December 31, 2008

Top 20 Alternative Canadian Bands

So the past couple weeks I've been listening to a lot of Canadian music with the hope of coming up with a top ten list by tonight...but I did not have the time to whittle down the list and rank no particular order are my top twenty alternative Canadian bands. A few are more or less mainstream, but without the 'alternative' label I'd have to rethink the entire list (Neil Young, The Guess Who, Rush, Barenaked Ladies, etc...) try not to split hairs. Despite there being many other great alternative bands...I've limited my selection to those available from CBC Radio 3's selection so that you can listen to them on the right hand side.

The list is:

New Pornographers
Ghost Bees
Broken Social Scene
Swan Lake
Tokyo Police Club
Chad VanGaalen
Julie Doiron
Immaculate Machine
The Arcade Fire
Wolf Parade
Sam Roberts
Bedouin Soundclash
The Unicorns
Hey Rosetta 

December 29, 2008

Summer Jobs in Boston for University Students

So I've been spending a few hours looking for different summer jobs for this summer in Boston and I've come up with less than ideal results. I know some of you are reading this from the New England area, so figured a few of you might have an idea or two. I'm brand new to Boston and really have no idea what summer festivals or year-round above minimum wage jobs there are that hire University students. If anybody has suggestions please post them below. I've turned comment moderation they will appear automatically.

The Cigarette is Dead?

One of the first things I noticed in Boston were the number of smokers. At four months at Mount Allison I saw about twenty of the same people smoking every now and then. It really wasn't an issue. But walking down the street in Boston I saw more people smoking in four minutes than I had in four months.

One thing that I'm thankful for is higher taxes on cigarettes.

"Increased taxes on cigarettes have been called the best smoking cessation program in the world. In Canada, between 63 and 79 per cent of the price of a package of cigarettes is tax. In New York, by comparison, the tax on cigarettes is 38 per cent."

I was looking around at other Canadian blogs and came across a post from Canadian University Marketing about a grassroots anti-smoking campaign. I know from taking D.A.R.E. and other generally ineffective drug education programs that telling people what to do generally doesn't work, especially when it comes to smoking. Videos like this seem a bit more credible, but dramatic sounds and words alone won't change behavior.

Yes, cigarettes are terrible for you, but that's nothing new to people who smoke. The site lists different anti-smoking laws around the country and personal stories of people trying to quit. It takes more than "You should stop because it's bad for you" to overcome nicotine addiction. Making cigarettes more expensive and limiting the places people can smoke are a step, but it takes something more personal for addicts to quit.

Studying in Canada: Mount Allison University's International Student Admission Requirements

Seeing as how I decided that I would be coming to Mount Allison around February, I thought I'd provide any possible international students with information on studying in Canada and specifically at Mount Allison.

As I've said before, this is a personal blog. No information here should be relied upon as completely up to date or accurate. For official university information please see the Mount Allison University's website at

That being said it's clear from the Google Analytics information that some people looking for specific information about Mount Allison sometimes come to this page instead of the school site. When I was in the process of applying and getting ready for Mount Allison I noticed that a lot of future students used the Facebook group to ask other students questions in a more informal setting. For questions of different opinions (classes, teachers, residences, meal hall, social life) that seems to be the most helpful in allowing people to have some insider information before coming to Mount Allison.

But, again, following the correct steps in the admission process is your responsibility and for any information you need to be sure is correct contact the school directly. For now, to be the most helpful as students are deciding on University (this time last year I had completed my American applications) I'll provide information with a link to the official page from time to time.

First things first: Admissions requirements. Canadians applying to study at Mount Allison can do so very easily from this and related pages. International students should look at the information reproduced below and links along the left side of their page:

What are my academic requirements as an international student?

Mount Allison’s admissions requirements are intended as broad guidelines for international students. Our admissions process is personable and unique in that it carefully considers the whole person.

In addition to a strong academic record, we consider your extracurricular involvement, leadership skills, maturity, and other relevant background information. Tell us as much about yourself as you like. We listen!

As academic requirements vary by country, please select from the drop-down menu below or contact us for more details. Remember, these are intended as a general guide to our admissions requirements.

American School System

US students comprise our largest international student cohort. We welcome and encourage applications from students taking an American high school curriculum. SAT/ACT results are not required, however we do strongly encourage you to submit your results.

General Certificate of Education (GCE)

Your GCE must include two subjects at Advanced Level and three at Ordinary Level, or three at Advanced Level and one at Ordinary Level, with an overall average of C and no subject below a D grade.

International Baccalaureate

Mount Allison has a very high regard for the IB program and IB students normally excel on our campus. We have a generous transfer credit arrangement for IB students that normally allocates between 18 and 30 credits towards our 120-credit degrees.

Your program should normally include three courses in each of the higher and standard levels with a minimum score of 4 in each subject and a minimum overall score of 28 points.


If you are following France’s system of education, please complete the requirements for the Baccalaureate with a minimum academic standing of Assez Bien.

