Korea University – Getting Started!

I’m leaving for Korea tomorrow!!!! TOMORROW!!! So here is a generally condensed guide to everything I’ve done so far. I’ll try add things I’ve forgotten as I eventually remember about them, but for now here it is!:

CHOOSING KOREA / KOREA UNI

As a Film & Television Studies student, when I first started looking into study abroad options my first thought was somewhere in the USA as that was where most of the content related to my course that I consume outside of my course came from. But something about it didn’t excite me that much, I didn’t feel any great motivation to look farther than a glance at UCLA so I thought maybe study abroad wasn’t something I’d venture into. Until…I got into Korean music the summer before applying. When people started asking me “why Korea?!” with looks of disbelief on their faces I was a bit embarrassed to say but now I’ve come to embrace it. On a very basic level I only looked into going to Korea because seven beautiful Korean men captured my heart hahaha I admit it.

So here’s the full story: I started listening to K-Pop in April 2016 and spent the summer absorbing myself in the music, tv shows and whatever aspects of the culture those exposed me to. I also started learning the language around then too very casually, first by learning the alphabet then going from there slowly. Then the time came to go back to university and study abroad notices started circulating and I decided to just check if we had any partners in Korea for the sake of it, and lo and behold we had three partners!

I spent a few weeks coming up with course lists for each uni but it turned out that Korea University was the only one who had enough courses to cover all my credit requirements. They were still the best for film/tv/media out of the three as they have their own Media and Communications department and ALL of the courses offered there sound incredibly interesting. My excitement came back and thankfully my parents didn’t freak when I told them my plans so I decided to go for it! And now here I am. For those students who have also been introduced to the idea of visiting Korea through K-Pop but feel they won’t be taken seriously, that may have been how I started but now I’m just as excited to visit all the cities, landmarks, study exciting courses, become more fluent in a foreign language, meet new people and learn as much about the culture as possible as I am to finally see some of my favourite musicians in concert. So do your research, and go for it! (and for others who want to introduce themselves to a new culture, heres a link, enjoy!)

Here’s what I recommend doing first:

  1. Find your subject coordinator at Glasgow and email them for a general idea of what courses you should be looking for.
  2. Visit the international office page for Korea Uni and familiarise yourself with all areas for exchange students. You’ll be visiting it. A lot: oia.korea.ac.kr
  3. Familiarise yourself with the steps of the study abroad exchange programme on the University of Glasgow website and make sure you understand your timelines and what you need to have organised before applying.
  4. Have a look into the location of Korea Uni and be happy at how close it is to the shopping district.
  5. Living expenses for Seoul aren’t that expensive. Eating out is rather cheap, the subway is cheap and my hall fees are almost half the price of my rent in Glasgow but do your own research, work out your finances and decide whether one semester or a full year is more suitable for you.

Now for the more detailed aspects.

FINDING COURSES

Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for I would 100% begin looking at what the courses available to you. The requirements for Film & TV were also open to some Theatre and Digital Media & Info studies so I had a bit of leeway as long as they involved analysis.

To meet 120 credits a year at Glasgow, you need to meet 18 credits at KU. For me, that means 6 courses at 3 credits each. The link to the courses at KU is sugang.korea.ac.kr and there is a sidebar on the left where you can click ‘English’ then either Major Subjects or General Subjects. For exchange students it doesn’t matter where you get your courses from. From there you can follow the instructions to search for courses in your subject area by using the drop down list for departments at the top. The only problem I found is that there isn’t a keyword search so you kinda have to navigate yourself around to find what you’re looking for.

  • Only the courses for the current year (2017) will be available for now but they claim the courses don’t change much from year to year so it’s okay to make a general collection of suitable courses from the past year.
  • Make sure you look at both Fall and Spring options as they can differ!
  • Make sure you’re on the courses in the Anam campus (should be automatic but don’t change the option).
  • Make sure to check in other departments for courses that are relevant to you, as long as they meet the course requirements given to you by your subject coordinator at Glasgow it doesn’t matter what department they come from.
  • All courses in English have the word in brackets following the course name. Top Tip: control+F/command+F and search the page for the word ‘english’ then they’ll all be highlighted.
  • The first number following the department code of each course is its year level. e.g. JMCO224 is a second year Media and Communications course.
  • There will be columns of numbers following the course names and you have to make sure the column for ‘Exchange’ (usually 4) is ticked otherwise you CAN’T take it.

