It is with great sadness that I type the word ‘Reflections’ at the top of my page, this is simply because it can only mean one thing; the end. The end of my year in America. The end of my travels. The end of an era. But, without getting too nostalgic, it also represents the beginning. The beginning of summer. The beginning of reunions with friends. The beginning of a new me.
Going abroad as part of your degree is an absolutely amazing experience and I cannot recommend it enough. For any undergraduate students, or even students currently studying for their A-Levels, if you get the chance to go abroad within your degree, take it. Grasp it with both hands and don’t look back. If you wanted to take a Gap Year and didn’t have the chance this could be your perfect opportunity to develop personally, experience a different culture and gain a new academic perspective. But that’s not all you get from studying abroad, the list goes on and on. When I look back at the somewhat neat-freak, perfectionist, high strung student I was getting on my first transatlantic flight last August, I only have to look in the mirror to see how I’ve changed. Yes, my exterior may not have drastically altered - I still have faded tan lines and hair bleached blonde from the sun. But emotionally, I’ve become a little less stressed and a lot more laid-back.
By going on a Year Abroad and thriving under every opportunity to meet new people and travel to your hearts content, it demonstrates your ability to be independent and adapt to new situations, it shows your sensitivity and respect to other cultures and viewpoints, and reveals your desire to stretch yourself and step outside your comfort zone. If that doesn’t sound like a CV enhancing statement, I’m not sure what does.
I think it’s fair to say that a Year Abroad offers a wealth of personal and professional benefits; from making lifelong friends to growing in self-confidence, from establishing international contacts to enhancing your employability – this year truly has been the best yet!
So while I attempt to get back to the London time zone, slot back into my friendship group at home and of course detox my body from all those Reese’s Cupcakes I’ve been scoffing, I think I’ll end on a thank you. Thank you Parents for your undying support. Thank you Grandma for your never ending love. Thank you Kent. Thank you South Carolina. And a huge thank you to every person at USC who went out their way to help me as I struggled with the initial culture shock of the South – from coffee dates to car rides, Off Off Broadway to Club Swimming, the Brits Abroad to my lovely American friends. I miss you all already. Come visit me in England!
I honestly have more pictures than I could ever want or need but here's a few of my favourite moments from the past year.
God Bless and Go Cocks!