By Grace Clarke, Psychology, University of Maryland, United States
I want to start by saying that this semester has been a blast! I have met some amazing, crazy and inspiring people, many of whom I know I will be friends with for a very long time to come. I spent ‘turkey day’, which some of my American friends fondly call Thanksgiving, with a few other internationals at my friends’ house, and a whole group of their Russian friends and family. This meant A LOT of food, including some classic Russian dishes, which I was slightly apprehensive to try, but surprisingly liked! (Don’t ask me to name them!) These particular friends live just outside of Baltimore city, so they generously invited us to their house for Thanksgiving, as well as for other weekends. It’s always refreshing to get out of campus every now and then! Their house has started to feel like a second (bigger!) home, and the fact that they have a hot tub kind of helps with that!
I managed to squeeze in a few trips in before wrapping up the semester: a weekend and a day trip to the Big Apple, a weekend away in Philadelphia, and a long weekend in Toronto. I had been to New York a couple of times before, but it was wonderful to revisit, especially with my friends who had never been. Toronto was extremely fun: a great city, particularly at night, and our day trip to see Niagara Falls was awesome. I am also conveniently a 20-minute metro ride away from Washington D.C., so it’s sometimes fun to go and walk around the city, do some shopping, and see some historical monuments. I won’t bore you with talking about all the typical touristy moments from these trips, but what I will say is that if you have the opportunity to, always take the chance and be a ‘yes man’ when any of your friends suggest going on trips during your time abroad – you won’t regret it!
Overall, I wouldn’t change anything I have done this semester. The time abroad goes so quickly, so it is easy to have regrets about not going to certain places, or doing various things, but my time here so far has been a great learning experience and I have been lucky to do the things I have done, and meet the friends that I have. I am excited to see what next semester holds!