I leave for Vancouver Canada on August 15th, 2012 at around 7:20 AM from Newark Liberty International Airport and land at around 10:30 AM local time. August cannot come soon enough. Everything is falling in place, and the more I get done, the longer each day becomes. Its just like how it was when I was six and it was 3 days from Christmas... the waiting game is a horrible one.
I've been in contact with my school - The University of British Columbia - and my program - Masters of Arts in Asia Pacific Policy Studies - and I seem to be on track. I've picked all the classes I want to register for (discussed below), with registration only 3 days away. I have my loan approved from the US Government and I'm just waiting to finalize my scholarship with UBC that should pay for most of my tuition. I found an amazing apartment in Vancouver: a 4 bedroom 2 bath basement suite in a cute (but flat!) neighborhood which comes pre-furnished and has all new appliances in the kitchen. Its 500 CAD a month, utilities included, which is a great deal. I am rooming with one girl from my program - she actually found the apartment - which should be useful. The other 2 rooms are currently unoccupied, but I'm sure our landlord is trying to change that. There's a grocery store and a small strip of stores/restaurants/businesses just a few minutes walk away, including a bus stop which links me to the rest of the city.
The commute from my apartment to school is about a 5-10 minute walk - depending on how lazy I am - to the bus stop and then a 40 minute bus ride (sometimes shorter sometimes longer) with a final 5-10 minute walk to the school building. Its basically an hour commute, which isn't that bad. I'm still #220 on the waitlist for housing (I was originally #440) and there are only 200 grad student rooms, so its pretty obvious I'm not getting an apartment there. Its fine, I commuted to school when I was in Tokyo, so its not like its anything new.
All my classes have always been MON/WED/FRI and TUE/THURS, which sucked. But for UBC, my grad courses are one day a week for about 3 hours, sometimes 2 days a week for 1.5. This will make commuting easier, AND it will mean I can do fun things like attending school meetings, lectures, etc. Should be exciting. I don't want to list all my classes out of pure laziness, but basically I'm taking 8 courses for a total of 4 classes per semester/term. I'm taking 2 senior level undergrad courses because they're on interesting topics and the rest are all grad level. I'm taking things like Gender and Policy, Democratization in Asia, and a research class on China and Sea-Conflicts in South China Sea
which should be really cool.
There are some issues still: like how I want to take every course ever and have no room, but its fine. I actually have to run to my job, so i'll post this now and post another lattttter.
Good luck to you all, and me too