Click the course code and it will open a page with all info about the lecturer and course times as well as having a downloadable syllabus at the bottom. I recommend taking note of all the course codes and basic course information for those you want to do in a word document so that you can easily send them to your Subject Coordinator for approval, because as I said, it’s impossible to search the course choice website so you’ll have to go physically searching for them again otherwise. I made a full colour coded document and faux-timetable and it was great.

In terms of timetabling, you’ll notice that the course times are represented as numbers 1-9 rather than actual times. Think of it like high-school periods. 1 is 9-9:50am and they follow almost identically in this pattern till about 6pm (9). Don’t worry too much about it, its easy to make a timetable as you just cant take any that have the same number on the same day.

So hopefully you manage to find more than enough courses for you to keep in mind for course choice in August! I’m making a separate section for that but please make sure you have WAY more than enough. One or two won’t cut it because there is only a 15% exchange student allowance per class so it’s very competitive and you need to have a confident list of back ups. But more on that later.

APPLYING TO EXCHANGE PROGRAMME

While I don’t remember the specifics of the process, I remember I spent a lot of time working on the factors for my application. Start early and you will be so happy with yourself when you see your friend who started it a week or two before panicking.

Make sure to join the Go-Abroad Moodle and keep up to date. Also attend all the info sessions. I found everyone very approachable through the process and I didn’t struggle very much. Be aware though it is very much something you have to take into your own hands. There won’t be anyone sorting anything for you, it will be you emailing your Subject Coordinator, making meetings in person, collecting your financial information and making a general funds plan (probably most time consuming).

Once all your documents are sorted there is a quick online application where you upload the documents. I had a bit of an issue where I wasn’t sure if mine sent but when I emailed the team seemed pretty used to the situation and sorted it immediately and assured me they had my application.

Oh remember too for your financial plan that KU is a U21 uni like Glasgow so you get the equivalent of $500 per semester for going. Woo!

And if you’re successful, you will receive an email (I cried) with the uni they can send you to and once you accept you’re officially a part of the Exchange Programme! However!! You are NOT yet applied to KU….

APPLICATION TO KOREA UNI

I had to apply in May after getting my Exchange Programme success email in February so I still had plenty of time in between to get my stuff organised. There’s not much to do until you receive an email that you’ve been officially nominated to KU where you will be given proper instructions. However, the application guide on the KU Int. Office page has the general documents you need so you can begin to start photocopying your passport, passport photo, printing out your HEAR, and things like that to get you organised.

The application itself wasn’t difficult but can take some time so make sure you have all the documents you need signed and scanned and sitting on easy access on your desktop to save time. One part that confused me was the credits section. The application asks you what your current GPA is and I just put the same as what was on my HEAR in Glasgow credits which turned out to be fine. Theres no need to translate to a 4.0 system.

There are some documents they ask for that they don’t expect you to upload in the application period. Once you’ve filled out the application and sent it off you can still re-access it for months to add SOME documents. Not all. Some you have to have uploaded so read the instructions properly.

For my letter of aims and goals I wrote about the incredible opportunity studying in Korea will have for my academic career and how I expect to learn well and work hard and I name dropped a few courses I was excited to take. I also talked a bit about my excitement to learn more about Korean culture.

Later you will need to upload a medical form which you should already have in your possession but the TB test section has to be completed after 1st of July and I’ll discuss my…situation…with this in the MEDICAL section. You also need to promise to get private health insurance by ticking a box and you then email this to them later. 31st of July was my deadline for all my documents and I assume that won’t change much year to year.

All in all that area of the application was easy-peasy! Here’s where I had some issues:

INSURANCE

Not that I had much of a problem but my issue was that the request for medial insurance was pretty vague. As someone who was brought up with the NHS I had no idea where to begin looking for private medical insurance and many of the ones I were for America and $$$. My friend who is going to SNU (Seoul National University) said she didn’t have such a strong requirement for this so she was covered as much as she needed to be medically with a study abroad insurance policy.

