The Final Countdown
7 February 2019
Angelos wraps up his year abroad in Toronto and has some advice for students who aren't allocated their first choice study abroad destination.
It is mid-April and I can count my last days in Canada on the tips of my fingers. The calendar on my computer is filled with events, while I am filled with pressure to make the most out of the last couple of weeks that I have in Toronto. With the arrival of spring comes the departure of Angelos and the end of a beautifully messy and enlightening year abroad.
This year has proven that it is the things you expect the least that have the most profound impact on your life. I am so used to planning everything out but I am slowly learning to appreciate the beauty of serendipity in life and allowing things to slowly unravel in front of me, rather than constantly be chasing goals and destinations. It is once you go off the beaten track that you will learn more things about yourself. And I certainly did learn a lot!
Back when I was applying for a study-abroad placement, my original “plan” was not to end up in Toronto. Somehow I did and I couldn’t be more glad. Two years ago I had no interest in Toronto whatsoever, but it is now a city with a very special place in my heart. I certainly feel like my time here is not over yet and that I need to come back at some point in the future. I associate the city with a time of my life during which I grew significantly on an emotional and intellectual level which makes my bond with Toronto very strong.
So my advice to anyone getting ready to study abroad and that is not sure what to expect from their host university and city, is to not have any expectations because this will make you limit yourself and studying abroad is the one chance you have during your undergrad to expand and absorb as many new experiences as possible. It is a year for you to test out the waters in academic disciplines and extracurricular activities that you have always deep down known that you want to try out but never had the chance to. You might not be going to the university of your first choice, but perhaps this will open up new doors for you and for your future.
Overall, this was a very short blog-post but I am soon off to Oregon in the US to carry out my dissertation research on tiny houses so I am in the process of organising that. I will be spending around two weeks in Portland doing interviews with tiny house residents and builders. My next blog post will be all about my adventure there so keep an eye out for that!