Best place for a nap:
Dawson Lounge in SDU Main Building and the Robertson Library sunroom: both places have comfy couches and are usually pretty quiet
Best cheap lunch:
Best hangover breakfast:
Maid Marian’s: A diner close to the university, with cheap, tasty food and the best milkshakes you will ever have
Best bar for hanging out:
Hopyard: vinyls, craft beer, chill vibe and a food menu that changes every two weeks. All the food items are usually $8, so it doesn’t break the bank either.
Piatto’s in downtown Charlottetown has authentic Italian pizza, with a constantly changing menu. If you’re looking for something cheaper and with some original combinations, Famous Peppers is the place to go.
Best place to study:
The Fox & Crow has really great Wi-Fi, fair trade coffee and numerous power outlets
Best place to live:
Brown’s Court: a block of townhouses and apartments located right across the road from the university. If you wake up at 8, you’ll still make it to your 8:30 class.
“Pie your prof.” Students can bid to hit their profs with a pie, with the funds going to a local charity.
Best campus event:
Beach Blast: An indoor beach volleyball tournament and beach party held in March, when it’s still snowing outside
What surprised me most about the school:
The number of snow days in the winter
The University of Prince Edward Island, with just 4,500 students, embodies the best aspects of small universities: manageable class sizes, professors who learn students’ names, and incredibly helpful staff and faculty. The program offerings, however, are diverse and ambitious. They range from the well-established business and nursing programs, to emerging offerings like the faculty of sustainable design engineering and climate change lab, to offbeat courses such as the history of rock and roll. The approach is all about ensuring students can explore interests, and it is not uncommon to find students switching faculties as they become more familiar with their strengths and passions.
UPEI is about creating your own opportunities. For every niche interest, there is a professor willing to supervise you on a directed studies course. Find a few like-minded people and you can create your own club or society.
The campus community has something geared to every interest. From high-energy wet/dry events to more low-key movie nights, it’s easy to find your on-campus family. If you live in residence, it’s even easier, with open mic in the dining hall, and the annual ninja games. Also worth mentioning is that a quarter of the population is international students. Learning about other cultures is easy, thanks to a plethora of clubs and the annual Global Village celebrations.
The UPEI social life is as eclectic as they come. Wednesday nights are for trivia at the Fox & Crow, the campus pub. The Chaplaincy Centre on campus hosts a monthly “soup for the soul,” which is an amazing place for building community with students from different social spheres (and free soup). Best of all, UPEI is home to the Atlantic Veterinary College, and you will often see beagles being walked through campus. Inclusivity is also key: there are gender-neutral washrooms in almost every building, and accessibility is being constantly improved.
If you, like me, are not used to small towns, then you will probably feel some apprehension walking across the tarmac at the Charlottetown airport. Fret not, as the town is bustling with activity, especially from May to November, when cruise ships make a stop at the harbour. Try some Cows Ice Cream and take a walk through the downtown area, stop by Victoria Park for an open-air movie night, or take a trip to one of the many beautiful beaches close to the city. Winters are undoubtedly slower here, but everything looks postcard-perfect.