I, however, did have the requirements that I needed to be covered for general doctor visits in Korea and hospitalisation as well as emergency. The plan I ended up going with was with April International UK and I went with them after a week of emailing back and forth with one of their advisors. They have a specific student medical insurance policy that is particularly for exchange trips. I was around £350 for 11 months but I actually feel really assured with how covered I am. I did shop around and this was the cheapest medical-only insurance I found.

I started looking at this in June but couldn’t actually buy and send the confirmation to KU until mid-July as that was the earliest time to purchase for the cover to start at the end of August. The advisor I was speaking to emailed me to remind me which was great so I didn’t have to!

MEDICAL

Okay, so, that TB test I mentioned earlier? Theres a nationwide shortage of the most common tuberculosis test, the Mantoux Test, until no-one knows when. I called a tonne of travel clinics and they were all like “sorry, we don’t have it!”. Finally I got recommended a travel clinic in Glasgow called Emcare and they had a couple! But since I was organising this in May they were worried that they’d run out before my appointment if people were in for emergency ones so I was completely panicking. But luck was on my side and they still had one when I got there. It was £70 but I was so relieved to get it because its a really strict requirement for KU.

Previously mentioned SNU friend ended up having to get one too except she got the alternative which was a chest x-ray. She still had to pay for it but it was a bit cheaper. The reason I didn’t get this was kind of my own fault because I have no medical knowledge and assumed it would be difficult to get an x-ray so I didn’t look into it. However, I did go to my GP and tried to get referred to get an x-ray once I found out my friend got it, just incase things didn’t end up going well with the Mantoux. But what resulted was probably the only time I cried during this process and it was honestly because every single person I came into contact with at my GP (which I never go to cos I’m never ill) made me feel, just, horrible. It was just a really bad day and no-one was helpful and I left feeling like I’d taken steps backward rather than forward. And even though I’d had frustrations in the process, this was the first time I felt helpless. But I took a day off from working on things and I was fine the next day. After all, I still had my Mantoux appointment a week or two later and I thankfully had the money to pay more for the test.

At my appointment at Emcare they also recommended a Hep A vaccine as I was caught up on all my childhood ones. As a result of my bad experience at the GP, and due to the fact I was going back to Emcare in two days time for a follow up to the Mantoux I just decided to get that privately with Emcare and paid £50. This was what was best for me, but if you can try get it free from your GP as long as you go quite a bit in advance because they like you to make your travel appointments over 6 weeks in advance. Otherwise, Emcare were great and I highly recommend them.

VISA

The next course of action was the visa. The bane of my existence and the most frustrating experience in my life. However, fortunately for you, you have me to tell you what to do whereas I had no one who had been to Korea from Glasgow to help 😥

The required documents for a Korean student visa can be found here: http://gbr.mofa.go.kr/english/eu/gbr/visa/issuance/ and most of them are pretty straight forward, but I’m happy to answer any specific questions about them directly.

My problem came from two things: the Letter of Recommendation and the Exchange Student Agreement. Both me and my friend called the embassy multiple times and they eventually told us we didn’t need the Letter of Recommendation so that was fine. However, they always said they needed the MOU whereas the go-abroad team at Glasgow said we shouldn’t need it. Acting as a go-between for the go-abroad team and the Embassy for months was really frustrating, especially when I’d had the rest of my application ready since the middle of June. Eventually Glasgow got in contact after the Embassy directly and it turned out we DID NOT need the MOU since we were going to specific universities, KU being one that was exempt. So problem solved and I have my visa now!

One thing with the visa is that you can’t get multiple entry for some reason. If you want to leave and come back to Korea within your visa limit you need a permit from the international office which I do hope to do eventually so I’ll probably have that in another post on a later date.

ACCOMODATION

Applying for accommodation is actually really straight forward and KU has been consistently good at emailing out detailed, visual instructions for all of the processes they ask of you. This was so easy that my dad did it for me since I was on holiday!

One thing is that the transfer fees for paying are ridiculous. At least for my bank. But just be aware of that from the beginning. Also, since the exchange rate is always changing there is a chance your payment may be under, like mine. In that case they let you pay the outstanding charges in your first week of arrival, where I’ll have to pay 10,000 won (around £7).

