How a forgotten email led me to Berlin

The plane lands, and I am beyond terrified.

Welcome to Berlin. In the arrivals zone stands a tall man kitted in cargo shorts and gripping a crumpled sign announcing ‘CityTravelReview’.

This is not where my adventure begins. Eight months ago, an email landed in my already-overflowing university inbox. For a month, said email sat gathering virtual dust as I scrolled past countless times. On a particularly slow day in Western Bank Library, I decided to open this message as a ‘productive’ break from my own work.

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Algorrobo lectures

My third year abroad is full of wildly unexpected discoveries. This is a year of exploring, questioning and tangibly experiencing the theories that have previously captivated me. This is a time for acting upon my dreams and passions.  Promoting conservation is a part of who I am, so when I discovered that the reforestation charity ARocha has a project on the Peruvian north coast, I found myself itching to investigate. Leaving my home in the Andes, this is what I found.

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Reflecting on my Erasmus semester abroad Summer 2018

This post will reflect on my semester studying abroad in Cologne, Germany, and encourage those considering studying abroad to take the plunge. I studied English Literature at Universität zu Köln on the Erasmus+ programme in my second semester of second year, as a voluntary part of my three-year English and History undergraduate degree. You can find my post on learning German here. After my first month living in Cologne, I wrote a post on the main culture shocks, which you can find here. Despite those differences from my home life, sometimes exciting and others simply frustrating, my five months on the Erasmus+ programme were full of new experiences, travel, and lovely friends. Although my stay was not without its difficulties, a natural occurrence when moving your life to a new country for half a year (more to follow in another post), here are the most rewarding highlights from my semester abroad.


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Top tips for a stress-free Erasmus semester abroad

Heading into the new year, in which many of you may be preparing to jet off on your Erasmus or study abroad, here are three important things to plan ahead. Following my previous post reflecting on my Erasmus semester abroad, here are my top tips for making your trip as stress-free and organised as possible, so you can spend more time enjoying the (cliché but true) experience of a lifetime. Continue reading

Year abroad blog: Angela Merkel and the cockroach problem

The first twenty-four hours were both terrifying and exhilarating. There was an adrenaline-fueled blur of being collected at the airport past nightfall by a complete stranger, taken to my accommodation where I was then presented with my bedroom, bathroom and kitchen; given my keys and a complementary packet of tea “to welcome the English”, and finally left completely alone.

Stepping out the front gate onto a sandy, palm-lined street the following morning, it all hit me. This was it. I had finally arrived. Dakar was home for the next four months, and I was completely on my own. There was no one there to hold my hand, tell me what to do or help me cross the road. It was completely up to me to function in this brand-new part of the globe. How on earth was I supposed to find breakfast?

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A year on from my year abroad – tips to those heading out and those coming back

A little over a year ago, I was just heading home from St John’s, Newfoundland, my last stop of a month travelling coast-to-coast across Canada after finishing my year abroad. Now I’ve just received my results from my third year, I have time to reflect again on my year abroad and the following year. Here are a few bits of advice to anyone heading out on a year abroad this year, and those now returning. Continue reading

An Erasmus conspiracy

I’ve spent the last five months on Erasmus in Madrid and I’ve loved it! The lifestyle is chilled, university classes were fun and I’ve been able to watch endless football matches.

BUT I feel I was sold a lie – this lie began before I even arrived and it regards the weather. I chose Spain mainly to watch the football but also so I could get some sun and a tan however there has been a significant lack of it and I only have two weeks left.  Continue reading