Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Language of Instruction: English and French
History Year Abroad Student Views
- Having to engage with concepts that are commonly known amongst your peers but unknown to you is invaluable experience. For example, I had little knowledge of the plight of the First Nations in Canada, and having to learn that whilst also preparing to use such knowledge in essays required me to process information more quickly and more efficiently.
- I spent a lot of time at events hosted by two Jewish societies, Chabad on Campus and Hillel Ottawa. Ottawa plays host to a vibrant Jewish campus life that I was able to take advantage of.
- I knew before I went that Canada has cold winters, and I experienced on occasions temperatures going below -30 Celcius. Being faced with cold winters and having snow on the ground from November until March actually has major consequences on everyday life and how Canadians conduct themselves and their business.
- Having spent three summers at a Canadian summer camp, I thought I was more or less aware of the differences between British and Canadian cultures. However my time abroad showed me that my understanding was very limited, and that I had a lot to learn. Being exposed to an academic environment and a wider audience, a much more real picture of Canada was revealed to me.
- I was able to take some modules that would not be available to me at Warwick and so I think that I was able to realise where my interests are, I took two classics and two feminist studies modules in Canada and they were all very interesting and very different to history modules.
- I became involved in the Catholic society on campus (I am not religious) through a friend and was led in their introductory faith study which, while not something I personally believe in, was enlightening in the sense that I was able to experience and understand more this area of society. Religion is considered differently in Canada and so being involved in the Catholic group helped this and helped me understand this more so.
- I travelled to three other Canadian cities (Montreal and Toronto on my own and Quebec City with the Uni; on the latter I went whale watching) and I also visited New York City and New Jersey.
- The liberal arts education style also gave me a chance to study subjects outside of my degree like utopian fiction and French as a second language which I couldn’t do as a joint honours student at Warwick, and also modules with a more modern/ North American focus like indigenous politics in Canada and the FDR presidency.
- I have improved my confidence speaking another language, even at a beginner level, because Ottawa is a bilingual city and I met a lot of international students who spoke more than one language, including French.
- Although in a small city the university of Ottawa was completely different to Warwick. The campus partially spread across the city and there was a variety of neighbourhoods to visit outside university time.
- The biggest difference in Ottawa was the weather. When I arrived, it was over thirty degrees, but in winter temperatures got as low as minus 30-40 degrees Celsius with numerous feet of snow.
- There was much more factual recall e.g. map quizzes and short answers and much fewer formal essays. Historiography was not always necessary, and neither was referencing in several cases. Also, there was much less reading and less need for an extensive bibliography as only around three sources were usually required, if any. Seminars did not exist as all teaching was done in lectures.
- As we were able to take five courses over the year I had the opportunity to study a much broader range of topics which covered the whole world. In the first semester I studied Canadian history, the Middle East and the Holocaust. In the second semester, I studied the USSR, Southeast Asia, the East India Trading Company and the 1930s across the world thus covering a broad range of periods and area. The syllabus also gave me the opportunity to take a French language class in each semester and so I was able to improve my language skills which was useful for living on the border of a French speaking province.
- I went canoe camping, to Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Algonquin National Park and Vermont. I also participated in winter activities in my spare time such as Dog Sledding, Tubing, Snow Shoeing and Skiing. After my course ended, I travelled down the west coast from Calgary and Banff, across to Vancouver, and down all the way to San Diego stopping at numerous points of the way such as Seattle, San Francisco, Yosemite, Los Angeles and more.
- Living in a pre-colonial country my understanding of Britain and its relationship with the world and how it is seen by other nations. I also learnt about indigenous culture and interacted with first nations people which enhanced my knowledge of their culture and how they are treated by and view Canada.
Please note that not all institutions are available each year, and places will be allocated on a competitive basis. Partnerships may be added or withdrawn at any time, and are always subject to availability. The institutions available each year will be posted in the preceding Autumn Term.
Year Abroad Contacts:
Professor Tim Lockley
Director of Study Abroad Programmes
Mrs Val Melling
Tel: +44 (0)24 765 22502
HistoryOffice at warwick dot ac dot uk