Study Abroad year, worth it or not??

Timg_0354hinking about doing a Study Abroad year?

I would 100% recommend anyone else to go for it. Obviously it depends on your situation. But if you have the option to go, have some money, get designated to a place you would not regret living in for a year, or have even slightly considered it then definitely.

Before university/up until a week before the Study Abroad deadline, I thought I wanted to do my degree, do a year in industry placement, finish and find a job and then settle into a comfortable life going through the motions… Then after loads of rejections from job applications, of not being able to get through the online assessments, or not even hearing back from anyone, I thought ‘hey why not apply for study abroad and see what happens’… I have always wanted to travel America, and always joked about moving there and what I would be like if I grew up there, etc. so why not apply!11954595_10205987483741123_1831565071672640955_n I had a week to sort out the paperwork to apply, and decide where my top 5 choices were to be, and then last minute I sent it off, and had to wait until Christmas time before I would hear back.

I was at home and found out that I had been placed at CSUMB in Monterey, California. YES California.. Perfect. Who would possibly in their right minds choose to now carry on hunting for jobs for a year in industry when I can go to California for the year which is literally a dream location. So that was me sold… No more job applications for now.

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What are the downsides?

Yes, maybe I am now missing the lifestyle I had last year, and perhaps I am slightly sidetracked by these thoughts in my final year of university. Perhaps my focus is not solely on my studies right now, however in my second year I needed a break, I was stressed with all the work and I wanted a year out no matter what. So maybe if I had carried on into my third year who is to say that I might have been even more demotivated then after my year abroad. You can never tell, and my attitude right now is to go with the flow, take life as it comes, and don’t worry about the past or the future, just figure out what you need to do right now.

Again, depending on the person, and what situation you are in, some people do not enjoy their study abroad years because they haven’t met a decent group of friends, or maybe are concentrating too much at the fact they miss their home comforts and family instead of enjoying and making the most of the opportunity they have got to explore new places, or maybe they have a huge culture shock and do not realise the location that they have arrived at is very different to back home. But please bare in mind, that at the majority of locations you will be in the same boat as a lot of other international students and this is often who you will hang about with (for the start anyway). These are the people that are extra excited to be in a new place, will get thrilled about a simple thing like getting on the bus and going into the nearest town centre, because it’s new and exciting, and these are the people who will want to travel. Also, it is often very easy to make new friends in these environments.

What are the upsides?

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Maybe I should have started with this one, but it is obvious if you have ever met anyone who has done a study abroad year, or followed someone who travels on instagram etc. you know that everyone looks like they are having the time of their lives. (But do not go by social medias unrealistic representation of peoples lives, I just meant look at the cool views you might be able to see).

I had the best year of a my life. (If you look at any of my other posts, and some future ones to come you will see I did a lot of travelling and spent a lot of time exploring as my college work was very easy and chill). I met so many amazing people that I keep in touch with, and now have contacts around the world that if I ever fancied going to Spain, Argentina, South Korea, etc etc. I will have someone who will happily show me around. Which is fabulous.
12670062_10205616140030820_291270812364576777_nIt has also opened my eyes a lot, I have a different outlook on life, it helped me to grow as a person and become more confident by being in new situations and places that I hadn’t been in before, without relying on parents or friends to do anything for me or guide me. I now want to travel some more and see what else the world has to offer, and find the best place for me to live that would suit me! It opens so many options, and ideas that are amazing!

The best thing to do is to get involved! No matter where you are, there are always events and clubs and things you can join to try new things and get to know more people. I went to a lot of give 12705427_10205616137150748_459010911943565851_nit a go type events, like taking part in a mountain bike ride, trying out sailing, but then I joined the Lacrosse team, which was another way of meeting new people. I felt part of a team and a family, and they were all amazing people, and I learnt a new sport and skill!

Or you could even try out new classes that you have never even considered taking before or even knew they were a thing! Take for instance my scuba diving classes! After practising in the pool and we were confident we knew the skills and required safety procedures we went into the sea every week. Doing amazing ocean dives, exploring the Monterey Bay kelp forests which I must add was breathtaking (and not just because I was underwater)!13233090_10209706026756819_6274233420959889776_n
So, all in all, I would personally recommend a study abroad year, as for everyone it means something different and you can learn and take away from it how much or how little you want. Good luck with your choices!

 

If you ever want to ask me specific questions about doing a study abroad year, or year in america, or anything in general just drop me a comment or a message!

Why do Americans think British people come from space?

I lived in a flat (or dorm/room to some of you) with all Americans. For about a month they would go along with conversations where I had confused them by saying a certain phrase or word. Instead of asking at the time, I think they did not want to admit they had no idea what I was talking about, and it would come up in later conversations. Simple things like saying a ‘car park’ instead of a parking lot, which apparently would set off their imaginations of a car going to the park to go down a slide or play on a swing (yes that was said to me).

