5 struggles for a Brit in Canada

1.My name. The amount of times I have introduced myself to a Canadian as Dan and someone has not understood is actually amazing. In fact I met some guys in a bar in my first week here and until corrected they thought my name was Donald. Canadians or perhaps more specifically Torontonians use a completely different vowel sound for my name and nowadays I end up putting on an embarrassingly bad Canadian accent so that people can understand. In Starbucks on more than one occasion I have adopted the pseudonym ‘Keith’ to make things easier.

2.No drinks past 2am. Nowadays I am not the most avid partier, that wore off a while ago near the end of first year but it is still strange that nights end so much earlier here. One solution, just start earlier!

3.The cold. Luckily we have got really lucky with the weather so far. By December it is usually always under 0°C but it was relatively mild. January and February are the coldest months but the other week it was 15°C which is really warm for February and it has been tolerable with a few exceptions. However as I am writing this post it is -20°C outside, so yeah, it doesn’t look like we are going to completely get away with it. I am heading to Quebec tomorrow skiing which is further north so that is going to be brutal but it is all part of the full Canadian experience!

4.The provincial tax. I’m sorry Canada but no, this is just confusing and makes zero sense to me. In stores the prices displayed don’t include provincial tax which is like 13% which can get annoying but I am of course familiar with this now.

5.Work load. University of Toronto is a great university and I enjoy my modules but the workload, especially around finals time, can be pretty overwhelming. Last semester it took me close to the brink and being 50% of my degree I must admit it did get very stressful at times but I made it! Luckily for me I only have to do 4 modules each semester but many of the other exchange students have to take 5. I honestly think that if I did 5 I would have serious trouble balancing studying with my social life so I was definitely lucky in that respect.