I went for a walk with my German housemate the other day, and she did a year abroad in England a couple of years ago, and she told me “you’d better find an answer for ‘what was your favourite part?’ because people are going to ask that about your year abroad a lot”. So I’ve been thinking about it ever since and so far I think this would be my answer:
1. The people
As cliché as it sounds, it’s so true. I’ve met some wonderful people over my time here, people with very different backgrounds to me, from vastly different countries, and it has been so interesting to hear all these new perspectives and I’ve felt very privileged to get to know all these new people. I feel like some long term friendships have definitely been made, and hopefully now I have some new holiday destinations too!
2. Feeling lucky every day
Realistically I know that I have a great life and am very lucky, but it can be easy to forget that when I’m smothered in deadlines and the Manchester rain of home. In Heidelberg I know that my time here has an expiry date, not to mention the location is just beautiful, so I find myself appreciating where I am every day and it’s so nice to have that feeling.
3. Appreciation for my course
As an English student at Leicester, I had heard before I took on second year that it would be difficult. The English course is structured so that you have a chronological overview of all major time periods of English literature, and whilst I love the neatness and order of that, not to mention that you get to read the very texts that inspired the later writers, I hated Medieval and Old English literature! I just found it so difficult, and it meant that by the end of the year I’d kind of fallen out with my course a bit. But I came to Heidelberg and got to choose my classes, and I got to study things not on offer at Leicester, and it’s made me remember my love of English all over again. I’m so appreciative of this, because it’s a difficult thing to spend time on a degree you don’t like, especially one like English where you’re probably doing it for the love of the subject and not the secure job at the end of it.
So I think they’re the best things I’ve got out of my year abroad, I’m still mulling it over though, so if anything new occurs I’ll get back to you!