After twenty grueling hours from Malaysia to Vancouver, I finally arrived at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) ! It was an amazing sight and it was the best-looking airport I've seen in my entire life. Its architecture incorporated designs from their native art as totem poles and aboriginal structures can be seen everywhere in the airport. Vancouver's vision for sustainability is also portrayed through their blend of wooden and glass structures.
|Kendrix and I at YVR.|
We were picked up by Campbell, one of the student leaders in the IBWSC, can transported by bus to the campus right away. The scenery outside was welcoming and their gateless community surprised me. In 10 minutes time we arrived at Totem Park Residence, our accommodations for the week. Rooms in Totem Park are in pairs - two rooms are connected through the same bathroom which we would have to share with each other.
We do not have any air conditioners in our rooms apparently, so it could be quite warm if you don't open the windows. Nevertheless, I love my room. It's small, but who says I'll stay inside for the whole day? UBC scheduled day-long activities and we can truly rest when night falls.
However, there wasn't any wifi in Totem Park ! It was only available in the CIRS building, where most of the lectures and talks were held (I'll talk more about it later.)
After dropping off my luggage in my room, I was taken for a tour in the CIRS building first. We were escorted to the CIRS building which is quite a distance away from Totem Park. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable walk. The weather was cold, the roads were wide and clean, and there were pine trees everywhere - I'M IN CANADA !
Do pardon my excitement. I had never travelled to a country so far from my own in my entire life. And now I'm here, in one of the most prestigious, sustainable universities, which is located in a city half a globe away from my own, sponsored. I possess all the rights to be excited, and I sincerely thank those who have made this possible.
I was greeted by Karen Waugh, who instantly recognized who I was and made me feel at home. She had laboriously tended to my enquiries regarding visa applications when I was back in Malaysia. We exchanged brief salutations and she further introduced me to Quinn Runkle and Jeni Williams.
Quinn was a UBC student and she was leading the CIRS building tour when I arrived. The tour was extremely informative as she brought us through the highlights of the most sustainable building in the campus and the whole of North America. CIRS stood for Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability.
Jeni Williams is the course director for Oxford Study Couses (OSC) and also my scholarship sponsor. I never knew about this until the day I arrived - it came as a shock and pleasant surprise. I knew of OSC earlier during my first year of IB as I found their revision guides extremely helpful. As Quinn finished her introduction to the CIRS building, we had a pleasant talk regarding my expectations about the IBWSC.
|With Jeni Williams from OSC.|
I had a tour around the UBC campus next. UBC's grounds are MASSIVE. Walking is a trend around here, as UBC is a living proof of the concept of sustainability.
Some beautiful sights around the campus taken from my camera:
|Blue, cloudless sky. Something you don't get in Malaysia.|
|Don't judge it by it's looks - it may take the form of an ancient medieval architecture, but in fact this is a massive library.|
Next came dinner, the very first meal I had in Totem Dining Hall. There was much variety and dinner was served way earlier compared to when I had it in Malaysia.
(Too hungry to take photos of the hall, haha. Sorry !)
The evening was filled with social events. We had an icebreaker activity, floor meetings and met our GAT groups for the very first time. We spent the rest of the night preparing for Colour Wars by coming out with a suitable logo and shoutout.
As much as I was excited and loved how everything today seemed to pump up my enthusiasm further for the IBWSC, I was relieved that I was able to hit the crib after a day long's activities, especially one promptly after arrival.
|Totem Park Residence.|
|My room - very sustainable ! No air-conditioning and restricted shower rounds !|