Today was our very last day in Canada. Some of the group decided to do some last minute exploring while others slept in and enjoyed breakfast in the hotel. We all met in the lobby & hopped on a taxi to take us to the airport. Here we had to do customs & security and I received my very first stamp in my passport! From here it was on to Washington D.C where we had a brief layover to Greenville Spartanburg airport. Now that we are safely back home, I really am going to miss Montreal and as I reminisce about my experience I am already thinking about my next trip to study abroad. I really enjoyed my time here and I want to thank the International Studies program at USC Upstate for providing us with this once in a life time opportunity!
Today was GREAT! The 2014 Global Discovery team set off on a brand new adventure! Our first destination from Spartanburg was Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, we had a brief layover so we enjoyed lunch (I, of course purchased my very first authentic Philly cheese steak) and we also exchanged our currency. Our crumpled old American dollars were obtained in return for beautiful, colorful, unique Canadian money! NOW WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO SHOP!!!! . Once we boarded the aircraft again it was on to Montreal for some real excitement; but first we must go through numerous security checks & customs. So FINALLY we arrive in the beautiful city of Montreal. One of the first things I see near the air port is Americas favorite drive thru, McDonalds. I think to myself “okay maybe this place isn’t so different from home?” I mean after all, there is a McDonalds. As the day progressed, and throughout this trip I decided to compare and contrast some of the things that I see in Canada and the United States. Something that is NOT like home is the language. Most of the signs were either in English and French, or only French. Suddenly, I felt like an outsider in this place because I ONLY know English and some Spanish. So after we arrive, we need to find our hotel so we grab a taxi. We asked the taxi driver “about how far away our hotel is from the airport” and he replies “oh about 20 kilometers”. Okay so I am definitely not in the US anymore..kilometers? There was a lot of traffic, and the city was VERY busy but we made it safe to our lovely, historic hotel which was located just a short walking distance from downtown Montreal. Once the Global Discoveries group got settled in, we set on an adventure to explore this new/old place. One of the first places we visted was Old Montreal and Le Vieux Port. These places were very beautiful! There were many old churches, buildings, and statues. There was a castle that had over 400 years worth of history inside. A lot of places were closed because it was Monday, so we did a lot of sight seeing. The port contained a lot of boats that we could do tours of the city on. After that, we visted Notre-Dame Basilica de Montréal which was a huge majestic building. I could definitely see the difference in this city and some of the other cities that I have visited back home. A specific thing that I noticed was the very old architecture right beside brand new buildings. For instance a old church right beside a foot locker. The Canadians tend to preserve all their old buildings instead of knocking them down to change them into something brand new. Shortly into our journey, it started to rain, and not rain a little, but REALLY RAIN. Although the weather very well could have cancelled our small excursion, we did not allow that. We continued to view the beautiful city in the mist of the rain. It was truly exhausting but so worth the experience. We had dinner at a small little restaurant that sold a variety of homemade crepes & gelato and we tried both. They were affordable and delicious! Soon we headed back to the hotel just for a small rest before we ventured out once more. This time we headed into a different direction which was downtown Montreal! This was definitely a beautiful site to see! So many lights and attractions. I saw so many stores that are huge in the United States, as well as some stores that I have never heard of. Most of the stores were closed because it was pretty late at night. In conclusion, today has been fun and I cant wait to get up and see what tomorrow has in store for us.