Moving to Europe as an undergraduate student 

Graphic by Shannon Millar

One day I woke up and told myself I was bored.  

Bored of what, I’m still unsure.  

I have a great family life, a great social life and a great school to attend.  

But something was missing.   

Maybe it was COVID-19 that did this to me, or maybe it was just the incessant need to travel that finally pushed me to apply to the abroad program.  

At first, I thought I was too late.  

Since applications for the term I planned on leaving were technically already due, I had a small cry, and pretended I didn’t need to go that badly.   

But after emailing the advisor for the exchange program and asking if I could still shoot my shot, I knew I needed this change.  

To my surprise, she told me there were late applications I could still submit in time, which sent me into a frenzy of looking at all kinds of different schools, countries and programs.  

There was so many options and so many choices that I ended up researching for hours on end and changing my mind probably close to a thousand times before I finally picked my top choices as Birmingham, Aarhus and Limerick. 

After submitting this list, I also changed my mind about which one I really wanted.  

That’s the problem with trying to make a life changing decision when you’re an indecisive person; you never know what you actually want.   

And now here I am today, patiently waiting for my departure to Birmingham. 

Contributed Image

 Through one of the events the exchange department hosted, I got to meet a lovely group of people that came here on their exchange from the U.K.  

It hit me then that all the work I have put into going away and planning was eventually going to pay off, and now I even had people to give me hints to fit in!   

One of the most interesting things I managed to hear about Canadians was that in England the majority think we are  

“Very friendly and love maple syrup.” As one of the girls from Birmingham told me.  

She also said that the most common thing to offend Canadians in the U.K. is being called Americans.  

She also said that the only real way to distinguish a Canadian from an American was that the way Canadians pronounce the “o” sounds is vastly different than an American.   

Through talking to this group, I managed to get all kinds of insight about the city, people and culture which only increased my desire to get on a plane right now.   

So how do I feel with only a few months to go? The answer seems simple to me: Ready.  

Mostly – I haven’t booked my flight or housing quite yet. But you get the idea.  

 As my excitement and nerves build for this experience all by myself, I reflect on how grateful I am for this experience and how important it is for my personal growth and understanding of the world. 

 To feel an essential pull to a location you’ve never been is something I highly suggest you act on, and if you can, I know it will change your life for the better.   

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