Postcards from the UK: End of the road
AMANDA MITCHELL // COLUMNIST
With just two months left in my study abroad adventure, my classes at the University of Hertfordshire are coming to a turbulent close. While assignments at Capilano University are evenly spaced out over the course of the semester, at UHerts, everything is due within a four-day span late in the term. With just two projects and a final exam remaining, my mind is consistently fixated on the travelling I’m going to be doing within my last couple of months abroad.
March has been the most exciting month for me. The highlight of this month, and of my experience so far, has been spending St. Patrick’s Day in Belfast, Ireland. Drinking Guinness, singing Celtic songs and wearing green from head to toe was absolutely necessary for the entire weekend. A little luck from the Irish has also been needed to get me through my final weeks of classes.
I have also been able to take full advantage of having no classes during my Easter vacation. I travelled to Krakow, Poland for the first week and explored the beautiful St. Mary’s Basilica, as well as the harrowing history of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The second week of my break will be spent on the beaches of St. Julian’s, Malta, where I will soak up as much sun as Iz possibly can to bring back with me to rainy Hatfield.
Following my Easter Vacation, once my semester is finished, I will be travelling back to Belfast, which has become my new favourite city. Then I will make my way to Berlin, Liverpool and Lisbon. I will also be visiting the famous Harry Potter Warner Brother Studios, which is a must see for anyone travelling to London.
Reflecting on this experience, I’m most thankful for all the new people I have met from around the world. I’m also happy to have met fellow CapU students, who I didn’t know prior to coming to the UK. I didn’t realize how quickly you can become friends with other students, even if you come from completely different parts of the world. Incidentally, one of the study abroad students I met last semester at CapU will be travelling to London in May. We said tearful goodbyes to each other in December as she headed home to Germany, little did I know that we would meet again so soon.
It’s going to be strange to go home. Even in the short time I’ve been in the UK, I feel as though I know my way around as well as I do back in Vancouver. I’m also picking up many of the phrases that locals use such as “you alright?” (what’s up?), “I’ll ring you” (I’ll call you), “I’m knackered” (I’m tired), “that’s a load of tosh” (that’s nonsense), and “don’t get all miffed” (don’t get upset/offended).
It will also be strange to go home to a house full of people. It’s been pleasant to get a taste of living alone for the first time. I’ve become an excellent budgeter and have become much more appreciative of household cleanliness. It’s been very interesting to balance school and lifestyle as well, and not having a parent to make dinner when I’m stressed with assignments.
As classes are ending, it feels surreal that my semester is almost finished. As I’ve become busier with assignments, time appears to be going by more rapidly than ever. Although I’ve tremendously enjoyed what I’ve been learning in the UK, I’m excited to finish school and start to see the rest of Europe.