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GO Student AmbassadorsInternational Exchange

Niamh O’Reilly

11 January 2021

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

International Exchange Placement

Where did you go?

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

What motivated you to take up a year abroad?

I’ve had a desire to study abroad from a young age, enhance my CV and experience a different culture.

What were your top 3 highlights from your time abroad?

  1. Travelling away from Vancouver including Las Vegas, Vancouver Island and Grouse Mountain
  2. Watching an NHL game
  3. Exploring Vancouver and the UBC campus

What was your biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?

Making friends and settling into a new environment was my biggest challenge. I overcame it by going out of my way to chat to classmates and eventually formed lifelong friendships with people I would have never expected to.

How has your placement been beneficial to your studies at Cardiff University or your future career?

It has taught me how to adapt to new and challenging situations and become comfortable with travel and planning. It’s also enhanced my budgeting and life skills. The experience also helped me to overcome mental health issues and taught me how education works outside of the UK.

What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you left?

How to budget for things such as visas and unexpected costs.

What would you say to a student that was unsure about spending a period abroad?

I would say that it will probably be the most challenging thing you ever do, however it will also be the most rewarding, fun and will be something you will only get to do once.

What are 3 things to do in Vancouver?

  • Visit Downtown Vancouver as much as you can
  • Go skiing or snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain or Whistler
  • Make the most of the beautiful campus

Please sum up your experience abroad in one sentence.

Studying at UBC was the best thing I will ever do, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to achieve some of my dreams. I would do it again in a heartbeat.