By Emily Privett, Queen’s University, Canada, Geography.
I’ve said this a lot, and it may just be the time of life that students find themselves in but wow does time fly! The new ‘On this day’ feature on Facebook reminds me that it really has been a whole year since I was almost half way through my year abroad and I somehow can’t wrap my head around that.
Now, I’m well and truly back in Manchester, back into the swing of lectures, readings, essays, and of course, the dissertation research.
Before I admitted the reality of coming back to England, I travelled to Vancouver, Vernon, Jasper and Banff with a mixture of friends, and my dad! Highlights of my three weeks include the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, spring skiing in Whistler and Sunshine Village in Banff, and the incredible view from the top of the skytram at Jasper. My favourite part of travelling with friends was that they were Canadian, and as I went to visit their hometown they knew the area. They could take me around and I got a much more ‘local’ feel about the area. It was also a lot less stressful on the planning side as I stayed at their own home and they knew their way around!
The summer after I came home from my escapades seemed rather slow compared to the previous month and a half of travelling. Having said this, it was so lovely to see my friends from home and spend quality time with my family. Also to be able to work again and make some money after I spent a fair bit of it while abroad!
Fast forward to September and I was ready to get back to University again, mainly because I hadn’t seen many of my friends from University since June 2015. Also, all my housemates had been on a year abroad and so it was so exciting to hear about their experiences and how much we all loved our respective years.
The main struggle I have had is with how busy Manchester is. Queen’s University in Kingston was a smaller university, in a small town and so, although there were crowds, it was nothing like you get walking down Market Street on a Saturday afternoon. My year abroad has definitely taught me that a huge city probably isn’t where I want to live after University!
If you’re still unsure about whether to take the plunge, move to another country and set up your life there for a year, I would urge you to do it. Two years ago, if you told me that I would be sitting here now, reminiscing on the amazing experiences I had when I moved away to a country thousands of miles from home, I would not have believed you. But it is honestly not as scary as it sounds, and Queen’s University especially is amazing at helping exchange students settle in as quickly as possible. Obviously, I can’t compare universities as I only went to Queen’s but I loved it more than I ever thought I’d love a university, and cannot thank Study Abroad enough for making it happen.
I would urge you to think about studying abroad, even if you haven’t already. It’s scary, exciting, allows you to experience now things, helps you meet people from across the world and grows you as a person, in confidence and knowledge.