I can’t possibly end this short and terse series of blogs with the words ‘we flew home’. My year abroad has been such a wide and varied experience that it deserves a greater tribute.
I am now back in the United Kingdom after almost an entire year abroad. All of the cliques apply. It seems like yesterday that I was leaving for Canada. I come back slightly wiser and a bit more eccentric. I have made many friends. I have pictures to organise, and life to pick up where I left it.
One thing that I did not so much expect, is that I am far more appreciative of the good parts of my own country. I did not appreciate the convenience and organisation that is the hallmark of English life until I left. Canadian culture is quite European, and I suffered no culture shock or discomfort living in Ontario. However, having an alternative culture to contrast with my own, I am more aware of its strengths. I am finding England more endearing, having been so far removed for a brief time.
Studying abroad has without a doubt been one of the best things I have dome with my time. Organising a life alone in a foreign country in parallel with managing my degree has made me more capable and cope better with stress. When my marks were converted back to the UK grading system, I was awarded an average grade of 80% for the year. I feel more confident than ever before as I return to Durham for my fourth year of study.
One of the downsides to studying abroad was my inability to attend the assessment centres that might have landed me a summer internship. However, within two weeks of my return to England, I have secured work with one of the big four audit firms (KPMG). I am sure this is in part due to a CV bolstered by a year of study abroad. In the past, gaining employment has never been this easy.
I can not recommend the study abroad process enough, and I am very much looking forward to talking with prospective exchange students to help them with their own endeavours. As for me, I now go on to study for my fourth year in Durham. I have already selected my masters project, and am beginning to read into my topic. Pretty soon, I’ll be waking around Durham, calling everyone buddy and accidentally cycling on the wrong side of the road.