The End of the End

Well, that’s it. My year studying abroad is officially over.

Once the academic year had finished, I was able to do a little travelling and I also did a short internship at an independent fashion and arts magazine from the East Village of New York City. I worked with them for two weeks and it was such a fantastic opportunity and experience. Sadly, with the visa restrictions, you can’t accept payment for the work but for me, the experience I got was well worth it. One of the nicest thing about being in the city for so long, and having visited so many times throughout the year, was that I knew my way around the city, leaving the tour guide behind and knowing which train I needed to get and was able to help tourists. During the day, I worked for the magazine and attended gallery openings and exhibitions, and at night, I was able to really soak up the nightlife of the city. The clubs in New York are amazing and shut at 4am, the drinks are strong and a little expensive (A typical shot in a drink is at least a double and a typical cocktail is about $12). In spite of the rumours, the city does sleep, from about 4am to 6am, but that’s all! I felt really settled in the city, like a real New Yorker and my experience there only confirmed that I want to return as soon as possible.

Its hard to look back. I did so much while I was out there, met so many people and tried so many new things, did things that I never thought I would or could, that it’s hard to focus on specific events. Every day was memorable in some or other. If I can recommend only one thing to do on your year abroad, it is this: Keep a journal. I know that not everyone likes to write a journal and trust me, when you’re so busy all the time, its hard to keep up, but years later, it’ll be nice to look back and read. Even now, and its only been a month, I like to read the journal I kept, just to remind me of all that I achieved and experienced.

My sister warned me about SOS syndrome (I doubt that is the official term) which is apparently a depression that study abroad students get when they return home. Personally, I had a wonderful time throughout the year and honestly, I didn’t want to leave. Since I left in August, I hadn’t visited the UK at all. Now that I am home, though, its really nice seeing old family and friends. When people ask ‘How was New York?’, its a funny question – its not like it was a holiday for two weeks, but it was a whole year of living. All you can say is ‘Amazing’.

I guess everyone is saying the same thing: it was a great year, a lot of fun, nice seeing family and friends again…but its all you can say! New York was the place for me and I loved being there. You meet so many interesting people and make lifelong friends. The school was fantastic – personally I think in America, you have a lot more work to do but the level isn’t as hard. The opportunities to travel are great, the weather is hot in summer and cold in winter, there is so much to do and see…and yes, it is nice to come home and meet up with friends that you haven’t seen in a year and enjoy the comforts of home and Britain.

So, in conclusion, if you can, study abroad. I applied on a whim and it turned out to be the best year of my life. Hopefully, it will be the same for you…

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