So I have flown the Co-op (get it . . . coop?! ha check out the word play my English degree is not going to waste I tell you, ahem anyway).
You read right, yes I have left the Science ’44 Co-op and have moved into an apartment with two Canadian friends. If one word could describe how I feel about the move it would be FREE!
At the Co-op I was on a meal-plan and in a house with seven other students. Before I start I must say that the co-op was a great experience which enabled me to meet many International and Canadian students, who I still spend a lot of my free time with but I had to get out!
There are a few reasons why:
- The meal plan was unhealthy with very small portions. Meal times were restrictive and if you weren’t at the dining hall within half an hour of the meal time beginning you would have very little choice, sometimes resulting in them having to find you leftovers from the freezers.
- I have an egg allergy which I notified the Co-op about before I accepted my offer and they assured me and others with allergies that they can easily cater for my needs. However, on several occasions they “forgot” about my allergy and thus there was no food available for me.
- Living in a large house with many people is great for socialising and there is always someone to talk to/go out with but in a Co-op house each individual is supposed to follow the cleaning rota, alternating shifts each week. Unfortunately, you cannot make people clean and only half of my housemates did their duties, resulting in a very messy house.
In addition to this I was missing cooking for myself, so I started looking around in November for a different place to live. The places to look included noticeboards around campus or by word of mouth but the best place was the International Office website (http://quic.queensu.ca/resource/housing.asp). If you are going on exchange to Queen’s this website is invaluable! On this site there are a list of housing options including rooms available in apartments and houses around Kingston. I found my new place through this site, got a viewing, was really impressed, loved the girls and am now subletting a room as the girl whose room I have taken is on exchange in Cuba for the term. I moved into the apartment just before I came back home for Christmas and I settled in straight away. On a separate note, I cannot believe how many things I have accumulated in just a few months, from a 20kg suitcase to at least 9 boxes – argh! Luckily, my friend kindly offered her boyfriend’s car moving facilities for the move. But seriously I do not know how I am going to get all my things home – I may have to resort to the wear your whole wardrobe trick.
I would say the housing/ apartments here are a far better standard than Edinburgh, a heck of a lost cheaper and they feel like home! Also a bonus is that my apartment is over a third cheaper than the Co-op, so I have money for groceries and more for socialising and entertainment spare. So if you are going to Kingston I would suggest looking into subletting a room as I have found moving in with my new Canadian housemates great. They have introduced me to the truly authentic Canadian student experience and a whole new set of friends that I never would have met if I had stayed in the Co-op. I am one happy bunny now in terms of living arrangements. Just to note as well, I have found food to be a bit cheaper than Britain here and Kingston has a wide variety of food stores to suit anybody’s needs.
On a even more positive note (?!) I noted this week walking back from classes that I am very happy here and right now I can’ t think of anywhere else I would rather be! I have easily transitioned into life in Kingston and Canada. This is due to the friendly, sociable and helpful nature of everyone I meet and there is a general air of calmness about the place. I secretly wish I could stay here longer and I’m jealous of the students who study here full time.