The City of Smiles

by Bo Nicholas, Aarhus Summer University, Denmark

Spending 3 weeks abroad studying in Aarhus, Denmark has been one of the greatest opportunities I’ve ever been given, and I am thankful every day that I took my chance. I have been able to study the subject that I love, while in a beautiful city and experiencing a whole new culture. Being my first time travelling alone, I was very nervous, but now I cannot wait to explore the world more.

During my time studying Translational Psychobiology at Aarhus University, I have gained so much knowledge in a specific area. The course I study in Manchester, Biomedical Science, has a very broad spectrum of content. Having spent three weeks looking at neuroscience, I have developed a wealth of knowledge that many of my peers will not have. I have been able to look in depth at not only the theory but also the important experimental techniques by world-renowned researchers. I have refined my skills in reading and understanding academic papers and giving presentations. I am now considering specialising in neuroscience after my undergraduate studies, and I know that I will have a head-start on others. I also believe my employability has increased, not only because of the things that I have learnt, but because of the confidence studying abroad has given me.

I will not lie; I was absolutely terrified to travel abroad. I had barely travelled before, and never on my own. I was worried about whether I would make friends, how I would travel around, and what I could do. All my worries were for nothing. I have made so many amazing friends while I’ve been here and have done so many things. I’ve eaten so many different types of food, been to so many different museums and beautiful green places. I visited Copenhagen and the beautiful town of Ebeltoft. I have experienced the nightlife, and had cosy days in a bakery, reading my book. It has not always been easy, and I have felt homesick at times, but luckily, I met some beautiful people who have helped me make the most of my time in Aarhus.

Taking the opportunity to travel on my own has taught me that I am capable of so much more than I would have expected of myself. I have become a more confident, social person who is much more open to trying new things that I would have never considered before. While the academic side of studying in Aarhus has been amazing, I really cannot express enough how much I have developed as a person. A year ago, I would have never thought I could travel alone to a foreign country. Now, I am already planning my next trip. I feel more confident in social situations, and I have managed to make friends for life while I have been here – in all honesty, I expected to be quite lonely. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

All in all, my biggest lesson that I have learnt is to be a “yes person”. Say yes to opportunities, yes to making friends, yes to making plans. If I hadn’t said yes, I would be a very different person right now, and all I can say is that I am glad for the change that the opportunity to study abroad has given me.

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