My 3 Greatest Lesson(s) from Studying Abroad (Final Reflection)

Finally, my last day in Maryland has passed. It was pretty sad to see Maryland and not knowing when will be the next time I’m going to see it again – McKeldin library where I spent days revising for exam and doing my assignments, the stadium where we cheered for Maryland and getting super excited when we smashed Purdue on a football game, seeing Stamp building for the last time where so many memories were made…. Time flies too fast.

It wasn’t an easy semester at all. There were so many times I wished I didn’t even bother to go study abroad, but now I’m happy I persevered through (that’s for another blog post that’s coming soon!). And for sure, there were so many lessons that I learned through studying abroad. Here I’ll talk about my 3 greatest lessons that I learned in Maryland.

Continue reading “My 3 Greatest Lesson(s) from Studying Abroad (Final Reflection)”

Final Reflections

By Grace Clarke (Psychology, University of Maryland, United States)

As I come to the end of my time in Maryland, I can safely say that I can look back on my year with such fond memories and with a huge smile. Despite the natural ups and downs of the year, I am extremely sad to be saying goodbye to my friends and the place that I have been fortunate enough to call home for the past 9 months. Continue reading “Final Reflections”

The Difference Between Semesters

By Grace Clarke (Psychology, University of Maryland, United States)

After travelling the States for a month over winter break, and saying goodbye to a good portion of my friendship group (who were only here a semester), I have to say I was slightly apprehensive about my second semester at Maryland. Continue reading “The Difference Between Semesters”

Wrapping Up the First Semester: My Highlights

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. Continue reading “Wrapping Up the First Semester: My Highlights”

Five Pieces of Advice for Future Students

By Grace Clarke, Psychology, University of Maryland, United States

I am going to keep my next couple of blogs fairly short, and as useful as I can to those of you who are thinking about applying to study abroad, or to those who have already applied and are waiting to hear about whether they are going (good luck!!). Continue reading “Five Pieces of Advice for Future Students”

My First Few Weeks in Maryland

Grace Clarke (University of Maryland – College Park, U.S.A)

My first night spent in the US was pretty luxurious. I had a hotel room to myself, ordered room service, and slept in a king sized bed. Then after arriving on campus, having to drag my overweight suitcases to my hall and up the stairs to my dorm, I was swiftly brought back down to reality. To add to this, the temperature was uncomfortably in the thirties, and the humidity was unbearable. Continue reading “My First Few Weeks in Maryland”

Pre-Departure – Looking Back

Grace Clarke (University of Maryland – College Park, U.S.A)

So after months of preparation and piles of paperwork, the countdown to leaving quickly went from weeks to days, and before I knew it, I was leaving my house for Manchester airport. Continue reading “Pre-Departure – Looking Back”

My Experience Studying Abroad – A Year On

By Madeleine Taylor (University of Maryland, College Park, USA)

I honestly cannot believe that it has been almost a year since I left Maryland and College Park. My time studying abroad sometimes feels like it was all a dream, and when it doesn’t it certainly feels a lot more fleeting than it actually was. When I think about it in relation to my whole three years at Manchester, the six months I spent abroad seem like a minuscule slice of time. But somehow those six months have managed to represent some of the most prominent and enjoyable of my time at university.

At first settling back into Manchester was a little difficult, not only in terms of academics, but also in terms of simple things like remembering the bus numbers I could use (which was especially challenging as a new route had been added to the Magic Buses, which I soon found out the hard way). But after a few weeks everything returned to normal, which kind of scared me. With each passing day my experience abroad and the things it has impressed upon me seemed to be fading as Manchester became normal and familiar again. But of course nothing had faded, it had just fallen into the background as I returned to a previous norm. I find myself impacted by my experiences abroad almost every day whether that is chatting with my long-distance friends or having a different perspective on US news. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to play into the cliché of ‘it has fundamentally altered my world and changed me as a person’, but my time abroad has definitely had a positive impact on my everyday life and aspects of myself. For example, before I went abroad I was quite shy and not very confident within myself. While these two traits didn’t disappear completely, whilst abroad I definitely learnt to overcome some of the barriers of my shyness and am a much better person for it.