English Requirements

If your first language is not English, you must provide documentation to show that you exceed our English proficiency requirements.

Studying in Canada: "Study Abroad Guide on International Education for Indian Students"

Since coming across an article about Americans studying abroad in Canada...I wanted to find a different perspective. I'll be posting on different topics of interest to international students looking to study in Canada in the future. For now here is an article with an overview of the programs available at Universities in Canada from The Study Abroad Guide on International Education for Indian Students:

Canadian Universities

Diverse, Vibrant & Dynamic

Canada's universities share a key strength: their high quality. Canadian universities have a long record of providing an accessible university education to students from across Canada and around the world. Reflecting the rich history many cultures and traditions, Canadian universities offer a mix of opportunities in a variety of educational settings.

The 89 Universities that are members of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada are located across the country, with institutions in every Canadian province. Taken together, they offer a wide range of courses.

In addition to universities, Canada's postsecondary system includes 175 community colleges, which respond to the training needs of business, industry and the public service, as well as the educational needs of vocationally oriented secondary school graduates. These colleges, also known as institutes of technology, university colleges or CEGEPS, historically offered diplomas and certificates rather than degrees. Today, some offer degrees themselves, and a number offer university transfer programs or provide programs jointly with neighbouring universities.

A Range of Choices

Canadian universities provide a full spectrum of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with faculty undertaking research of national and international importance.

Universities in Canada range from large urban, multi-campus and research-intensive universities, offering a wide range of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, to small liberal arts colleges with a focus on undergraduate education. Others provide specialized professional programs in fields such as business, engineering, art and design or agriculture.

You will find that Canada is nothing if not diverse! University colleges represent a new model for postsecondary education, combining practical vocational programs with more theoretical offerings. Since Canada is a bilingual country, our universities demonstrate this by offering instruction in English, French, or even both!

Three universities are devoted entirely to distance education - a field in which Canada, a country of vast spaces and outstanding achievements in telecommunications, is a world leader. In fact, most universities in Canada offer a wide selection of courses through distance education, with formats ranging from traditional print or audiotape correspondence courses, to teleconference or computer conferences. Support systems for students who study at a distance are common, including counselling and study skills seminars, tutorial assistance by phone, fax or computer, and direct online links to campus libraries.

A Reputation for Excellence

Canadian universities have earned an international reputation for excellence. Their faculty have recognized research and teaching strengths in areas such as computer sciences, business (including MBA programs), health sciences, law, ocean studies, natural resources and agriculture.

In addition to their teaching, universities play a vital role in their local communities, offering concerts and plays, day care centres, sports and fitness facilities, lectures, museums, on-campus radio stations and art galleries open to all. Research is central to the mission of Canadian universities. In fact, 25% of Canada's research capacity is found in our universities - a far higher proportion than most others countries. Universities in Canada employ about one-third of the country's PhDs, who spearhead the national research effort. Students at Canadian universities are frequently involved in research projects, often during their early undergraduate years. Professors see research as an integral component to their classroom teaching. Canadian university research has yielded a wealth of innovations as important as insulin, Pablum, the artificial pacemaker, improved strains of wheat, and the identification of the genetic causes of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig's disease. Today, Canadian researchers are world leaders in areas such as helping people cope with pain and stress, improving human memory, pulp and paper chemistry, dealing with the impact of technology in the workplace, and finding new treatments for cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis.

The System in Profile

Universities in Canada operate under provincial government charters. There is no formal system of university-wide institutional accreditation. Instead, membership of AUCC, in conjunction with the university's provincial government charter, is seen as serving in lieu of institutional accreditation, both in Canada and abroad. In addition, graduate programs and professional schools such as law, nursing, medicine and engineering have rigorous discipline-specific accreditation procedures. Computer science is also developing its own accreditation system.

There are currently 500,000 full-time undergraduates at Canadian universities, 200,000 part-time undergraduates, 75,000 full-time and 40,000 part-time graduate students. Student profiles have changed dramatically over the past decade, with older students, more women and a greater multicultural mix. The social sciences remain by far the largest field of study in Canada, followed by education and the humanities. Biochemistry and computer science have been among the fastest growing disciplines at the bachelor's level in the last five years, closely followed by nursing, sociology and psychology. A wide range of student services is offered by most universities, including special tutoring in writing and math skills, help in finding off-campus housing, academic, career or personal counselling, and health services.

Many universities provide support to students with special needs, including single parents, women, those with physical, sensory or learning disabilities, aboriginal students, part-time students, gays and lesbians, mature students, and students of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Special programs are also often available to help first-year students improve their chances for success at university. Some offer for-credit courses aimed at integrating students to university life and studies. Many universities provide such assistance on an on-going basis throughout the academic year, with workshops in areas such as essay and exam writing, study and research skills.

A Lasting Reward

A university education translates into new skills, better job prospects and higher salaries. University graduates also have a better chance at promotion throughout their career, better health and benefit packages, as well as better pension plans. Clearly, the rewards of a university education last a lifetime.