By Gigi Lin, Simon Fraser University, winner of the 2017 Stories from Abroad Scholarship and member of the BCSA Writer in Residence Team.
Can’t believe it’ll be 2018 in a few weeks! Where did all the time go…
If we rewind back and rehash November: it was a pretty sweet month. I’ll glad to say I really enjoyed the presentation component of the BCSA scholarship in where I had the opportunity to co-present at a Study Abroad 101 Session. I even met a student whom is thinking of attending my host Uni (Uni of Bath) next year! When she set up a meeting with me – wanting to know all about how exchange was, what preparations I had done before departing, how I felt after coming back, etc. – it reminded me of when I sat down with a fellow student, about a month before I had left for Bath…
Long story short • the GPS Buddy program at SFU is where an SFU-er is paired up with an exchange student from overseas, who is studying at SFU for the semester. My friend’s GPS buddy was actually a student from Bath. Knowing this and wanting to discover as much about the UK as I could, I sat down and started asking him questions from my ‘million and one’ list. He was super nice and shared a ton of tips in terms of what to bring, what to be prepared for, how the school system was (he did some comparisons between SFU and Bath Uni, which helped). The time he spent with me answering questions about life abroad made me really excited for the adventures to come, on exchange. I’m glad I was able to take my experience abroad, and encourage another student to be about 88% (more) certain about exchange.
On another note – I just finished one of my most favorite courses at SFU ever – and survived. It’s an honors class and it semi- introduced me to the level of coursework and difficulty that I’m sure to encounter in grad school. It was my first seminar-type class, so I got really close to most of my classmates over the course of this term. A funny thing is that the professor is actually on leave to Bristol University, starting Spring 2018! Bristol University is about a 15-minute train ride from Bath. Coincidences… coincidences! It was a tad bittersweet when on the last class we all took a group photo, and said our thanks to the professor. I would really say, treasure the time you have in University. The students and friends you meet, the professors and their advice that you receive – will really help pave the path you decide to take after University. Give a thumbs up to whatever comes down your way, and don’t be afraid to say yes!
Anyways, all these parallels and coincidences bring about a sense of “deja-vu” that I chuckle away, knowing more will surely pop up. I’m thankful for the connections I am and will, be able to make from studying abroad. As I am in the midst of studying for finals at SFU now… I think back to when I was studying for finals on exchange. The feeling is pretty mutual – I’m already dreaming of all the places I’ll go, foods I’ll eat, and people I’ll see – once all this craziness is over! I do enjoy school, and I think the irony is that by loving and studying what I am passionate about, it makes these years in University fly by. Coupled with some co-op terms and one or two exchange terms along the way, your University career you’ll realize – was filled with color and adventure, all the way to the end.
P.S. I’d like to share this article I found. Most of the skills and traits gained from exchange are transferrable in so many ways - http://time.com/79937/how-studying-or-working-abroad-makes-you-smarter/ (even more excuses to study abroad!).