Well hello my fabulous readers! Yes, it’s true, I’m sad to say that this is my final year abroad blog! I’m sure you’re all holding back tears right now but don’t worry, we’ll get through this together. To summarise…
Top moments of the last few weeks in Canada:
- Bermuda Shorts Day: This was the most surreal day where the whole uni got up at 6am, wore crazy costumes, had a massive street party (with the police), attended about 3 brunches before noon (the dream), danced on cars, and went crazy at the festival on campus.
- Our ‘June Ball’ equivalent: we all got dressed up, went out to dinner and made lots of comical speeches…
- The Last Supper: everyone emptied out their kitchens and we had a massive meal in the common room- yes there were tears.
These events honestly feel like a billion years ago. Probably isn’t helpful that I put off writing this blog post for 6 weeks…but ah well.
Being back in London for a while now I’ve had some time to reflect on my time in Canada. Instead of writing a long, soppy and unrelatable post about how much this year meant to me, I thought I’d give you all some pearls of wisdom.
So, I’ve decided to finish how I started these blogs: with a good old list – my flatmate Lydia would certainly approve.
Three Life Lessons that I discovered in Canada
- Don’t ‘find yourself’.
Starting with a deep one, sozzles.
I was asked the other day if I got everything I wanted out of my year abroad. This really got me thinking. I had so many expectations and dreams about what Canada would be like that it was hard to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Truthfully, the main reason I wanted to do a year abroad was because I was terrified by the prospect of graduating and having to go out into the world with just a Music degree (yikes!). I hoped that by spending time in Canada studying subjects other than Music, I would find my true passion, decide a clear career path and have my whole future planned out from there.
Unsurprisingly it wasn’t that simple.
My first few weeks in Canada I took up a job at a modelling agency, absolutely loved it and even got offered a job there for after graduation (S/O to NUMA Models, an awesome company that taught me a lot). But, for those of you that know me well, the prospect of me working in fashion and modelling is hilarious and even slightly concerning.
I’ve never been much of a fashion girl and this time last year I barely knew what mascara was, let alone how to use it. But suddenly I found myself in this wonderfully creative atmosphere, with beautiful people (inside and out) who genuinely valued and appreciated the work I was doing for them. This blew me away. I discovered that hobbies and passions change all the time and that it doesn’t matter whether I can’t decide what I want to do at this given moment. I mean who knows, this time next year I may have developed a passion for cake designing or extreme ironing- yes, it’s a thing.
Anyway, my point is that my year abroad has taught me that there is so much this world can offer, and spending only a few months in Canada was just the tip of the iceberg.
So as George Bernard Shaw said, ‘LIFE ISN’T ABOUT FINDING YOURSELF, IT’S ABOUT CREATING YOURSELF’.
2. Appreciate the little things.
I can’t stress this one enough. One of my most vivid Canada memories will always be simply driving through the Rockies, with Ollie and Ashley in the front of the car making inappropriate comments, Ellie trying to organise every detail of the trip (like deciding what she’ll order at a restaurant that we might not even be going to) and Anna eating crisps/falling asleep on my shoulder whilst I attempt to film every single mountain and tree we drive past. It’s these simple moments where nothing particularly spectacular is happening, that are so easy to take for granted. Learning to just take a step back every now and then and be grateful for the little things is super important 🙂
3. Keep the ‘year abroad’ mentality: Let your life become one massive year abroad.
This is a good one.
Consistently throughout our year abroad, my flatmates and I had this ‘why not?’ approach which challenged us to accept new and daunting situations in life. For example, Anna made the first move and asked out an Australian guy and they are now in an official long distance relationship – woo! Go Anna!
Yes, admittedly things didn’t always work out as planned (“I don’t think so”- soz Lyds <3) but they certainly made for entertaining stories and surely that’s the most important thing!
So have courage and don’t overthink everything. Sometimes you’ve just got to go for it! This means don’t become too comfortable in your routine, don’t settle, and don’t ever lose your sense of adventure.
Instead, go out of your way to experience different cultures, or learn more about yours! Talk to random people- you never know what they might be able to teach you. Sing and dance at every given moment (sing and dance even when it’s a completely inappropriate moment!) Document everything through photos and videos because you’re going to want to remember everything, and make the rest of your life as exciting and happy as this…
So to answer that previous question: did I get everything I wanted out of my year abroad?
Yes, I did 🙂
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jonathon and everyone else on the Durham University Year Abroad team who made this year possible and let me write this blog. Obviously a huge thanks to the Canada family for making it so easy to video you all doing stupid things and finally, a thanks to all you fabulous readers. It’s been an absolute pleasure 😉