazing work that gets done behind the scenes by the professors and administrational staff. I’ve also been a volunteer with Student Connect, which is the awesome student service centre run by the Registrar’s Office. You’ve probably already had a chance to meet them, as they are the ones helping you with all your admission paperwork :) . It is also the place where you can become an ambassador of the university, volunteer for awesome events for new students, alumni and the community, but also make your voice heard in improving the student experience on campus. And oh the wonderful people you will meet!
(Summer School in Poland)
One more thing I love about UAlberta is the fact that they offer a million (literally) opportunities to study abroad. I know, as an international student you are thinking: I just got here, why on Earth would I leave again? But it’s a great way to visit some amazing places you have always dreamed of, get a new perspective on your studies and get some hands on experience. UAlberta has some great branches in Italy and France (mmm, the croissants!), but you can study in any country and any university in the world through the UAlberta, for as little time as one month and up to a couple years. I’m just writing this after a summer school in Poland and it was an amazing experience!
(Me at Heritage Days Festival)
I’m starting to miss Edmonton a bit though, the home of summer festivals and snow! My favorite is the Heritage Festival, taking place each year in August, in Hawrelak Park. It’s amazing how many different nationalities there are in Edmonton! The festival is also a great way to have a small taste of home, I could finally enjoy some juicy Romanian mititei and Hungarian langos :)
Make the snow your friend! Edmonton has the best winters, because it’s always sunny and there are so many fun things to do outside. I’ve finally learned how to ski, balance on one leg while ice skating and snow cones are my new favorite treat. Just don’t wiggle too much on the T-bar, or you’ll end up becoming the main attraction in Rabbit Hill (a ski center in Edmonton)!
Coming to UAlberta has been a great decision, it has exceeded all my expectations, by far. It has become my home away from home and I hope you will also enjoy many-many fun times here!