Reflections on my first week (and a bit) in Canada

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

It’s been 12 days since I arrived in Canada, and I’m very glad to say I've settled in well. Each new day has been easier than the last, and I’m feeling more at home all the time. So, what have I been up to since I arrived? Well, I’ve mainly been finding my feet and making friends - I think I succeeded at both.


On only my third day in Canada, I joined two PhD students from the WiRE Lab as well as other wildlife professionals from around British Columbia, to learn about the chemical immobilisation of wildlife. The course covered topics such as animal anatomy and physiology, pharmacology (the chemistry of drugs and how they work), correct immobilisation techniques and what to do if things go wrong. There was so much new information to take in, and on top of jet lag, my brain was fried by the end of the day. On the second day we practised loading darts and firing different types of dart guns at a crude cardboard bear. It’s safe to say that I should probably head down to the range before I volunteer to be in sole charge of something as important as darting an animal… We ended the course with a theory test, which I passed (phew!), and that was that. I feel so lucky that I was able to participate and hopefully in the not-so-distant future I can put my new skills and knowledge to the test.


After the course was over and I had time to breathe, I went in search of a climbing gym. I found a good one about a 25-minute walk from my house. It has a lady’s night, a gym area and cool people – so I guess I’ll hang out there a few evenings a week.


My weekend plans were shaken up when Chloe, a PhD student who studies mule deer, asked if I’d like to spend my Saturday watching a necropsy (postmortem)? Of course I did!

I don't drink wine so instead I made friends with a turkey

Somehow, I also found it in myself to socialise this week too, not once, not twice, but at least three times! One of the MSc students from the WiRE Lab was leaving, so I joined the lab in wishing her farewell with a zoom around the go-kart track (I went very slowly and avoided all collisions) and round of mini golf (I didn’t come last). It was nice to get to know everyone from the lab in a non-academic setting, and we socialised even more at the weekend with a couple of winery tours.

I'm on a boat

I think I'm finally ready to get started on that PhD now, but first, a long weekend.

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Photo Disclaimer: All photographs are property of Sophie May Watts or James Fleming unless otherwise stated.

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