And now here I am, mere weeks away from graduating for good (gulp) and I couldn’t be more delighted about the choice I made to study abroad. I’ll be seeing my old roommate this summer (I am so excited), and two of my classmates are coming to visit so that I can return the favour and take them on a European adventure.

All the best to anyone embarking on study abroad in the future,

Maddy

Pre departure thoughts for UMD

By Gavin Dunn (University of Maryland, College Park, USA)

Well, it’s a few days before I start my trip to the University of Maryland, College Park, and to be honest, it hasn’t hit me yet. I’m definitely nervous, but being back in Manchester to finish work has really got me thinking I’m going to be starting my second semester here. Generally, most of my ‘to-dos’ on my to-do list have been crossed off, but I still feel so under prepared. With alternative assessments taking up the majority of my time over Christmas, there hasn’t been much time for anything else!

Overall, this exchange has been around a year of organising. Applying to the International Programmes Office in Manchester, being accepted. Applying to the University of Maryland, being accepted. Applying for an American visa, being accepted. A lot of paperwork, a lot of time, but finally I am now preparing to go. My thoughts are now on how I’m going to cope with America East Coast winters. With temperatures going into the minuses I think I’m going to need some boots, a big jacket and obviously the trusty Manchester University bobble hat we’ve been given.

I guess I’m nervous about a few things. Being away from my friends and family for the longest time in my life. Moving to a country that I’ve only visited once before. Sharing a room with someone I haven’t met. However, this is an opportunity that I won’t ever get again. I am excited to actually visit the country I am doing my degree on, but I think there will be a culture shock. I’m definitely going to have to get used to their slang like pants being trousers, biscuits being something completely different, even the spelling. But these things will come in time, I’m just going to have to go out there and do it!

The next time you hear from me I’ll be in the big U.S of A!

Final Reflections on Maryland

By Maddy Taylor (University of Maryland, USA)

Leaving The University of Maryland was really hard. I knew it would be difficult to leave new friends behind and to let go of the travelling bug I’d caught during my time abroad. But what I didn’t expect was to find it so difficult to understand leaving. It felt almost as if I had started over and built a new university experience because everything was so different and exciting. So when it came to the end it was hard to comprehend the fleeting nature of my time abroad, and to let go of everything I had enjoyed so much. I’m the type of person that loves change – I moved around a lot as a child, was constantly switching schools, joining new clubs and fitting into now spaces. I took on Maryland just as I took on any new change, but this was one of the hardest places to leave behind. You feel special when you’re abroad; everything is exciting and everyone is excited with you. You learn to act within and relish in a new framework. I loved all of my classes, I loved the campus, I loved the friendships I made, I loved the atmosphere. So leaving was a hard pill to swallow.

The main difference I think I appreciated the most between Manchester and Maryland was the exuberance of the Maryland students and the amount of school spirit every student had woven through them. It was so fun to be in an environment so excited about the school and so passionate about its success. It was great to watch sports games that would end up on television and wear fun Terp merchandise around campus. The school spirit made everyone seem part of one big community and it was cool to feel a part of something so vast.

The classes were great, my teachers were engaging and interested in my success. The teaching style was very different from the UK, and I found that the lecturers were mostly focused on student progression and seeing them grow throughout the course – and they were allowed to do so within the system of constant assessment. Yes, I resented this at first. Yes, I was disheartened by lower grades at the beginning of the semester. But by the end of the semester I really came to appreciate how much it helped me academically.

I think I’ve gushed about my friends enough in my previous blogs, but of course they were integral to my time in Maryland and they are all very special to me. So thanks guys.

All in all I cannot imagine having a better experience abroad. I wouldn’t change a thing about it and I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to study abroad and run with it, because it’s an experience you’re unlikely to be offered again. I had an incredible time abroad that I won’t ever want to forget.

Maryland, I’ll be back!