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Reading week and laying down the Law

Hallo again, everyone! Hope you’re all doing great and are anxious for some more Maple Time!

As of right now, it’s currently “Reading Week” at Ryerson University. Reading week (Oct. 14 to 20) is dedicated to just that; reading. Students are meant to use this week, wherein there are no classes (unless you’re studying engineering), to catch up on their reading of study material, essays and research papers. In essence, it’s a week meant to take the stress off of students by allowing them to catch up on their workload.

Not all universities in Ontario have Reading Week; if you’re coming here to study, you might want to look it up before making plans for these dates.

That said, a lot of students here spend Reading Week doing things they don’t have time for otherwise… for example, a lot of trips to neighbouring cities and locales are arranged by different agencies, both from within Ryerson and without. Niagara falls, Montreal, Quebec, New York and Ottawa are all popular destinations for 2-4 day trips, often by bus. Other students spend their time socialising with friends, catching up on partying, social events, movies and other enjoyable activities, all in an effort to enjoy themselves and take some of the stress off; stress that, by now, will certainly be building, as midterms continue to pile up, and essays are started and near their hand-in dates.

Me, I just wrote my third midterm yesterday; our first examination in PSY300: Psychology of Law. Very interesting stuff, if I may say so myself; witness reliability, false testimony, interrogation techniques, polygraphs, deception, memory errors, suggestibility… so many interesting phenomenons and areas, so many horrifying stories. Did you know that there is current research that indicates that, on the low end, 20% of all confessions made in North America (US and Canada) are false, brought about by psychological strain resulting from harsh interrogation techniques? If that sounds fascinating, or horrible in a kind of “It terrifies me, but I want to know more”, then maybe PSY300: Psychology of Law is something for you.

That said, there’s a lot more to tell about what’s going on right now as an exchange student, not the least of which is Thanksgiving this Monday (Oct. 14th)! I’m going to gather up some more information and stories for you, and I’ll post another update during the coming week. Hope to see you back here then.

Until then, keep safe, be jolly, and maple on!

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Settling in…

Okay, so just what’s going on here?

For those of you who do not know, I’m a student of the BIT-programme at Umeå University, who’ll be attending a 4-month exchange during the fall term of 2013 at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.

As for what’s going on right now: I’ve been in Toronto for six days now, four of which have been like living in a sauna. The heat in and of itself isn’t bad; a mere 23-25 degrees celsius. The problem lies in the humidity; a humidity which I am told is always this bad in the region. Humidity for the first few days was around 85-90%, so this is definitely something to keep in mind if you’re going to visit Toronto during the summer months.

As for me, I’m just settling into my room. Living in Toronto is very expensive overall (a small room/bachelor’s apt. can be anywhere between $650-1100), and while there are cheaper places, there are also a lot of places you want to steer clear of. The trouble is that not all of them are concentrated in the same spot, or are in the outskirts of the city. On the contrary, there are select blocks near downtown which are considerably worse than what you might find just around the corner, and doing your research will pay off.

Right now I’m living in a room in a 140-year-old townhouse about 20 minutes walk from the Ryerson campus. I only just settled in today, after six nights at the Only Backpackers Inn, a great little hostel up on Danforth Avenue (comes warmly recommended).

Conveniently located smack-dab in the middle of downtown, Ryerson University is one of the several universities in the Toronto area, and it does have many (Brown, U of T, Centennial just to name a few). While the first few days around here (classes have yet to start) have been somewhat chaotic, the welcome I’ve received has been warm and genuine. The student commitment thus far has been lovely, and I look forward to participating in yet another exchange student activity on the morrow.

Want to learn more about life as an exchange student at Ryerson? Then you’re in luck, because there’s more to come in the days, weeks and months ahead, so stay tuned!

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JCH