By Giulietta Grassi (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
A year later, and I am back to Manchester, where the Vancouver dream began…
It all feels surreal, I’ve been back in Manchester for a month now and I can’t believe that study abroad is over. As crazy as it sounds, I am definitely grieving… I feel like i’ve just gone through a horrible break up.. sad but true. Its been a hard and weird adjustment, but I think I am finally settling back into life in Manchester. Being reunited with my friends has been amazing and the heavy load of work is definitely helping me settle (as geeky as it sounds) as its makes me focus on something other than daydreaming about Vancouver.
My dissertation is the main thing thats begun this first month back, constant thinking and researching on what I want to spend the year studying, and it’s Vancouver that has helped me find what i’m interested in. My Gender Race and Social Justice course on African-American women in the Americas (and having the most amazing professor teach me this), has lead me to study race and inequality for my dissertation. I feel inspired by my year abroad, the people i’ve encountered and the things i’ve learnt, and feel extremely passionate to start my research.
Although the reality of returning back to Manchester and my year abroad ending has been a struggle, I wouldn’t change it for the world. As every pain of grievance for Vancity I would do 100 times over just to have experienced my year abroad.
Since returning this quote has never felt so accurate to me:
“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” (Jonah Lehrer, 2009) This is study abroad. It molds you into the person you want to be, helps you discover what you love, leads you to the most amazing adventures and leaves you with the greatest friends you could ask for. As cheesy as it sounds: it has been the best year of my life and the best decision anyone could make… study abroad!
Over and out,
Ps. You’ll be teased about study abroad references forever.. but its worth it… my “in Canada”s and “but in Vancouver”s have lead to a month full of the my friends teasing me with the “did you study abroad in Vancouver?” joke.. forever proud muahaha