Back in 2011, after a year of studying in London, I chose to move to Canada and do a year as an exchange student at the University of Toronto. Before making the move I was super excited: I love change and this was an opportunity to discover a different culture and make friends in a new country! But as the big day started to get nearer, I started to get very nervous… what if I ended up hating it?
I have to admit, moving to Canada all by myself and being one of only two exchange students at the university’s Mississauga campus was not always easy. I did get lonely at times and I missed my friends and family more than I ever had before. My grades for that year didn’t count (I just needed to pass) and everyone on campus seemed to spend all their time in the library! It was very different from what I had imagined from watching American movies set on college campuses (where are all the campus parties?!).
Despite all that, I have no regrets! This might sound cheesy, but that year I learned to be by myself and I got over some of my shyness. I got over my fear of talking to strangers because everyone was SO SO NICE! Yep, it’s not just a myth: CANADIANS ARE SO FRIENDLY, EH?
I also got to do and see some awesome things:
The campus deer visited my back garden on a regular basis. One time, when I was having a bad day (something happened during a lecture, I think) and I was just on my way home, one of the baby deer licked my hand. I can’t tell you how excited and happy that made me.
I also got to hang out in downtown Toronto every weekend – I always describe it as being like a mini New York.
I also went to Niagara TWICE, to see the falls and to party – it’s like the Las Vegas of the North!
I also got to visit Montreal for five days. I stayed at the best hostel and met lots of fun people – all while everyone else was busy studying for December exams.
I also visited lovely Boston…
… and stayed with my friend Hannah at the very beautiful Wellesley College.
I did get tired of the snow and the cold after a few months, but I have to say that I miss those Canadian blue skies! Oh and that picture reminds me, they had the best maple glazed doughnuts in there!
I would 100% recommend studying abroad to anyone. It’s such a valuable opportunity to make amazing memories and friends, and it makes you grow so much as a person! Cheesy but true.
What’s your greatest adventure?