Hi, my name is Laura, and I grew up in a small farming community in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. I completed my first and second year at the nearby university. During this time, I frequently deliberated the prospect of going to England on exchange in my third year. To cut a long story short, I took the leap of faith and I am pinching myself as I write these words.
Outside of my comfort zone
To be honest, being in a foreign country, at a different university, far away from family and friends, can be scary. As someone who has always been close to home, I found myself way outside of my comfort zone during my first few weeks in York.
Fortunately, outside of one’s comfort zone is where the magic often happens. It is the perfect environment for growth and self-improvement to take place.
I faced the challenges of homesickness, becoming familiar with the conventions of a new department and rather cold weather (I experienced snow for the first time). While at the same time, establishing a brand-new social life with people from across the globe.
These initial obstacles were made so much easier by the Department of English and Related Literature. The staff, from the admin to the academic body, are extremely accommodating. They are always prepared to go out of their way to offer assistance or even some comforting words.
The guidance and support of a supervisor and regular one-on-one interaction with lecturers and tutors make this department exceptional as a place of meaningful scholarship.
Memories to treasure forever
During my time at York, I have learnt so much. Not only about the literature I have encountered and the various people I have had the privilege of working alongside, but also about myself.
The experiences I have had and the remarkable people I have met have added an extraordinary dimension to my degree. They have richly contributed to the person I am.
I am going home with so many new perspectives on the world, special memories and friendships that I will treasure forever. In fact, I have a visit from a group of fellow visiting students to look forward to before the end of the year.
So, if the opportunity to study abroad presents itself to you, I encourage you to grab it with both hands – you won’t look back!