Good-bye, University of Alberta!
Letter from Canada! For Robert Brundage the semester abroad is over. But he made a new commitment in Edmonton.
Jan 10, 2016
Finals week was in mid-December, and I had very mixed feelings about the end of the semester. On the one hand, I was very happy that the stress of exams was over, at least for the time being. On the other hand, I was very sorry that my semester at the wonderful University of Alberta was also over. I was very lucky with the courses I chose to take: I learned a lot, and the professors were fantastic. After every lecture and seminar there was an opportunity to speak with the professor and ask questions, and they always answered my emails immediately. The professors seemed genuinely interested in responding to the needs of students. Altogether the semester abroad was an incredibly positive experience and I would advise anyone to take advantage of such an opportunity.
The end of the semester at the University of Alberta, however, does not mean the end of my Canadian adventure. I got an internship at Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT) – that is the environmental protection agency where I helped with the fence project in September (for more details, see my letter “Building Fences to Help the Environment”). The internship will run until the end of March, and I hope I will be able to use my geographical knowledge and skills to help the organization in actively pursuing environmental protection.
Currently I am working on minimizing the risk of forest fires in nature reserves. This includes taking an inventory of the vegetation – types, density, and location (topography) – which would enable us to later take measures such as cutting fire breaks or thinning certain areas.
Christmas Dinner as in a Hollywood Movie
I spent the holidays with my relatives – with Christmas music around the clock, egg nog (which is traditionally served in North America over the Christmas holidays), and all kinds of Christmas cookies and fudge. The dinner consisted of a 15-pound Christmas turkey, probably the most traditional Christmas dinner, and no fewer than ten side dishes! From bean salad to buttered peas, sweet orange jelly, and cranberry sauce. A selection of six desserts crowned the menu.
In short: The Christmas dinner in North America is really like it is always shown in Hollywood movies! It was the first time in my life that I experienced the Christmas holidays without my parents and my brother. Unfortunately, I was also not able to visit my grandparents and my aunt and uncle in Dortmund as usual, so I would like to take this opportunity to greet them across the miles.
“I found my Canadian roots”
I hope my letters from Edmonton were able to convey an impression of the Canadian way of life. Canada is a wonderful country, and I would strongly encourage everyone to ask least come for a visit. I am incredibly grateful to have lived for a short time in my father's country – and I certainly found my Canadian roots! I will enjoy the time I have left here until the end of March, but I am also looking forward to returning to my small, calm Earth sciences campus in Berlin-Lankwitz.