Chan Hoi Ying, Zoey
University of Toronto, Canada
As the middle of the semester approaches, more assignments are being given out, quizzes and mid-terms are getting closer, and the library becomes the place everybody goes to “hang out”. At the University of Toronto, instead of having one library like City U, it has a libraries system, including 44 different libraries on three of its campuses. The U of T Libraries System is the largest academic library in Canada, and it has North America’s third highest ARL Library Investment Index. This shows the collection, and the resources database in the U of T Libraries System, is among the best of its kind.
Each library at U of T has a different collection of resources. One of the libraries I often visit is the Noranda Earth Sciences Library, located in the Earth Sciences Centre. As an Environmental Science major, most of the courses I take here are related to my major. Studying in the Noranda Library gives me a more centralized collection of resources related to Earth Sciences, including textbooks, research materials, published papers, reference books, etc. The interior layout of the library is spacious and filled with natural light, making studying more enjoyable.
Talk about exceeding expectations. The experience of studying at the University of Toronto has definitely blown my mind. After all, I did not expect I would have the chance to not only see, but also touch real life fossils!
The Faculty of Art and Sciences has an extremely wide range of courses to choose from, and two of the courses I registered for, Oceanography and Earth System Evolution, had a laboratory component. Every one or two weeks, I got to go to the lab and examine different fossil records. There, you get to learn the ways to distinguish which organisms are in the fossils, as well as how they were formed. Talk about a coolness OVERLOAD!
Another thing which is great about getting into the lab at U of T is that all the studying is done in groups. You get to discuss everything with your classmates and have fun while learning about all the cool things to do with ocean models and fossils. Not only do you get to meet the local students but you also get to meet other international students from across Asia and even Europe. The diversity of students at U of T is one of the main reasons why I am learning so much more about other parts of the world.
Two things that you look out for on your travels around the world are the people and the culture. Apart from attending lectures, or doing lab sessions on campus, there are a great many opportunities to explore and learn about the city you’re in and its culture through volunteering.
In Toronto, there are many on and offline platforms where you can find the perfect volunteer program that suits you. The organization I joined is called St. Felix Centre. It is a non-profit community centre that looks to provide services to the community in downtown Toronto. A core value that I share with St. Felix Centre is the respect we have for human dignity. We also both believe in compassion, justice, and the promotion of peace. That is why I signed up for their Community Meal Lunch Program.
Every Tuesday morning, I would go down to the centre’s kitchen and help prepare the free lunch meals that were to be provided. I always wanted to try working in a kitchen, and now I have. Working in a kitchen can be quite challenging – it is so hot inside you can really see how red my face got! LOL! Sorry for showing the ugliest face EVER, though I suppose you cannot really be “pretty” inside a kitchen now, can you? :-P After all that though, I really feel like being a little chef in a restaurant, cooking for others. Cooking for people in need is both fun and purposeful.
Another important thing that I gained while volunteering was friends. The others who volunteer at this centre are all so nice and caring. It was the most uplifting atmosphere that I have ever been a part of – there was music in the kitchen, laughter, jokes, and most of all, FOOD. You might call it a kitchen, I would call it heaven. This really is a place where you get to feel the Canadian culture of being nice and kind to others, and of showing love.
March is probably the hardest month during the Spring semester at the University of Toronto. It is the time when most of the mid-terms, term papers, assignments, and all the important work is due. At the same time, I value having sports and exercise in my daily life (well, mainly because I’ve eaten a lot of good food here and my “quota” is almost maxed out! Soooo… Hahaha).
One thing that I really like about U of T is their sport facilities. Not only do they have THREE sports centers, which is already impressive on its own, but each of them is extremely well-equipped and very capable of providing all the kinds of sports equipment you might need. This time, I am going to introduce you all to the Goldring Centre. It is the one I usually go and work out at. It is a NEW, HIGH-TECH, and AWARD-WINNING fitness center, where you can run on treadmills facing floor-to-ceiling windows, making you feel as though you are running in the sky!
Opened in 2014, its full name is the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. It has a field house where the basketball and volleyball teams of Varsity Blue (the U of T sports team) train. The fitness facilities, located on the second, third, AND forth floor, all have state-of-the-art facilities. Other than fitness and sport purposes, the Goldring also serves as an academic building, where the U of T’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education have their research and teaching laboratories. It really is an all-inclusive package.
Whenever you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with schoolwork, working out for an hour or two in Goldring can definitely help you de-stress during the busiest month at U of T.
Being one of the oldest universities in Canada, and in the world, there are many places at the University of Toronto where you can find traces of its rich history and culture. One of them is Hart House.
Hart House is a student activity centre. Not only does it have common rooms, reading rooms, and conference rooms where students can study or relax, it also has gym facilities, music rooms, a library, radio room, and even a café! There are so many things to do and discover in Hart House, but the most enjoyable part for me was the library.
The library at Hart House is just one of the many libraries at U of T. It has one of the longest opening hours where you can just stay inside and study (though for me I would go in there and chill lol). The real reason I enjoyed it there however, was because of how beautiful the library was. You can see what I mean from the pictures. The Gothic-style architecture emphasizes the importance of Hart House at U of T as an academic institute. The library holds a great number of books related to the history of U of T, where you can learn more about how the university has evolved and becomes one of the most renowned institutes in the world.
Besides the library, there are also common areas, where chess tournaments are held few times every month. For all you chess lovers out there at CityU, U of T is definitely the place to go if you want to polish your chess skills and make new, good friends!