Over my year I tried to film one second of every day – I started in about my second week, some days I forgot, some days I took more than one video and some days I took a video of more than one second. But the point still stands, that I’ve managed to compress 9 months of exploring Canada and America into nearly 6 minutes.
My final few pieces of advice for someone going on or thinking about going on a year abroad are:
- You don’t have to say yes to everything… but say yes to a lot! Try to do things that are out of your comfort zone or things that you wouldn’t normally do or wouldn’t be able to do back home. Some of my favourite moments were times when I was apprehensive about saying yes, but did and it turned out amazing. That being said, I also didn’t do things, regretted it sometimes, but definitely it was the right thing for me personally
- Try to travel as much as you can! It’s expensive to travel Canada, but if you plan in advance and look at lots of different ways of transport it can be brought back within budget, and it’s definitely worth it
- Start exploring from the get go! Yes, you do need time to settle in, but if you start doing stuff as soon as you can you get to meet people early on, and, trust me, the warm weather won’t last long and it’s much harder to explore in the winter (which is most of the 9 months…).
- Take everything you’ve read about a year abroad at face value! One of my biggest mistakes was expecting this year would be only positive and I’d make best friends within hours and spend the rest of my year with them. In reality my first semester was pretty tough, I had some days where I stayed in my room all day and a couple of times when I wanted to come home. A year abroad is still university, you’ll still have the study pressure, but on top of that you’re 4189 (or so) miles away from home, friends and family, and you’re probably going to feel a bit overwhelmed. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was accepting and understanding this, and that there wasn’t something wrong with me or with what I was doing – everyone else was going through the same thing, just not visually or verbally
Even though I had some hard times, Calgary has honestly been some of the best experiences of my life, I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to go and I’d totally recommend a year abroad to anyone 🇨🇦