Year Abroad

When I realized I had the opportunity to study abroad for my second year of university I jumped at the chance! The application process wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be, the biggest struggle was definitely deciding where in the world I wanted to study. I finally managed to narrow it down to the USA, but then had the choice of over 300 universities over there!  The wait to find out if I had been placed or not seemed to drag on forever. I emailed Alana in International Office about 100 times a week to see if she'd heard anything! Finally I got the news I’d been waiting for, Montana here I come!

My host university contacted me straight away and were extremely helpful throughout the whole year. I felt like I knew the international staff really well before I arrived which was a great comfort, and they wanted me to enjoy my experience as much as possible, planning trips and advising me whenever I needed their help.

American schooling is a lot different than ours, so it definitely took some getting used to. However, all the lecturers are very accommodating and the accent definitely gets you some brownie points (extra help)! As the school system is different, you’ll also get the opportunity to take classes other than the pre-requisites set by Plymouth. I almost took a skiing class, but then went against my better judgment and ended up doing counselling psychology instead! It’s definitely worth looking at the other options the university has to offer though.

Going to the States alone, and knowing that I wouldn’t know anyone when I got there was extremely daunting. However, within a week I felt as if I’d been there for years. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, and as the ‘British person’ you’ll get invited to everything! I couldn’t bear to miss an invite so I was definitely kept busy. I went hiking, skiing, camping, swimming, rafting, partying, fishing, exploring, shopping, jet skiing, to sports games and many more things on a regular basis! There is so much to experience you’ll never get bored, or have time to get homesick for longer than a few moments here and there.

I can honestly say my year abroad was the best year of my life so far! I loved it so much that I organized to do my placement year out there as well. That was a pretty tough task, but definitely worth it. I just wasn’t ready to go back to England without a fight! A year on I am still in contact with the majority of my close friends from the uni, and I know they’ll be my friends for life. I wouldn’t change my decision to study abroad for anything, and I highly recommend that if you have the option to study abroad too that you go for it! What have you got to lose? Good luck.

Eska Gatland

Exchange student 2013/14