Reading adventures and imagining myself in them, I knew studying abroad was an opportunity to travel and live those adventures. I knew what I wanted and the Archaeology department supported every decision I made, from university choice to financial support. I remember seeing the email from the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus, and I remember wishing it would load faster. My acceptance letter appeared, and I could feel that this was going to be life-changing.
I’ve grown not just in dress size (poutine is delicious!), but as a person, through all the new experiences I’d never have had a chance to know. I learned from professors with their different archaeological and anthropological approaches, I met people, made friends, had gaming nights and parties celebrating different cultural holidays. I was even chased by a racoon once.
My favourite hangout was behind the residence, where there was the Highland Creek that runs through a valley for 5km, before reaching the Great Lake Ontario. On a cliff overlooking the creek, I witnessed a weather phenomenon called diamond dust. Down the slopes leading into the valley, I heard coyotes howling at sunset and saw their footprints in the snow. Along the path following the creek to the Lake Ontario delta, I trekked with my friends through the woods then followed the coast, admiring picturesque houses with mailboxes.