What I wish I knew before my year abroad 

by Jasmine Angus, University of Bergen, Norway

Looking back after the most fantastic year I thought I would write a cheat sheet of things I wish I knew before my year abroad. Some of it will be generic and others will be specific to Bergen, but I hope it helps anyway!

Continue reading “What I wish I knew before my year abroad “

Back to reality and off to Singapore!

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

Here I am, realizing that it is real, it is happening… I am going to study abroad for an entire year at the National University of Singapore!!  YEEEEESSS!
My excitement is hardly containable, I keep telling everyone, with a big smile on my face “I’m going on an adventuuuuuure!”

Continue reading “Back to reality and off to Singapore!”

Cha Gheill!

By Ros Harwood (Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada)

I literally can’t believe I am writing this post, where has the time gone?! The year abroad has flown by and I am unbelievably sad to have to leave this place. I am really looking forward to travelling and going home; it’s been a while since I’ve been there, but I have made some amazing memories at this fantastic university. Despite the long, hard Canadian winter, the hardest thing right now is that we are finally rewarded with beautiful sunshine, blue skies and a lot of positive temperatures which makes Kingston an absolutely stunning place to be. Being on one of the Great Lakes, many trips to the lakeside and the pier just to bask in the sunshine, drink smoothies and just be outside have happened.

I luckily finished my exams and assignments within four days of the exam period starting and have had one week to pack up, enjoy the weather, see all my friends, say goodbyes and just enjoy being in Kingston. The one thing I have come to realise is that I am so glad I went to a city that is not usually part of the big touristy list of Canada. If I had been studying in Toronto or Montreal, I probably would not have visited a place like Kingston. However, it is a little gem that should be discovered, as well as being incredibly student friendly and a great place to ‘experience’ Canada. It was the first capital of Canada so it’s a cool place to have visited.

For anyone considering a year abroad or even coming to Queen’s, you are incredibly lucky. The community at Queen’s is so welcoming, Canadians are lovely people and it is a fantastic and diverse country. The opportunities and experiences I have had at Queen’s have been great, the friends I have made (international and Canadian) have been great and it is a great university. The campus is beautiful, it’s a fantastic location for visiting Canada and there’s nothing I can fault really. Queen’s was originally my third choice of university to study abroad at, but if I applied again it would definitely be my first!! I am so sad to leave, but am so motivated to return and visit and relive the memories I have made this year. I would continue showering compliments on Queen’s and Kingston, but I think you get the idea. You will have the best time of your life in snow and sunshine, just go for it. Outside of Canada, Queen’s does not get the praise it deserves, and I promise anyone they will have a great time!

I’ll leave you with my Queen’s and Kingston photoshoot. I would not have changed this at all and am so glad I got this experience. As a Queen’s student would say, (from the Scottish roots)… “Cha Gheill!” (literal translation = No surrender!).

11064609_10152948426793425_3234513691007927837_o 11103265_10152948426468425_364148812888866609_o 11139451_10152948435423425_4736025415759318589_n 11149685_10152948412868425_3668176865289511259_o 11174882_10152948435473425_5941579961713976081_n

Preparing to leave for UBC…

By Sophie Black (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada).

Since my final second year exam, time has absolutely flown by. With so many warnings about the expense of studying abroad, I have spent much of my time working to earn as much money as possible. Usually I’m pretty organised, yet with only a few days to go, I seem to have an ever-growing list of things to do!

Keep in Contact

I’m not ashamed to admit I am a homebird, hence the thought of spending so much time away from home is pretty scary. I do have a few relatives in Vancouver who I have been in contact with over the past few months who assure me there will be home-cooked meals on offer (phew!). I would definitely recommend getting in touch with any relatives or contacts in the area before you leave, just to gain some much needed reassurance and support!


Tips for packing your life into two (pretty small) suitcases

  1. I started a packing list two weeks prior to departure, and referred back to it when additions needed to be made. If begun early enough, its definitely a great way to be sure you are taking everything you need. I have only two suitcases to pack all of my belongings in – a significant challenge!
  2. Roll your clothes instead of folding. In my experience, you fit so much more in! Leave thicker jumpers for the top, and pack everything in really tightly.
  3. Write your name/address/flight number on an A4 page and place it on the top of everything inside your case. It just gives you a little more comfort in knowing if it gets lost it will eventually find its way back to you.
  4. Bed covers…pillows….duvets….don’t bother trying to fit them in – too bulky. Far easier to just hunt down some inexpensive ones when you arrive!
  5. Don’t forget to include a few photos and things to put up onto your walls, just to make your room feel a bit more homely when you arrive!

Suitcase, please don’t get lost!


I have opted for a Travelex ‘cash passport‘ to take with me, as it seemed like the easiest and quickest option. You can order it all online, the terms and conditions/charges are really clear, plus it’s simply a relief to know I’m going out to Canada with it all already sorted. The only catch is the conversion rate they set themselves, yet for the sake of saving any hassle once arriving in Canada and having to organise transferring money over to a bank account, I thought it was worth the £50 or so I lost. I’ve also exchanged some sterling to Canadian dollars to take some out with me so taxi’s from the airport and initial expenses can be paid for. I shall report back in later posts on how successful the above were!

Only a few days to go now, doesn’t quite feel real yet…

Thanks for reading,

Sophie 🙂

Canada here I come…

By Lisa Scott (Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada).

Visa… Check

Accommodation booked…..Check

Flights booked…….Check

A fully prepared exchange student….Pending

Preparing to set off on a once in a lifetime opportunity to a new country can not only be very exciting but also very scary. As my departure date draws closer, I have started to say my goodbyes and suddenly feel emotional at the fact that it may be a year before I see most of these people again. However, the one thing that makes saying goodbye easier is that everyone is excited for me… probably more so than I am myself.

Whilst I’m sitting here writing this blog, a small pile of clothes (about ten tops) is sitting on my bedroom floor ready to be packed into my suitcase (I’ve bought one of those worlds lightest suitcases), so as far as my packing goes I am fairly disorganised. However, I feel the rest of my preparations for my exchange to Canada have gone well and I should, ‘fingers crossed’, have a hassle free transition to my new University. I have cancelled my phone contract and unlocked my phone, ordered my Canadian dollars and a Travelex cash card (I’ve heard they are great for travelling), ordered photo prints to decorate my bedroom with and also booked accommodation, so all in all, I’ve done a lot.

So, watch this space and hopefully next time you hear from me I will have some exciting stories to tell you about my journey and transition to Queens University, Canada.