Chelsea Howard, 30
The walls of Hatley Castle rise majestically from the ancestral lands of Coast Salish First Nations, its imperious, mossy turret a stone sentinel in the mist. Built by B.C. coal baron and lieutenant-governor James Dunsmuir in 1908, the Victorian-era mansion is an icon of excellence and prestige, having served as a military college for more than 50 years before becoming Royal Roads University in 1995.
Much of the castle’s grounds, which overlook the roiling seas of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic mountain range in the distance, are densely forested and deeply lush. The atmosphere is hushed and reverent, and as elegant as the peacocks that wander the property.
The classrooms are a different experience entirely. Learning here is vibrant, and the enthusiasm of the instructors and your fellow students is infectious. Royal Roads is different from other universities. Here, I don’t attend classes in a cold lecture hall with strangers; thanks to the school’s cohort model, I collaboratively learn among people who have become my friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more multicultural and diverse learning experience, or more relevant coursework. The applied learning here ensures that not a single moment—or tuition dollar—is wasted.
Everything about this campus is rejuvenating, empowering and motivating. As excited as I am to start my career, it’s hard to think about leaving.
Royal Roads offers bicycles for rent, and there are some amazing trails throughout the forested parts of campus. The state-of-the-art rec centre also offers an array of drop-in fitness classes at no additional cost to students. If you want to get involved, join the RRU Student Association or the Students Against Violence Peer Support group in order to help stop gender-based violence on campus.
Royal Roads is located in Colwood, a small city on Vancouver Island’s west shore about 20 minutes’ drive from downtown Victoria. Langford is nearby and provides all the amenities you need. Victoria is a different story, with plenty of great eateries, shops and things to do clustered around its beautiful inner harbour. The scenery here is truly second to none.
Check out RoyalMag.ca, RRU’s online and print magazine, for everything from news to podcasts.