Alex Cadman: The British Adventures of a Cheeky Canadian

A little less than 2 months ago, I was as scared, excited, hopeful, and nervous as I've ever been in my entire life. Travel is something I've always longed for, but I never pictured myself actually being abroad, let alone living abroad.
 
 
Well let me tell you that it is 100% without a doubt the best decision anyone could ever make for themselves. The entire process is about seeing the world, exploring, meeting new people, and learning something you wouldn't have learned back home. However, I will say that most of the things you learn while studying abroad you do not learn from school. Sorry, not sorry.


On my very first day in the UK, I was kind of nervous that I wouldn't make friends, and I'd also heard that the British are more reserved than Canadians (fact of experience: this is NOT true; it is most certainly the other way around).  I couldn't have gotten through my first day/weekend without my fellow Capilano buddies to lean on, but making friends at the University of Hertfordshire was as easy as breathing.
All the international students (most of my friends) were in the same boat, so it was super easy to make connections there. I also met some lovely British girls on my fourth night at the bar. I can't believe I've been lucky enough to meet and know so many amazing people here. Can't complain about the British accents either. So, armed with a solid friend group of Canadians, Americans, Australians, British and Dutch (random, but cool), I've traveled, partied, grocery shopped, and generally explored my way around a small part of Europe during my short time here. In order of distance from where I'm living, I've been to London, Cambridge, Dublin, and Amsterdam so far, and I have Barcelona, Madrid, Nice, and Paris planned for Easter break. A small tidbit of advice when you go travel – book ahead!! It is not a myth that everything is cheaper in advance.
 

I've heard there's a debate on whether studying abroad changes you or not. Here's my argument: you will learn many many things while studying, living, and traveling abroad. The things you learn and the experiences you have may change you, or they may not. It is in the end up to YOU to be open minded enough to accept these experiences and let them change you for the better.
 
Traveling is about learning who you are, and being happier with yourself. Although, the best thing I could say to anyone thinking of studying abroad is do NOT float through it, be a presence. Make yourself known. Conquer the world. As cliché as that sounds, it's true.


This whole semester has been a whirlwind of an experience so far, and is sure to be so in the coming months. I'm still scared, excited, hopeful, and nervous. But that's what it's all about, isn't it?



PS. Here's some of the things I've done, and a list of a few of my favourite things in the UK

Favourite words: cheeky, mac, wellies, proper, wicked, amazing, “can't be bothered”, “all right?”

Favourite drinks: Gaymer's Cider, snake bite (google it), WINE

Favourite food: pancakes Euro style, Wispa chocolate bars, milkshakes blended with full chocolate bars
 


 

Some memorable stuff (past and present tense included..): hanging out with some awesome British people and taking pleasure in just listening to their accents, learning British slang, partying every Wednesday instead of on the weekends, group dinners with my friends (ongoing), taking photos of absolutely everything, partied at the Ministry of Sound in London, went downtown London for Chinese New Year, rode bikes for an entire weekend in Amsterdam, pub crawled for two nights in a row in Dublin, ate at least 10 European style pancakes in 2 weeks, attended a Bastille concert at Alexandra Palace (totally meant to be), stole a Ben and Jerry’s sign from a gas station and took it back to campus where it was placed on top of a garbage can,  discovering some amazing music, London in general... to be continued :)

Alex is a third year Bachelor of Business Administration student studying abroad at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, UK. 


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