Each semester, Carleton students get one week off classes for reading week. In 2017, I spent Fall reading week in the United Kingdom, where I visited Edinburgh, Scotland as well as Leeds, York and London, England. I have always wanted to travel to the UK, and so when my two friends told me they were going on exchange to Leeds for the Fall term, my immediate reaction was, “I’m coming to visit you.” At first, it was wishful thinking, but it became more real when another friend expressed interest in travelling there with me. I didn’t believe it until we actually bought the plane tickets in October, and then the excitement really kicked in.

Around the world, there are many universities you can attend on exchange through Carleton, and my two friends decided to study at the University of Leeds because the courses they offered complemented their program. We are all Environmental Science students, so I learned about the courses that my friends were taking in England. From my perspective, they offer an important point of view on the environment, and my friends greatly enjoyed their studies “across the pond.” From meeting new people, being immersed in a similar yet different culture, and travelling through Europe on the weekends, their semester abroad combined learning with adventure.

While I spent just one week in the UK, rather than a semester, it was an amazing opportunity to witness the exchange process through my close friends. The experience led me to consider a Master’s programs offered in the United Kingdom and has provided me with a more global perspective on education. Learning in another country is an interesting option that enriches and expands the university experience. Exchanges, Master’s degrees and work terms abroad are all options for travelling to new places and adding to your knowledge base. Whether you do so for a semester, a full year, or even a week, it is sure to be a memorable experience. My time in the UK was definitely my favourite reading week to date!