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Vanessa Higham

Politics at Trent University, Peterborough, ON, 2011-2012

""Studying abroad for my second year at university was probably the best decision I have made in my life. The opportunity given by Lancaster University to do this has allowed me to have an amazing experience and meet people from around the world.

""Arriving in Canada was a bit daunting at first, not having any parents around to tell you what to do, however I was lucky enough to be met by uni representatives at the airport and then was carted on a traditional yellow bus to a camp for the weekend. Over the weekend all the international students were put together for various talks to prepare you for Canadian life. Once the weekend was over we were then taken to move in day at the university. I chose to live on campus in a single room sharing a bathroom with another girl. Although most of the people on my floor were a year younger than me, I spent most of my time with my international friends. However I felt that living on campus was the best option especially as at the beginning I didn’t know the area and I was privileged to have a lovely view of the river and campus from my room.   

""University in Canada is a lot different to the UK. Adjusting to this took time, however you got used to it within a few weeks. There seems to be a much heavier workload with continuous assessment on top of weekly reading. However at the same time I often felt that this method of teaching gave you more chances to regain marks and provided some benefits when it came to grades. Aside from work, the university life was really fun and definitely lived up to expectations. We had sporting events throughout the year with a rowing regatta and a skiing competition where the school spirit was in full force.

""One of my main priorities when doing my year abroad was to go travelling and I was lucky enough to do this during the year. On my reading week a group of us caught the bus from Toronto to New York (a 13 hour bus ride) for 5 days to explore and check out the sights. For the price we paid for it, it was definitely worth it and I was able to check off one of the places I’d been pining to go to as a child. At the end of the academic year in April I also had the chance to go over to the West Coast of America to do a Contiki tour. This was unbelievable getting to see sights such as the Hollywood sign, the Grand Canyon, the Vegas Strip and the Golden Gate Bridge. If you get the chance to travel during your year I would highly recommend it.

""With study abroad, everyone does something different with it and you make it your own. You get to choose how your experience is and what you do. There are undoubtedly some difficulties on the way but I am sure you never regret it.

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