Study Abroad @Quest University Canada– Part 2 #MyStory 0

Don’t worry if you didn’t read part 1, here’s the link to it: http://student-blog.tsd.ac.uk/?p=2518&lang=en-US#more-2518

Oh and I’ve decided to make a Part 3 as I realized I had so much to write!

So during my time at Quest University Canada I studied 4 very different classes. The classes that I took were, Biodiversity of British Columbia, Biology of Tropical Ecosystems, Perilous Earth: Natural Hazards and finally Constitutional Law.

As you can see, I did try to choose classes that reflected my main focus for my undergraduate, which is Outdoor Education. Although when the opportunity came to mix things up, I wasn’t shy.

The layout of classes was completely new to me but it was very interesting and soon became the norm. Quest runs on a block system which allows students like myself the opportunity to focus on one subject at a time, rather than juggling multiple.

For me, this was great as it really allowed me to dive into the topics and develop in-depth knowledge for in class discussions and assignments. At the end of each 4-week block we had a 5-day block break where students can either stay or leave campus. Because of the location of Quest in Squamish BC, many students went skiing or boarding in Whistler or others went to Vancouver or even further afield to California or Colorado. I worked at my Outdoor Centre on some block breaks on the Sunshine Coast, along with travelling around Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Seattle. Lucky right?

My first class was Biodiversity of British Columbia. I was really excited about this class as I thought it would be a great introduction to Quest and BC, I wasn’t wrong.

My class was a mix of students from various places in North America, this diversity brought so much extra knowledge and experiences to class discussions. Within this class we visited various places including a day trip to the Vancouver aquarium to learn about various ecosystems and wildlife within them. This was all new to me and was so interesting, I remember at one point thinking that maybe I want to pursue a biology pathway but that’s a totally off topic so I’ll stop there.

Within this class we had many different trips and excursions. We went bird watching at the Squamish Spit. Here we went to a few different locations to count and monitor particular species, it was horrible weather that day but we had our Write in the rain books so it didn’t stop us! We later used this information to make scientific graphs to calculate the abundances at particular locations. This was all new to me which was a challenge, but was still super interesting!

We also had a cool night experiment on the beach where we collected and recorded marine invertebrates from the intertidal zone. We used 25cm2 Quadrats to select random locations and we soon discovered many different species but they disappeared too quickly when our headlamps shined on them. Wow it sounds like I’m writing a scientific paper right now, so I’ll stop before I bore you. Overall, this class was a GREAT introduction to Quest and the tutors’ experiences and enthusiasm gave the class such inspiration to learn!

The second class I took was Biology of Tropical Ecosystems. Yes, another earth science class but they were starting to draw my attention more and more. This class was lead by a visiting tutor from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, just outside of Vancouver. She was awesome, it was the first time this class had been offered at Quest and I was so happy to be a part of it.

Liz had so much experience and this really made classes more interesting as she almost always offered her own insights and stories. She has lived in Panama for many years and spent a long time researching bats, an area of knowledge I definitely developed after taking her class. This class offered a few excursions; one was to Bloedel Conservatory where we researched plants and tropical birds in a semi natural environment. This was a great day out and a good laugh even while we were learning, there was this ridiculous parrot that spoke, so we all kind befriended him.

We also visited the tropical exhibitions at the Vancouver aquarium, here we saw Sloths, Piranhas, spiders and frogs, well basically you name it and we probably saw it! I never really thought about Tropical environments but this class opened my eyes up to how interesting these ecosystems are!

I love food, so when Liz came to class one day with bags full of tropical fruits she had bought at the market in Vancouver, I was so happy! We cut and tried it all, Liz gave a summary of each fruit as I delved right in to get the best ones. Then suddenly appeared a huge ugly spiky looking object. I had seen them before but I was so excited to try it, we cut it open and we straightaway smelt it. Durian is well known for its horrible smell but we tried it and to my surprise, it was actually quite nice! Overall this class was so interesting, since taking it I have become more aware of sustainability issues in these ecosystems, along with the appreciation of so many foods, medicines and products that originate from tropical areas.

So you might have noticed that I got carried away talking about my experience at Quest, so part 3 will include more about my other 2 classes, Perilous Earth; Natural Hazards and Constitutional Law.

Cheers, and if you like my blog, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @JONATHAN_UWTSD to get regular updates of when I write my next one!

Happy Adventures!