A piece of me lives on in Ottawa

Written by Charlotte Abraham, BA Art and Psychology

I still can’t believe that I have flown to another country for four months and enjoyed every single moment of it. There is a surreal sensation that comes with talking about my study abroad experience in Ottawa, Canada, as I never thought that I would have the guts to send the form that started my journey. Canada turned out to be everything I hoped for and more. The city of Ottawa bought new surprises weekly and you didn’t have to walk far to experience the wonder. Within weeks, we had experienced summer and autumn while exploring the parliament buildings before they shut for renovations. Omega Wildlife Park is still a highlight for me, hanging my arm out of an iconic yellow school bus window to feed the iconic Canadian animals.

To experience the traditions that Canadians hold has also been very special for me with Thanksgiving reminding me of what’s to be thankful for, and the dedication to their sports teams in soccer and ice hockey – although, I still don’t understand the rules! Being able to see another city, Montreal, opened my eyes to the vastness of the country and the connection everyone has to each other; being wonderfully friendly. I also couldn’t believe the amount of beautiful history the city had, from the mountain to the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Being able to explore Ottawa through my studies allowed me to see everything in a new perspective, literally, through film photography. I was able to view the many war memorials of the city as well as the multiple waterfalls and the natural beauty. I felt honoured to have had the opportunity to learn about photography in such a unique way and the handling new materials of plaster and wood in sculpture. By going back to these basics, I have stretched my own knowledge about what I am able to do with the material. Also learning the history of art, and the connections between periods has refreshed my palette for new and exciting projects. The most exciting parts of my work was certainly being included in two exhibitions, and having my photography work I Am Not the Label You Give Me published online!

There were multiple interactive museums dotted around Ottawa including the Agriculture and Food Museum and the Nature Museum. They both had live animals that you could learn from and watch the cocoons hatch into butterflies and watch them in their home. The art scene in Ottawa continually kept me inspired in my studies, with the National Gallery merely minutes away from the department. But one of the hardest parts was walking around on my last day, savouring my Beavertail and accepting that I had to leave to return home. Saying goodbye to those I had met and to the city I fell in love with broke me, but I know that with every part of me I will return to the place I called home for four months. I have left my lock used throughout the semester on the bridge by the university so that a piece of me lives on in Ottawa. It would not have been the same without the friends and memories I made and that I will keep now and forever. 

To see the artwork, I have made during my time in Canada, head to www.charlotteabraham.art 
To see the published artwork of I Am Not The Label You Give Me, head to https://www.uottawa.ca/gazette/en/news/challenging-stereotypes-one-label-time


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