Hello folks! This week’s blog feature is an absolute sweetheart named Noa, who I have had the pleasure of meeting before she embarked on her study abroad adventure. Noa loves to cook, watch movies and get out on adventures. She is studying at UFV with the Bachelor of Arts program, planning to declare her major in either English/Creative writing or in Peace and Conflict studies. Noa’s passions have extended to her host university, the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, UK, where she has joined the conservation society and the hiking society that her university offers. Getting involved in your host university is so rewarding, as you will build more connections to the local students that way and integrate yourself into the community!
I wanted to know what, besides an adventurous spirit, made Noa choose to go abroad and why to Scotland? “I am the type of person that gets extremely bored in my surroundings very fast. Thus, I desire to get uncomfortable! …I chose to study abroad because it’s pretty long-term and it’s such a fresh start! I also came with my best friend, which has been great for us because we don’t live in the same home town, and [we] haven’t had such great insane bonding like we have now. We also decided to study abroad because it’s a way to travel without dropping a whole semester behind. We chose Scotland [because] of its history, location and the school itself looks like Hogwarts,” Noa shared. I tend to agree, although it’s not like I am biased or anything… Aberdeen was also my host university when I studied abroad for the first time in 2017!
Not everything is castles, Hogwarts-like schools and adventure, though. Noa experienced some of the typical challenges of arranging to study abroad as well as talking about one of the things many of us wouldn’t like to admit to ourselves – it’s hard to stay motivated with such a grand adventure on the horizon! “[Staying] motivated in the semester before I left was difficult because all I could think of was how close it was! It was also difficult completing my LOP [Letter of Permission] because the University of Aberdeen didn’t allow me to choose my courses until after my arrival.” Yes, the paperwork can have its challenges. Noa said a positive attitude (and I am sure a good dose of excitement) kept her level-headed and moving forward throughout the process.
Advice from our current #UFVExplorers can be an invaluable tool for those who are considering going abroad. Noa advises that students who are interested in going abroad meet up with a UFV student who has been to their host university of choice, if possible, and if not – online surf for a new buddy! …Get involved in Facebook groups and look for other Canadians in the members list. Especially if you’re going [abroad] alone! That will help you find a friend before you land. I’ve met a few people here who I thought were best friends from home but actually met online and met up when they got here.” I would concur with Noa greatly on this one – one of my very closest friends to this day was a gal I met up with for coffee who was also going on exchange to Aberdeen from UFV. I have no regrets, as we had the best time, lived and travelled together. Noa also recommends living on campus to those future explorers who aren’t sure whether they would prefer to live in residence or private housing. She speaks to the closeness that she has developed with her roommates: “we’re like one big family!”
Lastly, Noa commented on some things that were surprising to her, including the expense of trips if you do not book in advance, the ease of making friends while abroad, and picking up some of the local slang.
~~If these encouraging and exciting anecdotes don’t convince you to go on an adventure you’ve been dreaming of, come on in and let us know how we can help! Let’s bust those #studyabroadmyths in your mind and send you packing. You’ll be glad you did. Thank you, Noa, for sharing your experiences!~~