My final swan song

I decided a few months back that after exams were over I was going to stay a couple extra weeks in the states before returning home. A couple of friends from Glasgow booked flights to come visit and with my lease ending 5 days before my flight home it was a perfect time to do a spot of travelling. After a week-long of partying and goodbyes to BC students and internationals alike it was time to hit the west coast, San Francisco to be precise.

With my friends form home and another, Pippa, an English exchange friend for company we arrived in San Francisco on a Thursday afternoon and immediately began exploring the city. As a child I had lived about 45 minutes outside San Fran for a few years so had a general idea where I was going but my skills as the designated tour guide for the group were a touch limited. We were there for 5 days and it felt like 10 with the amount of walking we did. Alcatraz, Lombard Street (crazy winding road), Golden Gate bridge, Sausilito, Pier 39, Golden Gate Park, Coit tower, Italian district and China town, Union square, Monterey, Pebble beach and Carmel (17 mile drive to tour those was cool, a couple of hours south San Fran), shopping and eating out, a few nights on the town and endless walking up and down the crazy hills that San Francisco is built on made for a full on 5 days. I would highly recommend a visit here if you have the time. There’s loads to see and do in a short time period, although we were there for 5 full days we could have probably even condensed it to 4 if we wanted, so if you are going to the US on exchange next year consider San Fran as a destination for a wee break.

Afterwards my Glasgow friends and I flew to New York, leaving Pippa to explore the rest of the US. We met up in New York with another of my friends who had just graduated from BC. We managed to get a good deal on a hotel right in Midtown (the middle of Manhattan near Times Square) and were able to do a lot in the two days we were there. After an overnight flight from San Fran (trying to save on accommodation) we were welcomed with near record high temperatures. 91 F or about 33 C, a little too hot for my Scottish skin. Still it meant prime conditions for bathing in Central Park and having a wee walk along 5th avenue. The second day we visited the statue of liberty, Wall Street, ground zero, Soho and grand central station. There was a crazy thunderstorm right when we were checking out of our hotel to get the bus which made for an interesting walk down to say the least.

The bus back to Boston was the first time I really felt like I was leaving for good. That would be my last night in the US with my flight home a little later the following evening. My final night and day were fairly tame. I spent nearly all of it with Steph, the girl who joined us in New York having just graduated. It was hard to say goodbye to her. Someone I had grown very close with this year, especially this semester. Hopefully I’ll see her if I go back at the end of summer for a visit. After some tearful goodbyes we parted ways, with her nearly missing her flight home to Cincinnati. It was a sad way to leave it but I’d hugely enjoyed my last week or so at BC and have fantastic memories of time spent here.

Currently I’m on a train from London to Glasgow with all my luggage from the past year. Why? Because I decided to book the flight for yesterday. There goes £150 and here comes a 5 hour train ride on a packed coach. Oh well lesson learned. I’m completely drained and sleep deprived so I don’t think the whole returning home and leaving America thing has hit me yet. I still feel as though I will be returning to BC next semester, maybe that’s because I plan on visiting at the end of summer. I can’t imagine what my year would have been like without this experience, or even what my life would have been like. It’s really opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunity. Sometimes it’s hard for students to look beyond Scotland or the UK for study or work opportunities but having done this exchange year I am now so motivated to travel and experience all the things the world has to offer. There are no boundaries, no limits to what you can do or where you can do it. This year has changed my perspective on life and how it should be lived. That maybe sounds a bit strong but it really has. Doing an exchange year was something I always wanted to do. Whether it’s something you have wanted to do or not, you should seriously consider it. And please seriously consider BC. It’s a great school with awesome people, many of whom I met will remain friends for life. I lived the experience, now it’s time for you to do the same. GO ON INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE!

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