Reflections on a Year of Studying Abroad

My exchange is finally coming to an end: I had the final class of my exchange on Wednesday, and this is my final blog post! It seems bizarre that things are wrapping up already. And while I’m happy to be done with schoolwork, my feelings about being done with my exchange are much more mixed (and by mixed, I mean SAD).

When Things Don’t Go as Planned

Going on exchange involves a lot of planning. You plan where you’re going to live, what classes you’re going to take, what flights you’re going to book to get there. Subconsciously, you also make other, less concrete plans about things like the friends you’ll make, the trips you’re going to take, all the cool new experiences you’ll have.

You guys can probably already see where this is going, right? You arrive on you’re meticulously planned exchange, ready to put those plans in action, and then….all of those plans fly out the window.

A Much Needed Change of Scenery

I know it sounds cliché, but time really is flying by. I don’t really know how March managed to arrive so quickly, but I do know that when I realized the semester was more than half way done, a little bit of panic set in for me. My exchange is almost over and it seems like I haven’t managed to do half of the things I wanted to do. Getting caught up in school and everyday life meant that I’d forgotten that part of the point of an exchange is to do fun, exciting things.

FOMO Revisited

Last weekend, I took a trip to St Andrews, a little town about an hour away from Edinburgh. I didn’t know much about the town, except that it’s the home of the University of St. Andrews, a school that sometimes gets mentioned in the same breath as schools like Oxford and Cambridge as one of the best (and most posh! ) schools in the UK. It’s also famous for being the meeting place of Kate Middleton and Prince William, so there’s that.

Social Media’s Double Edged Sword

I know I’m stating the obvious here, but social media has become an enormous part of our lives. It’s hard to imagine the days when we didn’t have a million apps to share our photos and thoughts and connect with our friends on. For me, going on exchange has made it even harder to imagine a social media-free life. I never used to use social media on my phone, but now my phone (and all of my precious social media apps!) are almost permanently glued to my hand. I’m becoming a serious addict! What’s going on??

Winter Blues

This is the time of year when I start to feel a little bit blue. In Toronto, I think it’s because this is the time when winter seems like it will never end, like I’ll be cold forever and the days will never get any longer. I know everyone hates winter, but I really hate it. So I thought living in Scotland this year would be a nice break from the winter blues.

The “Study” Part of Studying Abroad

Last week, I wrote about things to think about when you’re choosing the courses you’re going to take when you’re on exchange. I thought I’d continue on the academics theme this week by writing about what it’s like to actually take those classes. I’m talking going to lectures and tutorials, doing readings, writing assignments, taking exams – all the stuff you would rather not think about when you’re imagining your exchange experience.