Student Profile: “This is a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity, don't leave anything to regret.”
Emily Pickstock is a Trent University student majoring in Political Studies and International Development Studies, she went on an exchange to Plymouth University in Plymouth, UK.
Emily decided to study abroad to experience a new culture and new perspective on her disciplines. She believes that it's important to understand how other countries think and operate. Her advice to fellow students is to take every opportunity that’s given to you. “This is a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity, don't leave anything to regret,” she says. This experience has completely changed her view of the world, Emily found the fundamental differences in the communities in the UK in how they view North America, and how they think quite surprising and very enlightening. Studying abroad has offered her a new perspective in relation to her majors.
Emily`s plans were to stay in Ontario and find a job here after graduation, however, she now sees the value in experiencing the world and knows that wants to learn as much as she can. “I will be exploring my options of internships and job opportunities abroad,” she affirmed with enthusiasm. Through her recounting of her experience abroad, this trip was quite impactful for Emily. “I have learned countless new things; I have a completely different outlook and a much more critical understanding of the world. I only imagine that will grow as time goes on. I have learned a lot about myself, yet somehow am left with more questions, in a good way. I have matured tenfold since I got here, I have overcome a lot of mental struggles with anxiety and depression which abruptly presented themselves to me when I arrived. I have only grown and learned what is important to me in this time.”
“If you plan on traveling,” adds Emily, “do your research so you know where your expectations should be.” The course system in the UK is much different and in many ways, yet not difficult to adapt to.
“The student life is LIVELY here; I think all around the UK. It is pretty much a party every day. There are also endless “societies” (clubs) you can join. Plymouth has pretty much everything. There’s fencing, photography, a health style one where you learn first aid, and even underwater hockey!” Plymouth has great night life, but shopping and transit can sometimes be a little expensive. However, the city is full of beautiful places to visit and only a 11$ train ticket away for great shopping!
Emily was able to make it to London and see all the sites before she got to Plymouth, however, she does not recommend traveling before you get settled in to your accommodation as it was a huge rush of emotions. Everything is different in so many ways even in an English speaking country. “My advice is to be prepared,” she says, “it’s overwhelming.”
All the friends Emily has made during her stay are lifelong friends. “I will be coming back as frequently as possible after my study abroad is over!”
In her own words, the benefits of studying abroad are endless. Sometimes you do not even realize how much your perspective and life has changed until you really look back at four months ago. This is a once in a lifetime, priceless opportunity.
You can also participate in an academic exchange abroad! For more information, take a look at the destinations offered by Trent Study Abroad on our website, or contact our Study Abroad Advisor Kate Logan.