As I sit at the airport waiting for my flight back home to Toronto, I cannot help but think about how fast these past ten months have flown by. I hear announcements being made for flights from London to Ottawa, and I know it will not be long before I am back at Carleton University in September, completing my final year of the Criminology and Criminal Justice program.

This last year has been nothing short of amazing. It’s next to impossible to sum up my experiences abroad in a few hundred words. I am extremely thankful for all of the opportunities I have been given over the past year. Everyone thinks of studying abroad as constant travel, with a new country every weekend, and while I did my fair share of travelling, I also had a huge appreciation for learning at Cardiff University. While studying social sciences at Cardiff, I found myself more engaged in my studies than ever before. With no exams to complete, I was given a different freedom to research and explore essay topics that I was passionate about. Lecturers at the university were always happy to help me with my studies, and learning in a new environment was a challenge that I happily faced at Cardiff. However, I am definitely looking forward to returning to the familiarity of my Carleton University classes.

I am very thankful for the various events and societies that I had the chance to participate in at Cardiff. While at the Cardiff University Study Abroad Fair in November, I had the opportunity to promote my experience abroad as well as my experience at Carleton. I was thrilled when someone came over to our table to inquire about studying in Canada. Returning home, I am looking forward to giving back to the Carleton community, specifically the International Student Services Office. If there is anything I can do to help someone else have an experience just as awesome as mine, I am happy to pass along my knowledge.

I will always say that choosing to study abroad is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, right next to deciding to come to Carleton. I know I will miss everything about Cardiff next year, from the English chocolate bars to my extremely generous flatmates who will always hold a special place in my heart. I am excited to return to Carleton for my final year, and even more excited to spend it with the people who have been by my side throughout my entire university journey.

If studying abroad crosses your mind at any point, you should definitely go for it! You will not regret it.