Wow. It’s still hard to believe those 3 months in London passed by so quickly, but it feels good to be back in Holland again. The moment I arrived home Sunday night and entered my room, everything felt a bit unfamiliar to me. I was so used to my room in London that I really needed to adapt my mind-set. Also, the fact that I lived in a buzzing world city abroad and in a quite peaceful village at home was a striking difference. I have to accept the fact that I won’t be able to see world-famous sights every day anymore and the possibilities are a bit more limited here. However, focusing on the advantages helps overcoming all this: my family and friends are the number 1 reason why I will always return to Holland with a smile. I can’t wait to spend quality time again with all my loved ones.
Doing the Erasmus-exchange was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m sure almost everyone who has done the same can relate to this. It was such an amazing experience to go into the deep, to live and study abroad in a new city and to get in touch with new people from all around the world. Besides that, I definitely learned more about myself within those 3 months. Once you start living in a country where you’ve never been or only a few times and you don’t know anyone, you’ll truly challenge yourself by figuring out your way of life. No one is there to keep an eye on you, so all the choices you make are up to you. I started noticing certain things about myself I never realized before, and that was really eye opening for me. The beginning is always the hardest part: I missed my family, certain things were unfamiliar to me and I had to make new friends. The latter wasn’t a problem at all, because almost all exchange-students were in the exact same situation as me. This is definitely one of the most fun parts of being on an exchange: since no one knows anyone yet, you’re more open to meet new people and willing to become friends more quickly.
It was a really unique experience to study at a different University. The education system, teaching methods and facilities were all quite new to me, which made my time at Queen Mary University of London definitely an interesting one. The University has a campus in Mile End, where all my lectures and seminars were taught. One of the features I liked the most: the international atmosphere. I’ve never seen so many students with different nationalities in one institution. There was no clear majority, which was the reason why I felt at home very easily. This multi-cultural feature is reflected by the large number of societies (a quite popular phenomenon at my University); almost every big country has its own.
Besides following lectures and other obligatory tasks, I had plenty of time to explore the city. Within a short period of time, I visited most parts of the city and I felt like I needed to look beyond its borders. I planned a day-trip to Stonehenge & Bath, a city-trip to Cambridge, a day-trip to Cambridge and I visited Dover (blog posts about all these places are coming soon!). It was great to discover what the UK has got to offer, apart from its capital city.
All in all, this exchange was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far. I returned home with new friendships and wonderful memories. For everyone who is contemplating studying or working abroad, I’ll only encourage you to go for it!
Lots of love, Manisha