Ben Oostdam's

1957 - 1960

I arrived in this giant country on September 15, 1957
by airplane from Amsterdam to Montreal.
I had just turned 25 and was admitted as a freshman
in the Geology Department of McGill University.
After having enjoyed 3 years of fine living in Bangkok
with two roommates, two cars and four servants,
I was now "on foot" and put in Douglass Hall
where I shared a suite with two US medical students
and a recent Hungarian refugee.

After spending half of my savings on the flights from Bangkok through Amsterdam to Montreal, I had $ 1,594 left, of which I paid $ 573 for the first semester's tuition, board and lodging. I also spent $ 36 on textbooks and some $ 30 on clothes and "tuck shop" stuff.
Besides registering and attending classes and labs, I also went to the Freshman Dance on September 17 and took the bus to Shawbridge to spend the last weekend of September at the McGill Outing Club House ( $ 8 ...)
I met a lot of new people in the residence hall, classes and outings, found that most students were much younger than I, and that classes were rather easy. The hardest class was "English for foreign students" from which I retained the construction: "If I were a woman...", because it is highly unlikely, in contrast to: "If I was rich ..."
But pretty soon I was pulled out of this class by my English teacher, Prof. Walker, who said I did not need it because I had written the best entrance essay of the entire class (I think I wrote about Angkor Wat)

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