Year abroad - university's unique educator
Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences student Jeevan writes about his year abroad:
I have held back passing on many of my thoughts and stories from an incredible year abroad. But as one cohort of LANS students make their final decisions about where to go and another cohort’s year enters full flow, I thought now would be a prudent time to let my thoughts out. The following is adapted from something I wrote down on day 235 of my year abroad. Hopefully the musings of a student in the twilight of their year abroad does not bore you!
So, it’s day 235 of my year abroad. Which means I’ve been away from home for 235 days. This is pretty scary when I think about it because 17 days was my previous record. However, what is perhaps scarier is that I have less than 100 days left on my year abroad and exams are beckoning. Now would seem like an apt time for a ‘short’ reflection (in the true liberal arts spirit) on my experiences so far and to make sure that I make the most of what is left of what is a truly unique experience.
I’m not going to write something conventional. That’s not the way I do things. So, here’s an unconventional take on things so far.
So many people say they return from their year abroad “changed”. Change is a strong word. What does that really mean? For me, that’s become such a clichéd aspect of the year abroad experience. I have not exactly changed but year abroad has given me the opportunity to rediscover who I am. It’s a unique chance to be able to fully express yourself and be who you want to be - to live your best life. I would describe it as a weird reverie of youth but there were no mistakes to be made and more importantly, no regrets. I've stopped saying ‘no’ and started saying ‘yes’ much more. There are 24 hours in each day and I try to use as many of them as possible. Whether that is studying, sport, socialising or just general exploring. So many of my favourite spots I have just stumbled upon by walking with no aim in mind and seeing where I end up. Nothing is too much, and everything seems possible and my penchant for blue-sky thinking has returned with a vengeance. I can be at rugby training session one evening, on a plane the next and back in time for lectures the next Monday - and repeat the following week. Life is full of vigour and spontaneity is the order of the day. Before anybody asks, yes, I do go to lectures and work is considerably harder and there is much more of it here. I know this will pay dividends when it comes to final year (and my finals this year). I must give HKU and my roommate, Sean a big thank you for instilling an incredible work ethic into me!
Everybody starts out with different intentions and motivations for wanting to study abroad. I know that I simply wanted to push myself in whatever manifestation “pushing myself” could be. I was not sure how this would play out. But I think I’ve pushed myself to make the most of every opportunity and live without any regrets. It’s clear to me that these transformative experiences will define my year abroad. For me, Year Abroad is University’s unique educator. Perhaps the greatest irony is that I never want to get on the plane that takes me home.