Seeing as I have been back in the UK now for nearly a month and haven’t updated anything in terms of my Canadian experience since March, I thought that a general overview was needed to tie off any loose ends.
I absolutely loved my time in Montreal and I’m certainly starting to miss it more now I’ve been home for a while. By far the thing I miss most about my year abroad is the people, I made friends for life during my two semesters at Concordia and it feels very strange to go from seeing them every day to not at all. However in this wonderful technological world that we live in I’m fortunate in that these friends are never more than a Snapchat or FaceTime away whether they are in Canada, France or Australia.
Another element of post-study-abroad syndrome/reverse culture shock that I’m experiencing is the sudden change from immense freedom to the monotonous routine. While I experience a very similar thing when returning home from university in Hertfordshire, the fact that Montreal was a vibrant city with never a dull moment, and that this year contained a lot of travelling to places I had never been before, means that I am feeling the suffocation of a rural town a lot more than before.
I’m sure this restlessness will either be enhanced or disappear once I begin summer work and dissertation research (let’s hope it’s the latter), but it is important to accept that I am not the same person who left my mum and brother at Heathrow Airport on August 23rd 2014. Study abroad has made me grow in confidence, assured me of my ability to live independently and adapt to whatever situation the universe deals me. In addition to these personal victories, I feel like my academic skills have improved with this extra year of study and I feel much more confident with asserting my voice and argument in historical writing. It also has become apparent that spending a year surrounded by French has actually worked! Only after returning home did I realise that I know much more than I thought, my bilingual envy of Montrealers obviously masked my own improvement which I am determined to not lose now I have three French-less months ahead of me.
Overall, I am so grateful of this experience and cannot wait to watch how the positive repercussions of this year abroad effect the rest of my life.
Thank you for having me Montreal, until we meet again.