Just remember too to upload the necessary forms like your TB stuff and the receipt of payment (which you may receive in the post a few days later unlike straight away like I assumed).

COURSES/COURSE CHOICE

Course choice was something I felt okay going into, but I now realise how naive I was! As I mentioned before, the courses are really competitive for exchange students. They first allow you to make a practice timetable which is really handy for registering when the time comes. Once again, you can’t search for the courses by keyword so you need to know all the course numbers for all the suitable courses as back up.

I was successful in registering for half of my courses and was on the waiting list for the other three. I eventually found out that I didn’t make it past the waiting lists and there would be another 24 hour time slot for me and other unlucky students to try and get some other courses.

Again, I was like, “this will be fine I have a tonne of back ups!” except… they were all full too. At this point I hadn’t realised the 15% exchange student limit which means some classes can only have as little as 1 or 2. So, there I was, panicking and near tears at 4am after only scraping one other suitable class from the General Electives. I have since learned that there is an option during orientation week where they sort you out if you’ve not made all the classes you need as not all classes have all their home student spaces taken and theres a chance to get those. Hopefully. As of right now I haven’t sorted this situation but will update once its fixed, fingers crossed!!

MOBILE PHONE

Unlock your phone if you haven’t already! Otherwise no sim cards you will get in Korea will work on your phone. As of now I’ve preordered a sim that is on the KT network which is one of the biggest. Right now, I’m not one hundred percent how they work so when I collect it on Sunday I’ll ask some questions and make a more in depth post later!

 

FEEL FREE TO ASK ANY AND ALL QUESTIONS!!

-Louise 🙂

Au revoir time

So as much as I’ve tried, I can’t stay in Paris forever, and today the time has come for me to leave. I think I’ve been through all five stages of grief already, but no promises, I may very well regress back into denial at any moment.

What can I say? It’s been everything I wanted and more. I feel incredible gratitude: for having been given this opportunity, for everything that Paris has thrown at me for better or worse over the course of the year, for all the people I have met and the impact they have had on my life.

20170526_124543.jpg

For me, home is a nebulous concept, but for what it’s worth I had an easier time feeling at home in Paris than in any other places where I’ve lived. I can still see myself returning for an even longer stay or even for good. All the confident Parisian little old ladies that I’ve seen every day on the bus certainly convinced me that this would be an aspirational future.

Going for a year abroad in Paris means constantly living in relation to cliché. This is especially true when leaving – it’s hard to be honest about how I’m feeling without it sounding like I’ve just copied a paragraph from an International Office pamphlet or Buzzfeed list. However, that doesn’t make it less true.

My year in Paris really has been as life-changing and eye-opening as the promotional posters promised (though perhaps not always in the ways I expected). I have stepped out of my comfort zone, become more resilient and adaptable, and discovered new sides of myself. It’s been an important year in my development – academically, professionally, personally. I’ve learned to speak French (fluently?? I don’t know when you get to claim that title, and there are still days when I cannot words at all, but I’m definitely a solid C1 and phone calls to the electricity company don’t scare me anymore) and I even came to navigate the Chatelet metro stop without having a mental breakdown most of the time.

So: while you should be realistic, don’t be afraid to believe the clichés, they might come true!

20170626_215701

Moving out certainly taught me a few extra lessons about French bureaucracy, so I’ll be doing a few more blog posts with tips and advice. I’m leaving that to a day with fewer feels, however.

For now – thank you Paris, it’s been magnificent.

Final Thoughts…

So my year in Copenhagen has finally come to an end. I packed up my whole life into two slightly overweight suitcases and made the emotional trek home. Seriously, I was not prepared for how emotional it got. I said goodbye to my friends at the security gate in Copenhagen Airport and did not stop crying until I got to the arrivals at Stansted Airport to the dismay of the businessman sitting next to me on the flight.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 18.05.46.png

Looking very innocent during our first week of exchange

The last two weeks of my exchange was an absolute whirlwind. Expect to substitute a lot of sleep in order to spend the last moments with all the amazing people you met over the year. This was exaggerated due to the fact that the Danish summer finally arrived which, apart from long awaited decent weather, resulted in the sun not setting until 11pm and rising at 3am. This really messed with everyone’s body clock.

