Tag Archives: England

What to Expect in 2022 (University Exchange Update)

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Last year, I announced that I was going on a student exchange to Melbourne, Australia for the 2022 winter term. Unfortunately, this is no longer happening. Local travel restrictions, varying vaccination rollouts, and most importantly the increasing case counts due to the rise of the Omicron variant have squashed any hopes of studying in Australia.

While I’m disappointed, it’s not all bad news because a shift in travel plans and applications means that at the end of January, I will instead be moving to the United Kingdom to study at the University of Liverpool for 5 months! While the plans are concrete now, this wasn’t always a guarrantee. After I was informed that my university was cancelling my exchange to Australia, I was offered to apply to a new host school. After some deliberation, I decided that my best chance to study abroad would be in the U.K. Of course, this was before the Omicron variant was discovered which threw everything into jeopardy.

Gatwick International Airport (ca. 2019)

In part due to my own university’s pandemic policy and the Government of Canada’s official travel reccomendations, my exchange with the University of Liverpool has been cancelled and reinstated almost 3 times. Thankfully, after some deliberation I was given the opportunity to continue with my semester abroad as long as I gave the powers at be my informed consent and proved that my health insurance would cover any possible complications due to Covid-19.

And so, after a couple months of planning I’ve found myself in the final few weeks before setting off for England. Flights are booked, accomodation is lined up, courses are chosen, and new travel accessories have been purchased. (Several of which I will be making a review of)

While the main focus of this adventure will be on completing courses required to obtain my degree, I’m obviously going to be doing as much travelling and cultural immersion as possible. As the pandemic still leaves a cloud of uncertainty, the amount I will be able to do remains to be seen but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to make the most of this experience. (and write about it!) If you have any reccomendation for things to do, or places to see in the U.K. or the rest of Europe for that matter, please leave a comment below and let me know!

Durham, England (ca. 2019)
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Now, I realize that many people who have had the chance to study abroad tend to pick non-english speaking countries or distant exotic locations. I considered this, but chose England for a few reasons. First, the United Kingdom is one of my favourite countries. I’ve been twice before: once in 2006, which to be fair I don’t remember too well, and then again in 2019 when my family did a whirlwind tour of the country from the northern tip of England diagonally across the midlands before finishing in London. The pubs, the architecture, the football, and more all strike a chord with me.

Secondly, in order to obtain my university degree my program presents the opportunity to partake in a 8-month work term in a developing nation as part of my final year. This means I’ll have the opportunity to immerse myself in a more foreign culutre and lanuage down the road. Studying in England allows me to live abroad and experience a different country, but in a more or less familiar setting to Canada. This exchange semsester will serve as a way to ease into life away from home in preparation for what’s to come.

Finally, I chose the United Kingdom because of the uncertainty of the pandemic. Aside from being somewhere that’s still accepting foreign students, the U.K. has a strong healthcare system, speaks the same language, and the British and Canadian governments have a close relationship. All of this is in place in the event that I get sick. (Fun fact, it’s written in every Canadian passport to visit a British embassy/consulate in the event you need help somewhere a Canadian embassy isn’t available) While health considerations aren’t the driving reason for studying in England, it’s nice to have that peace of mind.

Alnwick Castle, England (ca. 2019)

I’m both incredibly excited and very anxious to get started, and happy that after all the uncertainty my exchange term is actually happening. I’ll be writing about my time in the Liverpool as regularly as I can so keep checking in to follow along.

In terms of the second half of 2022, my plans remain wide open. I’d like to return to work in Algonquin Park for the third straight year, and I’ve started to throw around the idea of working in western Canada this summer, but some things need to fall in place before either of those happen. Regardless, I’m excited to get back out there and continue exploring the wilderness, go camping and do lots more hiking. My goals for Seeking Saudades include posting here at least once a week and creating new content for my YouTube channel. I’m excited for 2022 and I hope you’ll follow along with me!


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*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

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Newcastle, England – Photo Friday #13

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Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week’s image was taken in the city of Newcastle, England, during my travels there in 2019.

It’s hard to wrap my head around just how in the world this bridge was allowed to be built so close to these buildings. I imagine this project must have faced huge backlash when it was in it’s early stages, especially from those living directly in its path. I mean, I guess it’s better than demolishing the entire neighbourhood just to put a bridge in. Don’t get me wrong, the bridge makes for an interesting sight, and definitely adds to the charm of one of my favourite cities in England, but I can’t help but think there had to have been a better option.

