Written by an alumni of the UK Experience program
In December 2017, I hopped on a plane and traveled to the other side of the world for the adventure of a lifetime. I was not disappointed. I experienced all of the crazy and confusing things you’ll always find in different countries. There were amazing friends, a kind host family, incredible travel, a welcoming college and memories that I will never forget.
My host family was a single mum and her five-year-old daughter. They were welcoming, and helpful with anything that I didn’t understand. My host mum, Hayley, helped me organize my travel by showing me the best places to go and the cheapest ways to get there. She was an amazing host mum who was always looking out for me. My host sister was very cute. Waking up on Christmas Day with an excited five-year-old gives you a whole new perspective on life and how amazing small things really are.
One of the things I loved most about my exchange was Exeter College. I had three classes at college: history, classical civilization, and film and video. I also took an additional class of Latin. I loved these classes. They were so different from New Zealand schools which made things very interesting and broadened my knowledge of education. Exeter college was a really good place to learn about other cultures, which was helpful in becoming a traveler. I knew that I always had the school’s support, which made things so much easier as I came to grips with this whole other life I now had. I made some amazing friends. We went out for dinner, hot chocolate, pizza, and shopping. It was so much fun!
There is always that small fear that you won’t be able to make any friends, but I promise it’s not as difficult as you would imagine. It was incredibly hard leaving college on my last day, having the friends I’d made peel off the group to go to their classes for the last time. But I wouldn’t change anything, it was a fantastic two months.
“The world is massive, and there is so much to see, but none of it is impossible. If you believe you can do it, then you can do anything.”
Another thing I loved about my exchange was traveling. One of the most important things for me was to keep busy and do as much as I could. This helped keep any homesickness away, and it was also absolutely amazing! So, I traveled. Every and any free day that I had I was off somewhere new. I think that by the end of my trip I had visited at least 23 different towns in England and two towns in Wales. Although most of the travel I did was alone, I met the most amazing people along the way. I learned so much, more than I ever dreamed I would get the chance to. I really loved getting out and seeing everything that I could: King Henry VIII Castles, the London Museum, Pagan festivals, underground passages, handling birds of prey, zoos, beaches, churches, boat rides, tour buses, and so many other things. I had the time of my life!
This was the experience of a lifetime, one that I can’t quite put into words. I have grown and accomplished so much, and I am very proud of all I have achieved. I will forever remember my amazing friends and all of the people I met along the way. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I wasn’t for them.
“There is always that small fear that you won’t be able to make any friends, but I promise it’s not as difficult as you would imagine.”
If someone has the opportunity to experience something like this, then I will always recommend that they go for it. Make the decision to always give your best, take advantage of every opportunity that is thrown your way, and spend every moment you have doing something that you have dreamed about or doing something you love. The world is massive, and there is so much to see, but none of it is impossible. If you believe you can do it, then you can do anything.
Learn more about our UK Experience Program and start your exchange journey today!