A lot of time was spent drinking on Svanevej’s rooftop terrace, swimming in Islands Brygge, and/or biking to  Papirøen. Unfortunately, exam season was ever present and brought with it the annoying decision between studying or hanging out with friends. However, if you think this decision is hard while studying at Glasgow, it becomes a lot more painful with exchange friends you don’t know when you’ll see again.

 

IMG_0978

It’s impossible to get a decent group photo


Everyone seems to say that the first week of exchange is the hardest. I would like to strongly disagree with this and tell you that your last week will be the worst. I know the thought of moving to a different country knowing no one sounds daunting, but as soon as you arrive at your dorm, you’ll meet people straight away and everyone is in the same boat as you so it’s actually surprisingly easy to make friends. In fact friendships accelerate quickly during exchange. Straight away you have a lot in common with the people around you; I mean you both chose your location for a reason right?

This is what makes the last week the worst. 3 months doesn’t sound like a long time to know someone, but because you spend all your time exploring Europe together, you get to know people really well. There’s people I’ve been friends with for a number of years whom I don’t feel as close to as the friends I made here. During your last week, people will start to leave at an increasing rate. You’ll be saying goodbye to multiple people every day until it’s your turn to leave, and then you have to say goodbye to the rest. It’s absolutely heart-wrenching.

The closer I came to moving back home, the more I realised that as much as the location of your study abroad is important for your experience, the make-or-break factor to your enjoyment is the friends you make along the way. I was incredibly lucky and made some fantastic friends during both of my semesters, which is why saying goodbye was so excruciating.

It may be the end of my time in Copenhagen, but it’s definitely not the last time I’ll be there, nor is it the last time I’ll see the friends I made on exchange. In fact as I write this, I’m halfway through my flight to Sydney to see my friends I made during my first semester, and I absolutely can’t wait!

 

IMG_0857

Finally reunited

 

 

As always, you can contact me via:

Email: 2121917p@student.gla.ac.uk
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

You can find previous posts I’ve written by clicking this

 

Culture Shock…

A lot of people warned me about experiencing culture shock going abroad. I was told I’d get homesick easily, and to be patient with myself as it would take time to acclimate to a different country. What I wasn’t told is that the culture shock coming home is so much worse.

In all honesty, I don’t think I experienced much culture shock moving out to Denmark. During study abroad you live in this bubble with people from all over the world, so socially, there isn’t a dominant culture.

I spent my whole year experiencing Denmark with new people who were all in the exact same position as me. We’d all made the decision to move to a different country and for some people, this was the first time they’d left home. Danish life was completely new to all of us and there was a comfort in knowing we were all in it together.

 

IMG_6164

Stockholm, Sweden

 

Going on study abroad changes your life immediately. You meet people from all over the world and quickly become close with them. You travel together, study together, and just generally spend every waking moment with them. What once seemed so new and unfamiliar, fast becomes normal. Danish life becomes your life, and all of a sudden, it’s over. 

I moved back into my parent’s house, and after catching up on a month’s worth of sleep, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was used to being able to ride to anywhere in Copenhagen at any time. Now I was in a tiny village in Wales that had 3 buses a day to the nearest town. I hated it. When I hung out friends who hadn’t gone abroad, I’d try not to talk about exchange too much for fear of sounding like that typical ‘gap yah’ student. All I wanted to do was hop on the next plane and start travelling again, I’d become obsessed. I definitely wasn’t the only one either, one of my friends booked an inter-railing trip as soon as he came home, because he too missed being abroad so much. 

 

IMG_6364

The district of Nørrebro, Copenhagen

 

I soon got over the ‘reverse culture shock’ and was left feeling like my whole year in Copenhagen was one long, incredibly realistic dream, and it basically was. I was lucky enough to go travelling almost straight away which helped the slow transition back to being a normal student. I haven’t seen Glasgow in over a year and I’m so excited to go back. I’m even excited to go back to the library, but I’m certain that will fade almost straight away!

