As my time in Calgary comes to a close, I still can’t quite grasp the fact that my days are truely numbered and counting down. The rapidity and velocity of this experience has been very unexpected. In hindsight, I remember being so focused on how long five months away from home will be, and now I understand that like other people say: it goes damn quick. I think that looking back on my time here, I am proud of what has been accomplished and have a few points of advance for people thinking of travelling abroad.
Firstly, do not waste any time. In all honesty, I may have spent a few long nights franticly writing an assignment to get it somewhat completed and out of the way. In return for this odd night of sleep deprivation, I was rewarded with a multitude of free days that were utilised by doing something not possible back home. These could range from casually strolling through the now arctic town, weaving in between stores to survive the below -25 degree temperatures, all the way to spending the day in the neighbouring town of Banff, snowboarding for charity on a special two-dollar lift pass (Yes…you heard me, two dollars for a whole day of skiing). A new and exciting activity should be sought after every day off, as before you know it you’re on a plane back.
Secondly, meet as many new people as possible. If you start a class, begin talking to someone before it starts. In each of my classes I have met at least one person of whom I would converse with and often meet outside of class. Sometimes it can help with assignments if you are unsure about something. It is a lot easier to send a message over Facebook than seek out the lecturer. Staying on residence also helps out a lot with meeting new people. Events are always being held and it makes it incredibly easy to meet people from all over the globe. After the first week or so into my stay, I participated in a group walk around the city and the people I met there have become some of my strongest relationships.
In conclusion, if you are thinking about travelling overseas for university then I have one thing to say: DO IT! I am both sad and excited to be leaving; Friendships that have been made will be missed and old ones to return to and rekindle will be a joy. if I had the opportunity to go on exchange again then that answer would be an ecstatic ‘yes’.
Oliver Kingsley, a Bachelor of Arts- Enhanced Program for High Achievers student, Semester 2 2016 exchange at University of Calgary, Canada