By Rachel So (McGill University, Montréal, Canada).
The run up to studying abroad has been both exciting and stressful. There are plenty of things to organise and sort out before leaving. For me, getting rid of my room in Manchester has been extremely difficult. I needed to find someone who would be willing to rent out my room from January onwards but I was not able to find anyone for a long time. But after endless advertising on different websites, I found someone. Another challenge that I’ve faced is registering for classes at McGill. Their registering system is very different to the one in Manchester and it took some time to work it out. I had to change a few of the classes I wanted to take because they were full year classes meaning I couldn’t join in in the second semester. I have realised that studying abroad is a big deal and it requires a lot of time and effort. It’s not a simple task, but I’m sure it will be completely worth it.
There were also a few other practical things I needed to sort out before leaving. Canada is known for being extremely cold and I needed to prepare for the change in climate! I bought plenty of thick jumpers and cosy socks to keep me warm in the sub zero weather. Prior to leaving, I also cancelled my phone contract, exchanged some Canadian dollars, notified my bank I was going abroad and packed my suitcase!
My flight to Montreal is on the 1st of January 2014 making it a new year adventure! My family drove me to the airport and we had a coffee together before I left. I have travelled by myself before, but it feels different this time. Before, I had friends waiting for me on the other side so I knew I would be in safe hands when I arrived. But this time, I feel completely alone. This made me a little anxious but I guess this is all part of the study abroad experience! After the final goodbye hugs, I crossed through security and waited for my flight (which was annoyingly delayed).
My flight was relatively stress free but very tiring. When I touched down in Montreal, I was greeted by snow everywhere! Montreal certainly looks very different to Manchester. It definitely is cold, but it’s actually more manageable than I anticipated. Although, I haven’t been left outside for long periods of time yet so my opinion may change! I took a taxi to the apartment I’m staying at which is right next to the university!
I have an orientation event for new international students tomorrow. I look forward to my first event as a McGill student!