 

 

As always, you can contact me via

Email: 2121917p@student.gla.ac.uk
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

 

 

9 to 5 in Paris

Hope you’re all enjoying your summer, whether you’re at home, preparing to go abroad, or like me and stubbornly refusing to go home. I’ve been very pleased about my decision to spend my summer in Paris, but as much as I’d like it to be true, I haven’t just been drinking wine by the Seine for the past two months (though there’s been a fair bit of that too). As I’ve mentioned before, I started a full-time internship with Sciences Po’s communications department, which I then directly followed up with a gig as a consular assistant at the Swedish embassy, where I’m currently still working. I’d like to take this chance to talk about how to get a summer internship or summer job here, if you’re like me and prefer to deal with your separation anxiety by postponing it three months.

At Sciences Po, you will have access to a dedicated Career Service much like the one in Glasgow, called Sciences Po Avenir. If you’re looking for an internship, your first stop should be the vacancies posted here. It’s especially good for gaining Politics/IR-related experience, as plenty of international organizations, think-tanks, or government institutions post vacancies for internships here. UNESCO and OECD tend to advertise special part-time or full-time positions that sometimes aren’t available anywhere else here.

Competition can however be quite fierce, especially for the more high-profile postings. What may present difficulties is the fact that most French students do internships as a compulsory part of their degree, usually for six months at the end of their Masters. You obviously cannot take six months out of your studies just to do an internship, and as a Glasgow student, it is also not accepted as part of your degree, which some organizations require. There are still plenty of things available for shorter periods of time or to be undertaken on a part-time basis. You will also find both French and English-speaking vacancies, though obviously more doors open up if you speak at least some French.

I was mostly applying for internships in English-speaking environments, but I sent out a couple of French applications just to try, not really expecting much. Imagine my surprise when I was not only called in for an interview but was also hired for a 100% French-speaking position. Language milestone achieved! So don’t be afraid of trying for positions even if you’re not completely confident in your language skills, it may very well work out.

Like most things in France, there’s more paperwork involved in taking on an internship than is the case in the UK. For internships, you will need a convention the stage, which will need to be ping-ponged between your university and the organization where you will be working roughly 39 402 times before it’s validated, but this does mean that you are protected by French law which requires your employer to pay you a certain minimum wage, pay half of your transport costs, and give you restaurant tickets to be used to buy lunch. The perks are not that bad.

For an actual job, you will need a numéro de securité sociale. Your employer will usually start the process of this application. As mine has been processing for about two months with no news, I’ll get back to you once I figure out how this one actually works…

I was first hired to be a stand-in consular assistant to cover the summer vacation period all the way back in February. I found out about the vacancy through a Facebook group for Swedish people in Paris and sent in my CV immediately. A lot of things are shared around informal networks like this – your Exchange students Facebook group is a valuable resource!

I’ve really been enjoying both of my professional experiences here and would definitely recommend that you try out all the great opportunities that Paris has to offer if you end up on exchange here. If nothing else, do it for all the abundant pastries that define French office culture.

Final Thoughts About Going on Exchange

I came home from Australia a week ago today, and it honestly feels like I never left. As the new ambassadors start telling their own accounts, I just wanted to write a short blog about what an incredible experience I had whilst on exchange.

If you’re entering a year where applying is an option for you, please consider it. There are so many options available, no matter what your degree is. Living abroad not only gives you a new perspective of the world; it gives you a new-found appreciation for home.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what life studying in Sydney can be like. If you have any specific questions about Macquarie (I know it’s quite an obscure option) then please email me at 2127742E@student.gla.ac.uk.

 

Final Blog: returning back home

Today marks a month since I returned back home from Australia after a seemingly endless (but actual 31 hour) journey back to Europe.

Looking back now, it isn’t so much the study part of studying abroad that I remember (even though I think I spent quite a lot of time studying for an exchange student) but rather the travelling I was able to do during the Australian summer months. Australia has so much to offer from white beaches to rainforests and some incredible wildlife. It really is like another world on the other side of the planet. In addition to flying around much of the country I was fortunate enough to visit New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia.

