The best thing I ever did for myself was accepting my exchange offer for my third year to go study at Lund University in Sweden. If I had not moved to Sweden for a year, my life would have turned out completely different, and I think I would have had an extremely different perspective on life and the person I want to be. I loved studying at Acadia University, but at the same time, the best thing Acadia did for me was send me away ironically. Going aboard is not always easy, and still to this day it is not all sunshine and rainbows, but it is 100% worth it, so I thought I would share some of my main reasons for moving abroad, and continuing to stay abroad.
First of all, I started with the iconic “how is Laura making out in Sweden” and my parents would show them this photo, of me laughing on my new bicycle in Lund. My parents claimed to not believe that I had actually purchased a bicycle, and Dad said he wouldn’t believe it until he saw it, so this was the photo I sent in return my first week in Sweden.
- Putting yourself in difficult, challenging, awkward situations makes you grow as a person. Realistically, whenever I think I’m in a difficult situation, I always think back to the day I landed in Copenhagen August 17th, 2015 and realize if I conquered that day I can do absolutely anything. At 20, I had never been to Europe before and as my first trip over I decided to move there for ten months, and at the time I was not planning on coming home for Christmas, nor did I speak a word of Swedish, and I had to manoeuvre myself from the Copenhagen airport, find a train to Sweden, manoeuvre my massive over packed suitcases, find the accommodation building without wifi, find my flat and finally I arrived at my new home for the year all with zero hours of sleep on my overnight flight. My year in Lund I did so many things that were out of my comfort zone which made me feel so anxious and nervous, but pushing through them was the most rewarding feeling. Biking with traffic on cobblestone TERRIFIED me at first, but by the end of the year, I was so sad to see my bike go back to the shop.
- You take time for yourself and this is something I think everyone should take the time for. Self-reflection. How I looked at it was, well if I don’t make any friends I can just read in cafes to pass my spare time, and still, I love doing that, so I couldn’t possibly lose! Or for example, when I was living in London, I didn’t know many people since I was there for such a short time and I took myself to a movie for the first time ever, and it was the best experience and I felt so proud of myself.
- You realize how much you love your family and your friends, and learn to appreciate the time you spend with them even more. Especially as I am getting older, my friends and I are all off in different directions all around the world, and we often don’t know when the next time we see each other will actually be! (I am totally a huge crybaby every time I have to say goodbye to my family)
- Living in a different country, especially going to school with students from ALL OVER the world gives you a different perspective of the world, all of a sudden you have met a Dane, an Australian, a Swede, a Brit, a German and instantly start to pick up on their culture through them. Which is SO different from just reading a book or googling “what is like to live in Germany” for example.
- Education becomes more than just what you are studying, you get to take the world in first hand. Realistically, if you’re paying to go to school I think it is worthwhile paying for the flights and studying abroad. Usually, tuition won’t be any more expensive if you go on an exchange, the only thing you will have to pay for is your flights!
- TRAVEL. The best way to ever spend money (and that is coming from a clothing addict). It isn’t necessary to country hop to travel. For example in Glasgow my friends and I take trips to all sorts of little towns, hikes, castles etc. and all we are doing is paying for the train/bus/car to get there!
- PEOPLE ARE WONDERFUL. I am so lucky to say now that I have made friends from ALLLLLLLLLL over the world, and with social media today it is so easy to keep in contact.
After having the most amazing experience in Sweden, I knew I had to go back, so the journey to go to grad school in the U.K. began, and I was SO LUCKY to get accepted into my first choice grad school, The University of Glasgow, to study Art History: Dress and Textiles.
In the end yes I love my hometown of Rothesay New Brunswick, yes I love Canada, yes I love my family and friends back home; however, on the other hand, there is so much of the world to see and experience, and every little bit of that can build you into an even more adventurous and wonderful person.
The real question though is where will I end up next following my graduation from my Masters?! ✈️