I have just finished my classes in London and cannot begin to explain how overwhelmed I am by nearing the end of my study abroad. As I write this post, I can’t promise that I’m not crying onto my keyboard. It is hard to accept that the best 3 months of my life are coming to an end… but as they say, as much as they do say it, “When one door closes, another door opens.” In this post, I am going to share a few of my most faourite memories from my study abroad experience, my next chapter, and some of U of T’s options for international experience.
Connecting with old friends and meeting new ones:
- Last semester, I coincidentally made friends with King’s study abroad students at a U of T Frost Week. Since we had our exchanges in commonm we added each-other on Facebook and we were able to spend all of their semester at U of T and my semester in London together. My friends from King’s and I made a trip to Dublin to visit our friend there who is another past U of T exchange student and we can now say that we have been to Ireland, England, and Canada together.
Fresher’s Week and meeting other study abroad students
- I met so many people in Residence, during Fresher’s week (see my “The Fresher’s Week Experience post: http://blogs.studentlife.utoronto.ca/lifeatuoft/2016/10/03/the-freshers-week-experience/), and in exchange mixers. I know that it is going to be sad going home without them, but having friends around the world means that now I have a good reason to always go back to London and visit my friends in their home countries.
Travelling across the UK:
- My favourite weekend was with my close friend and her family in in their home-town of Norwich, where we had a relaxing weekend in the country-side with amazing food, the farmer’s market, and a trip to the North Sea. My friend gave me a tour of the city in Norfolk called Norwich, which has Norman churches and pubs dating back to 1000 AD. Sometimes the most interesting places are the ones off the major grid, that are still full of surprises.
So what’s next for me when I finish my study abroad program? Classes finished last week and I still have 12 days of travel plans ahead! I am very excited to see cities across Europe and spend more time with my friends making new memories. Then, I will be back in London for New Years Eve to see the Fireworks on the Thames River and head back to Toronto a few days later.
The CIE deadline for applying for study abroad ranges from program to program, but most deadlines are in January. I really wish that I could have studied abroad for a whole year, but my programs requirements in the Faculty of Music are very strict and I am very grateful for my registrar and the CIE who worked with me to make my experience possible.
A few other international experiences are the CIE’s summer exchanges and summer research exchange programs that are great experiences for science students. U of T also runs a summer abroad program where students can take a course that is registered as a U of T credit and with a U of T professor and is a great option for students who have less flexibility (check out: http://summerabroad.utoronto.ca). I also follow a lot of travel blogs to learn about travel tips and find inspiration for my adventures. My favourite blog to read is Girl About the Globe (see: http://www.girlabouttheglobe.com/) which provides solo travel guides for women and empowers women to travel the world with safety tips, hostel and hotel recommendations, and itineraries.
Study Abroad has given me so many wonderful opportunities and a life changing experience that I will have for the rest of my life. I’ve made so many friends from around the world, studied in an excellent university with inspiring professors, and travelled across the almost all of the UK and to Ireland. After a few months, I finally feel like I am becoming a Londoner and can truly call it home and I know that when I get back Toronto, thats when the real “homesickness” will actually hit.
See you soon U of T,