Rather than boring you with a grand summary of my year abroad I’ll just – for a final time – share some of my favourite pictures of the year with you:

15698034_10211677279705890_1520034833902359415_n16939287_10210833551309150_1395309047857206357_n20258347_10212198910922287_231969125445085698_n20264715_10212198911162293_3319034612644466088_n

20264729_10212198912002314_253989344671260481_n

So, what else do I have left to write? If you’re thinking about coming to Australia for a year abroad, do it. If you’ve chosen to come to Australia for a year abroad already, you’ve made a very good choice. And if you’re in Australia already, you’ll know why. Being able to travel the world as a young person is extremely valuable.

That being said, being home has its very own perks. This is one of them.

20429579_10212198911802309_7143007346072832602_n (2).jpg

Pug (right) and me (left) reflecting on the past year and many adventures to come

Goodbyes

Goodbyes are not my strong suit, so I expected that final drive past Mirror Lake to induce a few tears. The combination of leaving the incredible year I’ve had behind me and allowing all of my new friends to vacate to opposite corners of the map in favour of returning to Glasgow is not something one willingly accepts. In reality, I think all of those emotions must have been put on pause, perhaps due to a combination of packing, having definitively too much luggage and perhaps a little too much goodbye partying. The result then, is that my only conscious memory of leaving UConn seems to be ‘that’s weird, I’m not crying..’ followed in quick succession by ‘I am never drinking again’…

The next few days were spent dog walking in forests in Fairfield and feeding baby bunnies in Madison (long story, they absolutely are as cute as you think) before hauling my entire life this side of the Atlantic onto a New York City bound train.

Which leaves me here, sitting in a New York apartment with my Mum looking at a bunch of photos from my last few weeks and telling some really incredible stories.

I spent ages trying to figure out what I could possibly write in this post to do my time in the US any sort of justice. It got much easier when I came to the conclusion that there’s really nothing I can say to convey the time I had and that probably the best thing I could do is show you those photos I showed my Mum when I first saw her again in New York.

So here goes, photos:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Expectations and Impressions

Hello everyone!

I am Roza and I am doing my second year of Biochemistry on exchange at the UNSW in Sydney, Australia. So first blog! Here it goes!

Expectations

I actually wrote this part on my flight to Sydney given this was the only free time I had these past days. The time before leaving has been a mix of emotions; from high excitement, to stress, to second guessing my decision, and then back to more excitement. However, right now it’s like I don’t feel anything. Anyway, I have been trying not to have a lot of expectations but that it is hard not to when everyone tells you “You are going to have the best year of your life!”. Nevertheless, I feel quite ready to go into this experience all my paperwork is set and I already have a house waiting for me in Sydney! If you need some guidance in terms of paperwork & accommodation feel free to check this: Accommodation Advice and Essential Paperwork

 

Impressions

Flying to Sydney was one of the longest trips I have ever done and despite some serious turbulence I made it safely to the land down under! First impression was a definite change of temperature, I went from high 40s in Athens to low 20s (Celsius) in Sydney. After getting through customs, I was picked up at the airport by a UNSW van which took me home for free. Pretty sweet! The city initially reminded me of North America: with the big, wide streets, large cars and the 7/11 shops. The next few days I set to explore the local beaches. My place is a 5min walk to UNSW and a 20min walk to Coogee beach!

IMG_3930

Coogee Beach

 

 

 

 

 

These past few days have been extremely sunny making it very hard to believe it’s winter. For anyone considering what to pack for the winter here, I would say bring clothes for spring in Glasgow. The dress code here is all over the place; I have seen people in winter jackets, people in shorts, a lot of barefoot people for some reason and even people in bathing suits going for a dip! (Side note: If you want to make most of your luggage space use suction bags. They are super cheap and work like magic!).

While Sydney has some amazing sceneries you have to consider the creatures that inhabit them. And no I am not referring to the local surfers! There are a lot of birds, insects and snakes that live in the city.  A lot of them although extremely beautiful can be dangerous so be aware of your surroundings! But enough talk. Here are some pics I snapped during my first days here:

IMG_3958

Waverley Cemetery

 

 

IMG_3987

Parakeet

IMG_3991

Bondi Icebergs

 

 

 

 

IMG_3989Sunset sky at Maroubra Beach.