December 6, 2021

UCCI: Experiences Studying Abroad

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unnamedEighteen-year-old Jenae Whittaker won a coveted scholarship to spend a semester at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

By Jenae Whittaker  From UCCI TV

Arrival: First Three Weeks


Leaving Cayman was easier than I thought. Before I left my friends and family told me about the things I will miss from home. Surprisingly I don’t miss much. Obviously my family and close friends of course. On my way to Calgary I travelled on three different flights, making two stops to get to my final destination. My flight across Canada from Montreal to Calgary was roughly 4hrs. I flew on Air Canada Rogue with my dad and on our flight we had access to an inbuilt TV behind the seats where we could watch movies and tv shows, listen to music, check our flight time and estimated arrival. I watched two movies to pass the time: Captain America: Civil War and Barber Shop: The Next Cut. Once we got to Calgary picking up our luggage was a breeze because we didn’t have to go through security again. After that we waited for our hotel shuttle and rested for the night.

During my first few days in Calgary I did some shopping for items I needed for my stay on the school’s campus. My dad and I also drove around a bit to get familiar with the surroundings. We went to two restaurants, Mucho Burrito and Chop Steakhouse. Mucho Burrito is Canada’s version of Taco Bell (with better food in my opinion). The day before my dad left we stopped at a plaza and while we were at this plaza it started to hail! At first it sounded like heaving rain and when we looked outside small balls of ice covered the whole parking lot. I’ve seen snow before, but not hail so that was a first experience.

The evening my Dad was leaving for Cayman we met with two family friends, Tammy and Cornell. We had dinner at Chop Steakhouse and socialized for two hours. After dinner I went home with them for the night as my dad left for the airport.

While with Tammy and Cornell, I’ve made my first friend Sadie. Sadie is a rescued Greyhound that Tammy and Cornell adopted 3 years ago. She is very friendly and protective. Protective because she walked me downstairs in the middle of the night to get a glass of water and walked me back up to my room.


On Sunday, the 4th of September Tammy and Cornell helped me move into residence on the school which will be my home till I return in December.

After moving into my room, I’ve met my roomies Rebekah, Allyssa and Andrea. All three are from Canada and in our first few nights living together we talked about our homes, shared our talents and bonded. We all had a good start to living together. Already we made plans to go into the city, sightsee together, go to some malls, watch movies and have dinner at local restaurants. So far we got a lot planned out and I’m looking forward to going on new adventures with them!

In this second week the school scheduled a two-day orientation to welcome all new students and officially introduce us to Mount Royal University. They scheduled some guest speakers including the school’s President, David Docherty, who spoke about the next four years of our lives; however, I’m only here for the next four months of my life. Already I’m looking forward to my classes, the people I would meet and the various activities I will take part in on this experience. On the first day of orientation we got a tour of the school, a few heads up on the functions the school will be hosting and interacted with all new students in our groups. The following day Mount Royal hosted a carnival for all students returning for the new academic school year. Here I hanged out with some of the other exchange students and participated in some of the games they had. I also had a chance to buy mini donuts (which are the best mini donuts I’ve ever had). During the orientation Mount Royal introduced 2,000+ students into its various academic programs.

To end week two, my RA who is the Residence Advisor of our floor hosted a social night where we walked over to recreation for some rock climbing. About 15 of us participated in this event and we were all able to interact and familiarize ourselves with who we were living beside to. The next day (Saturday) the Recreation Centre along with Mount Royal hosted the “Colour U Blue!” run where students got covered in blue paint and powder at various stops on a 4 mile run. On this day it wasn’t too cold, so weather was perfect to participate. After the run each student got a free voucher to get free food at any of the food trucks that were on campus after the event. From this run I got paint all over, especially in my ears, but I was able to get it all out.


Already in the middle of the week, it is the official second week of classes. So far I’m enjoying my lectures and class schedule. I haven’t done much touring yet because I’m still getting used to my surroundings and settling in. For the upcoming weekend I’ve signed up for a trip to go to the Rocky Mountains with the other international exchange students. Here I am hoping to bond and interact more as I continue my experience as an exchange student at Mount Royal University.


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