Hi, I’m Laura Molloy. I have three nights left at Queen’s University! I can’t quite believe it. When I arrived in Canada eight months ago on exchange here from the UK, without a phone, bank account, courses, or friends – I didn’t know where to start. Looking back it all fell into place quickly and I adjusted to life here so easily.
The decision to go and study abroad can be a difficult one to make for some students. You need to think about it seriously before applying but here are a few reasons why I think it is worthwhile. My experience abroad has taught me that I am a capable, self-reliant individual. I was able to set up a life in a new country, and adapt to a new culture and way of living. Initially the idea of leaving my established life and friends at home was daunting. Yet everything fell into place here. I have some fantastic memories of my first week at Queen’s and being immersed into the school spirit through Orientation Week. I have met some amazing people who I hope I will keep in touch with in the future. Studying abroad means you get to immerse yourself in new cultures and situations that you would never experience at home. For me this has been as broad as taking part in Canadian Thanksgiving, volunteering as a World Link volunteer at QUIC and taking courses in a different academic environment. I have thoroughly enjoyed experiencing Canadian culture. Taking courses in Canadian history and politics has enhanced my understanding of Canada, which I know will help in completing my degree and beyond. The experience has taught me how important it is to understand and appreciate different cultures and lifestyles.
There were some great trips. I had the chance to tour the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, visit the CN Tower in Toronto and go up the Empire State Building in New York City, and later in the year walking on a frozen lake in one of Canada’s provincial parks. I know I would not have had all these experiences if I hadn’t taken the chance and gone on exchange, and looking back I know they will be memories I keep forever.
Queen’s has been a great place to come on exchange. Everyone has been helpful, supportive and fun, and campus has a great atmosphere! I just can’t believe it is time to leave already! To the next contingent of exchange students, both outgoing and incoming, my advice is to try new things, immerse yourself in the culture but most of all to have fun because trust me the time will go by too fast!!