Unofficial school motto: ‘Panther Pride!’
Best place for a nap: Dawson Lounge in the SDU Main Building for the best couches, or the giant leather chairs upstairs in Don and Marion McDougall Hall. This whole area has floor-to-ceiling windows, and when the afternoon sun shines in just the right spot, you stay toasty warm.
Best cheap lunch: The Wave
Best hangover breakfast: Maid Marian’s Diner
Favourite watering hole: Upstreet Craft Brewing—it’s the perfect distance between campus and downtown and offers great local brews
Perks of living in this town: Islanders are known for their kindness and sense of community, which certainly resonates throughout Charlottetown. Living expenses are also relatively low compared to other cities.
Best place to study: The big room at the top of the stairs in the Robertson Library has great natural sunlight
Weirdest tradition: Hobo Week, where school-newspaper staff attempt to live exclusively on campus for an entire week
Best campus event: Beach Blast. The Student Centre is filled with sand and students compete against one another on the man-made volleyball court. After a few days of tournament fun, the student union throws a huge beach party in the middle of March.
Best giveaway: Trivia nights at the Wave
Best live music venue: Fishbones Oyster Bar or Hunter’s Ale House
University Insider: Taya Nabuurs, 22, Political Science and French
Much like the province, UPEI is small but charming. Just a short bus ride from downtown, the 56-hectare campus is home to about 4,400 students; almost 20 per cent are international. While this may seem small compared to many notable Canadian universities that have tens of thousands of students, its modest size is perhaps one of the university’s main advantages. Small class sizes equate to excellent student-to-instructor ratios. This means one-on-one attention and guidance from professors, which is something all university students come to value immensely throughout their academic careers.
From the world-renowned Atlantic Veterinary College to the ever-popular faculty of education, UPEI offers many outstanding programs and boasts top-tier research facilities. Its mix of 150-year-old architecture and modern design really reflects the university’s prestige and its commitment to innovation.
Aside from the aesthetic appeal of the campus, it’s the people who truly make UPEI what it is. The close-knit, welcoming atmosphere reflects the Island, with its strong sense of community. By the end of your first year, you’ll have a hard time walking across campus without seeing at least a few familiar faces.
Winters can be long and cold, but they’re worth it. Pro tip: I know you’ll be a broke student, but a good pair of winter boots is necessary when trekking between classes. Maze-like snow tunnels often connect the buildings. You’ll want to use these for protection—we’re buried under five metres of snow some winters. No joke.
UPEI is home to an extremely active student union, which puts great effort into overseeing every detail of campus life. From faculty societies to chess club to the Panther Pantry food collective, there are plenty of ways to get involved and meet students with similar interests. UPEI also hosts lots of great stress-relieving activities and events during exam season, such as the famous Soup for the Soul events at the Chaplaincy Centre (who doesn’t like a free bowl of chili every now and then?). If you’re looking for other ways to unwind, UPEI’s campus pub, the Wave, offers themed trivia nights and Mario Kart tournaments. If big dance parties are more your style, the Wave hosts those, too. University is what you make of it. Get involved (trust me on this).
Charlottetown’s downtown core might be incredibly small, but it has a lot to offer within its nearly four-block radius. It’s chock full of coffee shops and eclectic local stores, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Islanders are a proud people who place a strong value on arts and culture, which is evident in the vibrant food, music and diversity festivals held throughout the year.
DiscoverCharlottetown.com is great for getting a feel for all the arts and culture events around town.