By Joseph McCabe
No, this is not a post about a possible afterlife. Instead, it is about the life after a year abroad and, as I approach the end of an incredible year in Toronto, how I am thinking about what happens after.
This is a difficult time for me and all those who went on year abroad in any year because you find yourself being plucked out of a life you have built in your host city just as suddenly as you were dropped into it. For many, this can make the whole year seem like a fever dream that undermines everything they did or felt whilst abroad. This mindset can be hard to escape at times because of the detachment that a life in another country or even continent can be from our lives in Manchester. None of our friends that we have made know those from back in the UK, the connections we made over the year seem so distant and far from us no, and there are not many people who you can now talk about your shared memories so the year can become a blur that is lost in the fog of memory.
At times I have felt myself thinking this way and questioning whether anything I did over my year abroad will have any lasting impact or whether the friends I made will ever be in my life again. This can be a depressing thought and one that I am sure crosses the minds of most people returning from a year abroad. However, when I find myself thinking in this way, I remind myself of some of the things I have learnt from my year abroad.
The main lesson is that the cliché that the world is a small place really is true and that it is now so easy to travel across the globe. If the friendship and people that you met on your year abroad are worth hanging on to then it just requires a little effort to keep in touch and travel to see each other. The cost of flights can be high but splitting distances can cut costs for everyone – consider holidaying between the Manchester and their home.
Goodbyes are always sad, and everyone’s study abroad is different but the experience that is gained from them will always remain and impact our future mindsets. It helps me to think about how this year has changed me in ways I cannot quantify and, by extension, my future. A future that may, one day, lead me back to those people and those experiences I had on my year abroad.
The life after a year abroad may make it seem like a hazy dream, but I will always remind myself that the experience that I gained on my year abroad will stay with me forever and the people I met along the way are only a plane ride away.