A Covid Farewell

By Lauren Howie, the University of Manchester

Like many people on exchange this year, I didn’t get the send off I had anticipated. In our pre-covid fantasies we imagined a month of BBQs on the beach, sunset hikes and cocktails at those bars we just hadn’t got round to visiting yet.

The reality couldn’t have been more different.

How we imagined our send off to look like

PHASE 1: MOVING OUT

To begin with Australia wasn’t too badly affected by the virus. While the UK infection rates were rocketing, Melbourne was yet to record a fatality. But we couldn’t predict what was round the corner and staying in Aus during a pandemic seemed risky, not to forget expensive.

With great hesitation, we ended the lease on our beautiful home and booked a flight back to the UK. Our decision to leave brought about a mad frenzy of selling furniture and rushed goodbyes. It wasn’t till we parted with our last pot plant, that we finally realised our time abroad had come to an end.

Well thats what we thought.

All packed up and ready to go

Only 45 minutes after we had gutted our ENTIRE house we received an email informing us that our flight had been cancelled and that unless we had a spare 10 grand lying around, we weren’t getting another one soon.

We were officially stuck in Melbourne with only Chinese leftovers, a legless table and a new family of mice for company.

Sitting in our empty home eating Chinese leftovers

PHASE 2: STRANDED

With no electricity and a rapidly deteriorating budget, things began to look pretty bleak. I made several attempts to contact the University of Melbourne in hope of securing temporary accommodation. Much to my dismay, our host university took no interest in our plea for help. Running out of options we were unbelievably grateful to receive a message from my Aussie course-mate. Having heard of our distress, she insisted we crashed at hers or at the very least used her wifi while we sought for solutions.

My wonderful coursemate & her dog missy

PHASE 3: LOCKDOWN IN AUS

After a much needed 2 days away from the family of mice, we were ready to launch our covid action plan! We had struck lucky with an incredibly cheap air bnb in the city centre as well as a new flight home in a fortnights time.

Making the most of a ‘bad’ situation we spent the next 2 weeks relaxing in our apartment, playing boardgames, ordering breakfast, holding makeshift spa nights and learning Spanish. Overtime the supermarkets restocked and we found ourselves with a plentiful supply of loo roll and watercolours. Shockingly, lockdown in a swanky inner city apartment wasn’t all that bad!

PHASE 4: TAKE OFF

In the days leading up to our flight we constantly refreshed our inboxes expecting to see a dreaded cancellation email. To our disbelief, no email appeared. In a groundhog day like manner, we repacked, put on our face masks and headed to the airport.

Our airport experience was anything but normal. Firstly, our flight was 25 hours long but we weren’t allowed to leave the plane during our stop over. Instead we waited for 2 hours in the dark while cleaners; dressed as futuristic spacemen, sterilised every surface. Making matters more bizarre, no hot food could be served. With nothing better to do, we spent the last tedious stretch of our journey reminiscing and scoffing our faces with endless supplies of kitkats.

On the 25 hour flight

PHASE 5: REFLECTIONS

So it mightn’t have been the perfect ending to the perfect time abroad.

But I can certainly say that for the amazing people I met, the incredible places I saw and the unforgettable memories I made, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Farewell all, safe travels.

Lauren x

Sad Goodbyes and a New Adventure

In three days time it will be exactly a month since I left the second home I had forged after a Semester in Auckland. I’m currently sat in Cairns (Australia) airport mulling over the last month and the highs and lows that come along with leaving your exchange city.  Continue reading “Sad Goodbyes and a New Adventure”

Exams and Goodbyes

By Chloe Coradetti, Mechanical Engineering, The National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore

Pic Nic
End of Semester/GoodBye Pic Nic outside Vivo City, one of the humongous mall of Singapore. Enjoying the sea view… and the company 🙂

Hellooo Manchester,

First, a little retrospective on my adventure so far which I wrote on my Facebook wall in December 2015:

The first semester is coming to an end,
I’ve been through a great range of difference experiences, beginning by meeting awesome, intellectual, hilarious, enriching people which I went on some adventures with, at boxing classes, skateboarding, partying, laughing, dragon boating, chatting philosophically or politically until 3AM…
Continue reading “Exams and Goodbyes”

Bye, Bye BC!

By Sarah Winspear (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada).

So here goes, my last blog post in Canada and what can I say it’s been amazing! Although for me this is not the end of my time abroad as the adventure will be continuing in the States with a bit of travelling and then working at an American summer camp which I can’t wait for. But it has meant the last few days have been pretty hectic as I only finished my exams yesterday and have a lot of stuff to sort out in the last few days before I can leave for the USA.

Looking back this year has gone exceptionally quickly and I can’t believe it’s just about over. I remember the excitement of first arriving in a new city and meeting my new flatmates and now it’s time to say goodbye. I have become so adapted to the way of life here; going to 8am lectures, grabbing a blue chip cookie or Tim Horton’s coffee to maintain energy and of course going out for cheap sushi often, so now I don’t think it’s really sunk in that I am actually leaving.

Seymour- where I spent my first night in Vancouver
Seymour- where I spent my first night in Vancouver

A few things I am definitely going to miss are the general feel of campus and how beautiful it is, with the ability to walk 10 minutes to the beach to watch the sunset, the convenience of Whistler a mere 2 hours away on the grey hound and of course the people that I have met from around the world.

Wreck Beach Sunset
Wreck Beach Sunset

Some highlights for me have been:
-the diverse range of REC events available (these are recreational one off events that are great fun)
-Whistler
-The Rocky Mountains
-the stunning campus
-being able to go and watch campus sports (which always have a good atmosphere)
-the city in general with an ocean and beaches, mountains and trails and a thriving downtown area all in close proximity
-and so many more that I just can’t write everything down.

Rec events-day of the longboat
Rec events-day of the longboat

Team Regal-Storm the wall
Team Regal-Storm the wall

the Rockies-Moraine Lake
the Rockies-Moraine Lake

Autumn/fall
Autumn/fall

wreck Beach
wreck Beach

Beautiful Campus
Beautiful Campus

Campus
Campus

Beautiful Campus
Beautiful Campus

Nitobe Gardens- on campus and free for students
Nitobe Gardens- on campus and free for students

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City Centre from the revolving restaurant
City Centre from the revolving restaurant

City Lights-Granville Street
City Lights-Granville Street

Finally I don’t really know what else to say other than no matter what you are doing consider study abroad and make the most of it while you’re there I guarantee you will not regret it and will look back and wonder how the previous year past by so fast!!

I hope my blog has shown you a little insight into study abroad and live in Vancouver and that you’ve found it interesting!

Thanks for reading
Sarah 🙂