It’s official, it’s been one year since I flew to Canada! One year on, and who would’ve thought that the things that scared me about a year abroad (e.g. not finding friends, being VERY far away from home, and travelling alone) no longer faze me! There have been positives and negatives about being abroad, and I feel that sharing them will give quite an honest insight into what to expect when abroad.
Why I loved being abroad
- Being approximately 5000 miles away from home meant that I met a range of people from diverse backgrounds, as well as learn about their cultures. Swansea may be diverse, but I can promise you that I hadn’t ever met indigenous peoples until going to Canada!
- The west coast of Canada was beautiful! There were heaps of mountains, beaches and nature trails, and the climate ensured that most days were nice enough to enjoy that nature.
- When you are abroad, your main priority is to enjoy yourself and experience new things. Being abroad meant that I did a lot of things I would have never done otherwise, and it was well worth it.
- My university (University of Victoria) gave a lot of options for subjects, most of which I couldn’t do in Swansea. My only (slight) regret is that I didn’t do more interesting modules!
Potential downfalls of being abroad
- Travelling around and enjoying yourself costs so much money – and unfortunately, it was money I didn’t have. Although Student Finance are slightly kinder to study abroad students, it still leaves you scraping coppers at the end of the semester.
- This sounds obvious, but being abroad without your loved ones can be quite isolating. Of course, you’ll find friends while over there, but sometimes nothing beats spending time with your Swansea pals, or coming home for the holidays. However, that’s why phone calls, texting and Skype exists!
- Linking back to my first point of not having much money, sometimes earning money via working isn’t feasible in the country you’re studying in. In Canada, I wasn’t allowed to work, not even on campus due to a lack of social security number. Sometimes you can be lucky and be allowed a few hours per week, but it depends on a range of factors.
However, saying all that, I wouldn’t ever sway anybody from going abroad to study, as I think it’s a great opportunity! I know it’s an experience I will remember forever, and the people I’ve met will stay with me too.
Saying that though, I’m SO excited for my final year at Swansea! Nothing will ever beat being at home.
If you’re interested in spending time abroad while at Swansea, check out the global opportunities available: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/international/opportunities/colleges/collegeofhumanandhealthsciences/
Until next time.x