I’m writing this on the train having just left London, ON and the University of Western Ontario. The semester-long time away was daunting before I came and my relationship with that amount of time away changed throughout my time here. Some weeks it seemed far too long, sometimes never enough. I might not have enjoyed all of it but I’m still glad I did it, it was such an experience to say the least! Even though I was homesick and stressed at times it was definitely worth it. Coming to Canada was this great opportunity to get a different perspective, and to push myself outside of my usual surroundings.
Studying abroad is a great, (less risky way!) of seeing what it is like to live in another country. But also, the university itself was so different from university culture in the UK. It was a great balance between being different, which was exciting, but not too overwhelming. There were many moments that felt like being part of those American movies of what college life is like. Going to university football games, ice hockey games and just seeing everyone wearing university hoodies, T-shirt’s, hats you name it. The campus was so big compared to Southampton, and many of the buildings very old, it was so beautiful and special to see in summer, fall and winter. It was such a different experience of university than Southampton, which I’m grateful I could see as an outsider, and be able to compare!
There were also differences in both modules choices and how the classes were taught. There was such a variety of classes to take, I’m a sociology student at Southampton but I took, classes to do with Canadian Law, women’s studies and even a class about Harry Potter! There tended to be more assignments and marks for participation than back home, but I liked how that added variety to the module and forced you to take in more rather than just focus on final exams.
Although I made some Canadian friends during my time at Western I had the chance to meet lots of students from across the world, and to share our experience of Western. There was such a community with the exchange students because most of us stayed in the same buildings and often had the same worries about living abroad.
It’s difficult to take in everything, and to comprehend that, by the time I get back to England, it will have 5 months since I left. I know even if things were hard that I’ll always remember my time in Canada, and remember there were so many things I managed to overcome that I didn’t think I could.