Sure, the change of university environment and the way your modules run will require some time to get used to and adapt. However, a year abroad is not just about academic studies – it’s about getting the life experience that you could never get in any classroom.
Wherever you might choose to go for your year abroad, you will definitely have lots of opportunities to travel! That is something you definitely want to do because it will just be so much more convenient and much cheaper to do while you’re already there compared to doing it from the UK.
One of the highlights for me has definitely been the trip to Niagara Falls in early October with other international students. M.I.X (the McMaster International and Exchange club, run by McMaster students) took us on a day trip to see the waterfall and just spend a day in the Niagara city. It was honestly breath-taking because – no matter how many pictures or videos you will see, no matter how many stories you will hear – nothing will ever compare to the real experience you get actually visiting these places!
MIX have different events now and again and they are just very friendly people – most of them have been on an exchange themselves, so they know exactly what difficulties we might face. They have been very helpful with any issues we have had – from phone contracts and housing to the locations of the local house parties on the night!
Recently we had a great day out with them when they took us to the Cootes Paradise (a nature reserve which is literally two minutes’ walk from campus) for a mini hike topped with a couple of hours spent canoeing. It was just great – for the locals it is a pretty common thing to do, just because of the nature that surrounds the campus!
It is truly amazing how such beautiful places can be just minutes away from the university campus that swarms with thousands of people every single day!