Illustration: Yomi Orims. Photos: David Campion-Smith.
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Coming home

Since my semester abroad is over, and I’m starting back at the University of Ottawa this term, I thought it would be the perfect time to look back and reflect on my short time in the U.K. as a whole.

I decided to go overseas for a variety of personal reasons, chief among them being the desire to travel. I wanted to do something, not unique, but that would make the story of my education different than just four years and a degree.

The physical act of traveling was such a huge part of it that it feels difficult to overstate. Knowing that I could grab some friends and explore a whole other country the next weekend was an intoxicating thought. I found myself always planning, always thinking of where the next trip was—something that doesn’t usually cross my mind living here in Ottawa.

Attending the University of Reading has been great, and all of the staff and admin there were unbelievably helpful in making sure that all the international students got settled. In fact, the U of O International Office also made this trip as easy for me as possible, which I found pleasantly surprising. They put up with my annoying and repetitive questions, and then put up with many of those same questions in e-mails from England.

What I’m going to miss most from my semester abroad is the sense of adventure. Everything was exciting and new, even simple things like using new currency. There was always a little moment in the day where you realized that you were overseas, that you were somewhere other than home.

The hardest part about being back in Ottawa is just moving on. It feels like things were on pause here while I was gone, and now I have to pick everything back up where I left off. Well, that and the weather.

I’m supposed to be wrapping things up in this column, and providing a sense of closure on my  trip. This is very difficult for me to do, because that experience has become such a large part of who I am now, and who I want to become in the future.

If any of you are at all thinking about doing a semester abroad make sure you do your research early, and don’t be afraid to talk to the wonderful people at International Office.

While this is a huge project involving a lot of moving parts, it’s completely worth it. You have an awesome opportunity to go engage for an extended period of time with another culture, an opportunity that made me better off for taking it.


  • Spring 2022: Desiree Nikfardjam Fall 2021: Zofka Svec 2020-2021: Aisling Murphy 2019-2020: Ryan Pepper 2018-2019: Iain Sellers 2017-2018: Ryan Pepper