I have never seen a university like Carleton before. It is insane. There are massive buildings after buildings after buildings and they are all surrounded by the Rideau Canal. Carleton is like a modern day castle with a stunning moat.
But the real surprise came when I walked through the doors to the main building. On my left there was a university shop crammed full with school merchandise. I’m not talking about a few hoodies with logos on them, I mean MEGA merchandise; jumpers, tops and bottoms of all variations, basketball kits, rugby kits, every-other-sport-you-can-think-of kits, pyjamas, umbrellas, USB sticks, coffee cups, baby clothes, blankets, hockey pucks, clocks, photo-frames, shot glasses and phone cases. ALL of the above, and much more, comes with the Carleton logo branded in big bold print. I was standing in a souvenir shop for a university, and that is a bizarre concept to me. But this intense commercialisation of education did not stop there.
As I reached the top of the next flight of stairs I was faced with the food court. At my university in Scotland we have two cafeterias with unbranded sandwiches and salads made locally and sold for good prices. This Canadian food court was the complete opposite. It had the atmosphere of a shopping mall and looked like one too. Major food chains filled the hall and they served everything from pizza to fried chicken, and shawarma to sushi. But the brand madness didn’t stop there. As I ventured through the rest of the university campus I discovered two Starbucks, one Subway, at least three Tim Hortons, six Express’, three Pizza Pizza’s, two Quiznos, and five Campbells restaurants. The list goes on. They had bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and hundreds of seating areas dotted around campus. Carleton is it’s own little village.
The university has eleven houses of residence on campus, two theatres, a swimming pool, fitness centre, fieldhouse, two gymnasiums, tennis and squash courts, and an ice house. Societies and groups are vast and various; Disney Lovers, Glee Club, Lunar Rover Project, Quidditch (I kid you not), synchronised swimming, and an a cappella group called The Acappella Pitches (for all those Pitch Perfect fans). This place is a world of it’s own, with so much variety, interesting attractions and twenty-six-thousand students to keep things interesting. Boredom will certainly not be an issue for me this semester.