I’ve been putting off writing this last entry for a few weeks now. At first I told myself it was because I wanted to relax; get used to being back in the country. Now however, I’ve realised it’s because this is the last chapter in what was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
When I was fourteen I knew without a doubt that I wanted to study overseas. I wanted to travel, experience another culture and make lifelong friends. That is something I can now say I’ve achieved. But with that achievement comes a sense of loss. Because now that I’m home the travel is over, my friends are in another country and the culture I’d come to know and love is a 23-hour plane ride away.
In previous posts I’ve talked about why I chose England, what the differences are, what the university is like and about my travels. What I haven’t mentioned is why England is the number 1 choice for a study abroad experience. So, with my last blog I’ll let you all in on a few things.
My main reason for choosing the United Kingdom was because of the history. I’m a grade A nerd who needed a fix of culture that was over 300 years old (sorry Australia) and that’s exactly what I got. From Westminster palace, to Stonehenge; a Jack the Ripper tour to hundreds of castles. There’s something special about being in a country with so much history. There was always a historical landmark to see or celebration to be a part of. I walked along the same paths as some true historical icons and I’ll always love the UK for giving me that opportunity.
My second reason? It’s. So. Damn. Close. To. Everywhere. I organised a trip to Edinburgh with some friends before I left. These British girls had lived in England their entire life but had never made the 5 hour train trip to Scotland. To an Australian, the concept was ridiculous. A 4 hour plane journey got me to Norway and 5 hours to Greece. As far as a central hub goes, the UK is the perfect place for the prospective travel to base themselves.
Third reason? Weather. Not once did my oh so pale skin fry in the sun in the six months I was living in England. There was rain and clouds for the majority of the time… which is maybe not so great for a gal with frizzy hair, but hey, you get used to it. Even when there was sun and my flatmates were walking around in singlets and shorts (no thongs in sight) I was happily rugged up and exposing none of my pastiness to the sun. PLUS my childhood dream of seeing snow was also fulfilled so really, the UK is a sun/heat averse person’s dream.
The fourth? The people. Yes the brusqueness of Londoners is difficult to adjust to at first but once you get used to it… or move down south like I did, the people of England really are the greatest. Everything is solved by tea (or toaster waffles). Greetings are a ‘you alright?’ and the students are just like being back at home. So, if you want exchange without a huge culture shock… England all the way.
My final reason is purely dedicated to my flatmates. Without them my time in England wouldn’t have been anywhere near as enjoyable. They were there for the fun times and when things got hard. They were there to party or watch a scary movie. They were my second family and without a doubt the number one reason I’ll be returning to the UK as soon as I can. So if your reasons to come to the UK aren’t travel, or weather or history, or even a slightly similar culture – come because I promise the friends you make will be friends you have for a lifetime.
For my final post. Goodbye England.