Sunday, July 20, 2014
Your New City (or Your Old City Rediscovered)
If you have moving to a different city to study, remember that your new city is your home now, whether it feels like it or not. This means that you can enjoy all the commodities it offers, just like any other resident. You may need to get a few things organized first, but you are entitled to these.
For example, the public library of a city is a government program offered to anyone who has an address in that city. Therefore, if you have just moved to Ottawa, you are entitled to use the Ottawa public library (all its branches) for free. In order to get a library card, you will need to register with the library by physically going to one of its branches (locations are typically displayed on the library’s website) and show proof of residence (an official bill with your address in your new city on it). If you are moving from a small town to a large city, you will be amazed at the resources you can access at your new library, including having items ‘shipped’ to the library branch closest to you and making reservations. My library includes audio books, downloadable books, movies and even video games (for various systems!); all these are free to borrow and I can renew them online.
It is often difficult to find a new physician in a new city, but thankfully, most universities offer medical service to their students (you still need to show your medical insurance card, from your home province, to use the service) and these physicians are specialized in all the medical problems that university-age students encounter most frequently (birth control and sexual health; addictions; depression and anxiety) and they can write you medical notes if you need to miss school (including exams) and give you referrals to a specialist in the city.
Your new city most likely offers some museums and/or galleries. Take advantage of their newly-found proximity and the cheaper rates you can often get with your student card.
Take the opportunity to enjoy what your new city offers: remember that you may not be able to live there after your degree: if you find a job right after school, it may take you somewhere else; you may choose to move back home for various reasons (including needing time to find a job while not paying rent); you may want to pursue more studies that are in a different city or you may even want to move to follow the love of your life. Regardless of the reason, recognize that this time may be temporary and enjoy the festivals that are offered around you, often at very low cost, and definitely at lower cost than later since you live nearby and can enjoy a student discount. Moved to Calgary? go see a Stampede; moved to Montréal? enjoy the Jazz Festival; new to Toronto? you’ll have to pace yourself and spread the entertainment over a few years!!
Finally, remember to enjoy what is local; going downhill skiing if you are at the University of Regina is not frugal, but enjoying seafood in Halifax is a great way to take advantage of local opportunities.
Wherever your post-secondary education takes you, be part of your new town!