See you next week!

Newcastle, England. Tyne Bridge.
Newcastle, England (ca. May 2019)

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A Detour to the Scottish Border

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Scotland-England Border
The view across the A1 towards the Scottish border marker

In May of 2019, I was in the middle of a whirlwind week-long tour of England, crammed in the back of a light blue Hyundai hatchback with my family. We had just picked up our car rental in the town of Durham, England, before beginning the journey north. Along the way, we would stop in Newcastle to watch a Liverpool F.C. vs. Newcastle United F.C. football match at a local pub, and then in Alnwick to rest for the night and to visit the spectacular Alnwick Castle.

Newcastle United, St. James' Park
St. James’ Park, home of Newcastle United F.C.
Alnwick Castle, England
Alnwick Castle, England

Our final destination on the journey north was to be Bamburgh Castle; one that was entirely inspired by our time watching the BBC/Netflix show, The Last Kingdom. Bamburgh Castle is spectacular, and was well worth the visit. After spending a few hours exploring, it was time to get back on the road.

While this should have been the time to turn around and begin driving south to the city of York, I had a different itinerary in mind, one that I had been pushing for from the moment we booked our flights: Scotland.

Bamburgh Castle, England
Bamburgh Castle, England
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If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that once I get my mind set on something, I’m hard pressed to let it go. And so when I saw that the Scottish-English border was a mere 37 kilometres (23 mi) away from Bamburgh Castle, I just had to try and and get there. When would I ever be back to this part of England? Would we ever get the chance to drive across the Scottish border again? I think some things should never be left to chance.

It took some convincing, but eventually my family agreed to take the 1-hour detour towards Scotland. I’m glad we did too, because the drive along the North Sea coastline made for some stunning views.

Scotland-England Border
The North Sea
Scotland-England Border
Farmland straddling the border

On arrival at the border, there was a short spillway off of the highway, and some limited parking available. We got out, and headed towards the stone marker and flag which denoted the exact boundary line between the two countries. Of course, we had to take pictures to prove our Scottish adventure.

Scotland-England Border
The spillway leading to the border
Scotland-England Border
The “Welcome to Scotland” sign
Scotland-England Border
Scottish stone border marker and flag posts
Scotland-England Border
One last look before turning around to head back to England

While we were only there for a grand total of 5 minutes, I’m glad we took the time to make this stop. I knew that if we hadn’t made this trip, I would have regretted it. I mean, technically it’s one more country to add to the list.

When we had seen everything that was to be seen, we got back on to the highway, and after a quick stop on the English side of the border, we headed back down the A1 towards the medieval city of York, where we would be staying for the next 3 days.


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Warwick Castle, England – Photo Friday #7

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Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week takes us to Warwick Castle, England during my visit in May of 2019.

While my family was researching whether or not this destination was worth the visit on our road trip across England, a lot of the online reviewers cautioned Warwick Castle as “the Disneyland of English Castles”. While I can certainly see why some people would think this, it’s not as bad as it sounds. In fact, I think that’s what makes it such a worthwhile place to visit!

Warwick Castle has the typical historical elements and museum pieces, things you’d expect, but it also has a series of well-done attractions. When I was there in May of 2019, these included a haunted tour, a birds of prey show, a trebuchet demonstration, and more. To a history buff, I can see why this might seem tacky and misplaced, but personally I thought it was a great way to mesh the old with the new, and in an engaging, exciting, and refreshing way; one that people of all ages can enjoy.

I highly recommend adding this to your list of must-see English destinations, and if you’re interested in learning more about what Warwick Castle has to offer, visit warwick-castle.com.

See you next week!

Warwick Castle, England
Warwick Castle, England (ca. May 2019)

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Alnwick Castle, England – Photo Friday

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Welcome to the first ever Photo Friday!

Lately, I’ve realized that I’ve been sitting on a lot of pictures that I’ve taken over the past couple of years, and instead of letting them go to waste on my computer I thought that it would be a good idea share them here for others to enjoy.

This week’s photo was taken at Alnwick Castle, England in May of 2019.

Harry Potter fans may recognize this castle the best, as it was used for many of the outdoor filming locations for Hogwarts Castle in the first two films in the series, most notably broomstick training.

Alnwick Castle, England (ca. May 2019)

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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