Dalhousie University: student tips for surviving life on campus

Where to find the best dance spot, best dinner date, good hangover breakfast and more

Lexi Kuo
Dalhousie students at a farmer's market

Dalhousie University. (Photograph by Nick Iwanyshyn)

Dalhousie University. (Photograph by Nick Iwanyshyn)

Best place for a nap: The stacks in the Killam Library are perfectly silent with dim lighting and lots
of privacy
Best cheap lunch: The Loaded Ladle is a student-run society focused on promoting affordable, diverse, fresh and nutritious food options. There’s also a free lunch every Tuesday through Friday in the Student Union Building.
Best dinner date: Truly Tasty on Quinpool Road has the best ramen in the city!
Best hangover breakfast: Mary’s Place 2—cozy, rustic and cheap
Best dance spot: The Seahorse Tavern has lots of theme nights and live music
Best place to study: Floor-to-ceiling windows at Halifax Central Library provide great natural lighting. Only a seven-minute bus ride from campus.
Best weekend activity: The Emera Oval has skating in the winter, and scooters/roller skating in the summer
Coolest day trip: Visit the Citadel, a historic site with lots to see and do
Official school motto: ‘Ora et labora’ translates to ‘pray and work.’ Most students do not know this motto exists.
Unofficial school motto: ‘Inspiring minds’
Best place to live in first year: Residence: it’s an experience that you won’t want to miss (for reasons good and bad)
Best live music venues: The Lower Deck, a Sunday night spot
Perks: There are so many coffee spots spread across campus. You are never far from that much-needed cuppa.

PROFILE: Dalhousie University | Halifax, N.S. | Founded 1818

University Insider: Lexi Kuo, 19, Political Science and Philosophy

When you tell people that you go to Dalhousie, more affectionately called “Dal,” they will most likely respond with, “Where is that again?” But it’s all part of the charm. The city of Halifax is built around the Citadel, a fortress originally constructed in 1749 to defend the harbour. The city and the university both have unique personalities that will make you fall in love with them. At least I did!

The main Studley campus is only a 10-minute walk from one end to the other, so you never have to go very far between classes. Some of the buildings are connected by underground pathways so you don’t even have to step foot outside.
Class size at Dal depends on your program, with smaller classes at 50 to 150 people, and larger classes at 200 to 400. These relatively low numbers make it easy to get to know your classmates and professors.

The Dal Student Union runs plenty of events and initiatives for students. There are also many faculty and society (a.k.a. club) events. Most nights there’s at least one thing going on, from workshops to guest lectures and film screenings. Guest lectures may sound boring, but the speakers are always distinguished and talk about interesting topics. Give them a try, because you will be pleasantly surprised.
Dalhousie’s student body is a mix of Nova Scotia residents and people from across Canada. Quite a few people come to Dal from Ontario and Alberta. There are also plenty of international students.

Dal has study spots for every mood. There are plenty of group study spaces, as well as individual study spaces of varying noise levels (from coffee-shop chatter to “your breathing noises are causing a ruckus”).
Be sure not to miss the hidden treasures in the Life Sciences Centre (notorious as the most confusing building on campus), where you’ll find touch tanks full of live starfish, hermit crabs, anemones and other ocean life, as well as the Thomas McCulloch Museum, where you can study amongst bird and fossil displays.

Local Vibe
Halifax is big enough to fulfill all your city life needs, but small enough that you can get to know all of its nooks and crannies. Most of downtown is within walking distance or—at worst—a short bus ride from campus. The city has plenty to explore, with beautiful public gardens, multiple museums and lots of stores. Halifax is on a peninsula, so you are surrounded by the ocean, and Maritime spirit runs strong. The nightlife is bumpin’ and full of live music!

The Skinny
Thecoast.ca: A locally produced website that has all of the news and events in the city; @dal_memes on Instagram: these laughs bring all of us together.