Compared to a lot of my friends at Mizzou, I was lucky to finish my finals early in my final week. This meant that I had enough time to enjoy my last week in the States. I went out for a final dinner with the girls from my dorm; Texas Roadhouse is a must! This was a really nice way to say goodbye to the people who had looked after me in my dorm and taught me so much about American culture.
By Christevie Ngoma, University of Toronto, Canada
Growing up in London and going to University in Manchester, I honestly thought homesickness was not going to affect me. I spent two years living away from home, and one of them was in a pandemic! So I thought I was an expert on dealing with being distant from family. I thought wrong.
Being a 5 hour drive away from home is one thing, but being an 8 hour plane journey and literally being in a different time zone is another. I did not expect to struggle with missing friends and family to this extent if I am being very honest.
Homesickness looks different for everyone, and can come at different moments. It comes when it’s my friends 21st birthday and everyone is celebrating but I can’t be there. It comes when I see a really good party in Manchester and all my friends have gone without me. It comes when my parents are showing me the new shed that they got in the garden, and I know I can’t see it till summer. Sometimes Homesickness only lasts a day, and then sometimes it can last a week. Particularly for me, I’m not going back home for Christmas, so I know I’m going to feel the brunt of it a lot during this December. At the end of the day, Homesickness is a completely normal feeling when you’re living out the country.
As everyone warned me, the last few weeks of the semester have been jam-packed. In the weeks since Thanksgiving break, I have had lots of assignments and exams to submit, alongside finals week and trying to make the most of my last few weeks in the States.
It’s the end of November and I swear I can already smell the pigs in blankets and mulled wine from across the pond. Like I said in my previous post, I still have an insane amount of work, and it’s very frustrating as everything is always worth 10/15% of your total grade and as such it makes it hard to tell how much work you are supposed to put into it or what the expectations are. However, all my grades have been very good so far, which in a way is frustrating as I never do this well at home, and this is a pass/fail year.
by Olivia Bucherer-Ezer, University of Toronto, Canada
In the flurry of signing onto an exchange year, sorting out accommodation and figuring out how to fit 30kg of stuff you probably don’t need into a 23kg suitcase I almost forgot that I was moving across the pond to attend university, learn and do work.
Once the novelty of new lecturers, peers, new libraries to explore and campus to navigate wore off a little, the reality of attending Canada’s most prestigious university set in.
As someone who is prone to becoming stressed from work, I was surprised that I wasn’t losing my mind over the amount being dished-out. Reminiscing over the glorious panic attacks I used to have at the beginning of first year, merely because I couldn’t workout how to login to my university email or find the link of a reading I really didn’t need to do, actually taught me more than I could have imagined at the time.
Learning to emotionally detach from work when it is a pass/fail year is the best way to get assignments ticked off the list without it impeding on your social life. Not to say, you shouldn’t try, but rather do what needs to be done, and take extra care over the things you enjoy.
As such, the work at the university or Toronto has taught me heaps beyond just what the content consists of. How to manage my time, balance university with socialising and detach from work not worth stressing over have been key to both mental and academic success!
The takeaway of this blog post is not to discard university life, after all that’s the big reason for doing an exchange; to experience a new style of learning. Instead, engaging in work – especially the parts you most enjoy – while understanding your limits ensures you have the energy to enjoy the rest of what a year abroad has to offer.
By Megan Bateman, Indiana University Bloomington, USA
At the current time of writing, I am exactly 2 and a half months into my year abroad in the USA. I can say it has absolutely flown by, which is why I have only just found the time to write my first blog post on Manchester On The Road! Whilst I have already experienced many different things here like my first American football game (separate blog post coming for that!), American culture and nightlife, there have been times when I have found myself really missing Manchester.
We are just about to finish our 9th week of classes at Mizzou, and I’m well and truly into the swing of things now!
Over the last few weeks I’ve had plenty of coursework and some exams to complete. One of my classes has a weekly quiz that I keep on top of, allowing me to revise the topics as I go. Alongside this, I have had an exam in all 3 of my in-person classes. Having not taken closed-book, in-person exams since 2019, I was very nervous for these exams, but it turns out I had no reason to be! All of the teachers at Mizzou are really supportive and happy to answer any questions that you might have, and I really think they helped me do so well in my exams!
by Millie Elwell, University of Maryland – College Park
After 55 days at the University of Maryland (UMD), I can safely say that I have fully immersed myself into American culture… and it has been a wild ride! From finding the best sushi place on campus (‘The Spot’), having offers to join sororities, and hearing the terrible ‘soccer’ heckles that Americans come up with (my favourite so far: “where’s your water bottle?”, which surely cannot be effective…), UMD has been a whirlwind of laughs.
By Christevie Ngoma, University of Toronto, Canada
After crying on the plane about leaving my friends and family, I felt a wave of excitement because I realised after weeks of planning a personal statement to apply for the IPO, months of waiting for an answer. I finally made it to Toronto.
The past 3 weeks have been so busy, who would’ve thought that moving to a new country would be so eventful? This blog has tips on what to do and where in your first month as an exchange student!
By: Eva Kristinova (University of Regina, Canada, Mitacs Research Internship Scheme 21-22)
So there it goes. Just like that it’s time to say goodbye to another wonderful experience, in a wonderful place, having met some wonderful people. Although three months might not seem like such a long time, the sheer immersion of both the every-day and the extraordinary events is enough to produce a tear or two. This is especially the case when, one after the other, all your Mitacs acquaintances, turned good friends, who’s project started before yours, start saying their goodbyes. As I waved to the parting cars and taxis, it all started feeling a bit surreal. In a few days, that will be me in that car.