Now that my year abroad at Penn State is over, and I’m back in the UK, I’ve had a chance to reflect and look back at all the amazing experiences I have had this year.
Arriving in August my family and I flew into New York for a bit of sightseeing before term began. We had a great time visiting the Empire State building, Ellis island, The Statue of Liberty and a bunch of other New York sights, before heading to New Jersey to visit family we’d never had an excuse meet before. We spent a little time in Philadelphia, visiting the Liberty Bell, before heading up to State College for induction week.
After arriving in State College, I became involved in the Outing Society, travelling around Pennsylvania to some fantastic rock climbing locations.
Thanksgiving break gave a welcome holiday from midterms and homework. I celebrated a proper American thanksgiving with my American relatives in New Jersey, before heading back to State College for the end of term.
We had the first hint of snow at the beginning of December, something I found much more exciting than the locals. Before Christmas we had a few centimetres of snow, easily as much as I’ve experienced in the two years I’ve lived in Southampton, but very tame on the Pennsylvanian scale.
At Christmas, I flew back to the UK to celebrate Christmas and New Year with my family, before heading back to State College for round two!
Shortly after I returned we had the true snow I had been hoping for. Classes were cancelled for the day, allowing sensible Americans to have a lie in and nutty British people to wade through the knee-deep snow, and see the town transformed.
Over spring break, I took a trip to Washington DC, taking advantage of free admission to museums and the zoo to pack plenty into my long weekend, before spending a little time relaxing with my American family.
Back in State College after break I celebrated my 21st birthday and performed with the Penn State Campus Band
I watched a game of American football and went to a tailgate.
Once term finished in America, I met a friend from back home in El Salvador for a bit more travelling whilst on that side of the Atlantic. We visited San Salvador (the capital city), where we travelled out on a couple of day tours to the Ruta de Flores, a trail through several traditional Salvadoran villages, and a tour of some of the nearby volcanoes and a trip to Joya de Ceren, a UNESCO world heritage site which shows a preserved Mayan village from around 600AD. We then headed to the coast, where we kayaked amongst the mangroves and relaxed in the sun, before heading back to the UK after a fantastic year abroad!