I can call this place home from now on...
Hey guys! My name is David San Kim and I was part of the class of 2017. Since the beginning of my high school years, I already knew that I wanted to become an engineer and so my journey began when I moved to the University of Calgary. For the ones who don’t know, Calgary is in the province of Alberta and the city is quite big with around 1 million people. The city is also one of the safest places to live and it has been ranked as one of the best places to live in the world. At first, I wasn’t quite sure whether I would adapt to this different lifestyle, but since the first time I moved in, a lot of people helped me and welcomed me with their arms wide open.
During my first week, the university holds an orientation so that the students can get to know the campus and break the ice and make some friendships since everyone there is essentially new to this whole new experience. During my stay in Calgary, I lived on campus and I could say most of the things you watch in the movies are true! In my residence, we have male, female and co-ed wings and you get to share a room with someone else in a single room, and the bathroom is shared among around 20 students in each wing. The food here is amazing as our dining center has been constructed last year and it’s simply amazing with a lot of healthy choices and sweets, or you can just eat pizza every day since the dining center also has it! Usually, I take 5 to 10 minutes to walk to classes, you won’t need any bicycle or skate for sure if you live in campus, and during the winter we have tunnels to every building on campus so it is one less thing to worry about.
Most of my lectures are in the engineering building and it is one of the newest buildings around campus. The classrooms are spectacular, and all buildings have doors that open automatically. All my lectures hold around 200 students and usually, there aren’t a lot of interactions with the professors, but if you have a question you can always raise your hand or talk to the professor after the lecture. During our labs and tutorials, TAs (teaching assistants from upper years) are the ones responsible for it and they are all friendly and helpful during the classes. In the University of Calgary, engineering students have a first-year common core with classes from all different engineering paths so that we can decide what we want to study for our undergraduate years.
If you are planning on doing engineering, I can tell you that the AP Calculus course during high school was the best thing I did alongside the senior thesis, but for sure I regret not taking the AP Chemistry course since you can get a lot of credits for Chemistry. During my last semester, I took 5 classes which were Calc 2 & 3 combined, Chemistry, Physics, Statics, and Electrical Circuits and Machines. Most of the classes require a lot of effort and you should study every day a little bit to keep on track and succeed in this program! I’m not saying you should give up your free time but try to study a little bit every day will help you more than you think!
The university has 4 campuses, Foothills campus, Downtown campus, Spy Hill campus, and the Main campus, which is where I am located at. I can say that the campus is huge and full of different activities such as gym, an Olympic Oval for skating and hockey, wall climbing, and many others. For people who like sports, our basketball team has been national champions. We also have a huge football stadium called McMahon Stadium and when there is a game, I can even hear it from my dorm which is 1km away.
Now let’s get to business, the Canadian Cold! I’m not going to lie to you, it can get REALLY COLD, but for sure you can manage it. When you first move to Calgary you can notice the difference in the weather right away even though it is not winter yet. During the winter, the weather got as cold as -30°C, but that’s on some occasions, usually the weather is around -10°C and -20°C during winter. The only thing you need to worry about is using a thick coat and you will be fine! If you like snow you will be really happy to know that it snows a lot in Calgary, sometimes it can get as high as your knees and during winter you can rent a ski or snowboard and go to the mountains have fun, but if you plan to ski a lot you should get the season pass.
From my time in Calgary, all I can say is that I have no regrets at all in coming to this amazing city and meeting a lot of friends from different parts of the world. So far, I can say that this has been the most amazing experience in my life, and I can call this place home from now on.
David San Kim (’17)