Before going to America I never realised how much slang British people used that was unheard of by Americans. One main thing being how we tell the time, quarter past, half past, 20 to, etc. was just a really foreign concept to my friends and they could not get their heads around it at all. It is evident that whilst us Brits grow up immersed in American culture whether it be by TV, movies, music, celeb gossip, all of these things that are part of our every day life as we cannot escape it, the Americans do not get the equivalent about us. Many Americans association with England is simply limited to Mary Poppins, Oliver Twist and/or Harry Potter. Which is crazy when you think about it.

My most fond part of being in America was that everyone recognised that I had a British accent, and they loved it. For a whole 11 months, of living and travelling in America I did not get bored of people noticing my accent, as it was a great conversation starter. Also, the fact that I have a really common accent back home, but in America to them I sounded like I spoke Queens English.

Since there were so many things that some Americans were unfamiliar with about England I would get asked very bizzare but simple questions… My favourite being from Kaitlyn, who I shared a room with, asking ‘Do you guys have cars in England?’ with my response being ‘Yes, we aren’t all aliens you know…’ (or something along those lines). It was so amusing the things I got asked about my every day life, that she just literally had no idea if we did everything different or not because of how little interaction America gets with our culture.

Of course, this is a big generalisation, and of course it is different for everyone, but again literally noone knew what I was saying for a month. Californians also talk very slow compared to us, and I definitely ended up talking slower as a result (thanks guys).

The main people who understood the struggles of being a British person in America were those who had British family or friends or had actually visited on holiday. The fact that the chocolate should not be allowed to be called chocolate (especially Hershey’s version of Dairy Milk which is a crime), asking for chips and receiving crisps, craving proper fish and chips, wanting a roast dinner with yorkshire puddings and gravy, or just gravy for that matter. Also, the fact that blackcurrant is not a ‘thing’ at all in America (this is due to the fact it was apparently a very invasive plant and when brought over it took over the crops and so was banned from America years ago), but my friends would look at me like I was crazy when I asked them about blackcurrant juice, and fruity ciders.

So, are you an American that has read this wondering what the hell I am ranting on about, or has this made you realise you are one of the (lucky) ones who actually knows more about England than you even realised??

What are your most memorable misunderstandings?!

 

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My Study Abroad Year Ruined Me

Honestly, despite the fact that it was my best year ever, it was also my worst…

Trying to capture the memories
Let me explain. So for my study abroad year (which if you are wondering, is a pass/fail year that is taken in the third year of university before returning to finish the final year) I studied at CSUMB in Monterey, California. I met so many wonderful people, I explored so many exciting and stunning places, did so much that was new and thrilling and then I returned to a rainy miserable Leeds, UK. I am now finishing my final year, just willing the year away so I can have done with being stuck inside doing work and have some freedom again.

Last year I explored Monterey, Carmel and the surrounding area; camped and hike in Big Sur; went to San Francisco; road tripped up to Oregon; went to LA for thanksgiving; lived in Santa Cruz for a month over Christmas; went to Lake Tahoe skiing for my birthday; road tripped up to Canada and back stopping at Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and back; went to Vegas for a long weekend; went to Hawaii for spring break; road tripped down to Santa Barbara; and then I travelled from West Coast to East Coast for a month by train, plane, and bus all before returning home after 11 months of being in America.

So, maybe you can understand why I am now back in my second semester in my final year and slightly resenting the fact I cannot just step outside and there is sunshine, I cannot just walk for 10 minutes and come to a beach where I can watch wild dolphins and whales from the shore.

One thing that my study abroad year did make me realise was how much I love the outdoors, how much I love to explore and find new beautiful places. This came back to England with me, I have realised that I do live in a beautiful area, and there is much more to Leeds/the North of England than just staying in the city. Wherever I am, I notice a lot more and appreciate a lot more. I also met so many people from different countries and was exposed to so many cultures, and now I feel like wherever in the world I may visit, I will always know someone who will make the place feel familiar.

All in all, I would 100% do it again and recommend a study abroad year to anyone, but just realise that facing reality again is not quite a walk in the park.

My Latest Adventure Into Blog Writing

img_6372-2Last year I went to California for a study abroad year and I tried to start a blog to post about my exciting adventures and keep a note of the productive things I had done with my year. This blog lasted for about 3 posts and just did not work out due to my laziness and also that I was too busy trying to have adventures rather than just be writing about them. However, this time I am back and ready to create a new blog for past, and future adventures. Sharing my memories, giving my suggestions and advice for travelling and all round writing what I think others may enjoy to read.

If anyone wants to give me advice, whether it be about travelling or blog writing, I am open to suggestions, or if anyone has any questions about my year then feel free to contact me!
Follow my instagram @oneviewatatime for some visual updates and happy exploring!