Camryn M. Exchange Ambassador
What is one word to describe your study abroad experience:
"At the end of the day, your life is what you make it and you never know what that spontaneous beach day might bring (like suddenly being a bridesmaid on a beach wedding). Seize the day! (All of them at that)"
Exchange student at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
Studying International Development w/ emphasis on Gender & Development
Winter semester (highly recommend!!! No snow :))
- What is the best thing that happened while you were studying abroad?
While I was abroad I learned so much about myself and recognized what I want for my future self. I met so many amazing people and even got to travel with a special someone after my exchange was completed. Also, having a tan 24/7 was a major bonus.
- What was the biggest cultural adaptation you had to make?
The biggest cultural adaptation I had to make was to the friendly social life and their use of manners in every situation. In any circumstance, you enter a room/building/area and always address everyone by saying good morning or good afternoon.
- Where was the coolest place you travelled to during your study abroad experience?
I really enjoyed the North and a place called Bathsheba, both places offered something so different than the rest of the island. OH! And Sharkhole is a must, I wish I knew about it earlier before leaving!
- What is something that you know now, that you wish you knew before you studied abroad?
I wish I knew how to fully let my walls down and not hold back from anything. I really learned how to not take life so seriously and to seize every opportunity I got for adventure or experiences, whether it be a beach day or going scuba diving with someone I only hung out with twice before. Whenever I put myself out there and let my guard down, that is when I made the best memories.
- What was your best learning moment?
My best learning moment was actually in the last week of my exchange where I realized life is really what I make it and if I really want something or to live a certain way, I can have it. I just have to do it.
- Who was the hardest person to leave from home? How did you deal with that?
My mom was the hardest to leave from at home because not only would I miss her a lot but she would remind me about how much she missed me too. To be honest, though, you're so amazed by your life that you barely have time to think about the people you miss (FaceTime is a saviour though).
- Who was the hardest person to leave that you met while on exchange? How did you deal with that?
I met a boy who I ended up travelling with after and saying goodbye to him after spending almost every day together was sooo hard, especially considering the distance between us. I am still dealing with that goodbye because the difference is that a lot of goodbyes you say at home end with a hello, these goodbyes you never know if you'll get to see them again. I have kept in touch with the people I got close with and reminded myself that I am so lucky and grateful for the experiences I had with everyone I met.
- Would it be helpful to learn another language for this exchange?
In Barbados, English is the primary language used, but there is a very distinct dialect (almost doesn't even sound English), however, you can't learn that until you're completely immersed into the culture here (and still you'll only pick up some of it).
- Did you live on-campus or off-campus? Would you recommend it, and why?
I lived on-campus (Frank Worrell is the best!!), but I had loads of friends who lived off-campus and they loved it too! The only thing is that in Frank you can only have visitors until 1 am and you can't have anyone stay, so if you had a friend wanting to visit you they can't stay in halls. Off-campus was convenient for that reason, but you shouldn't walk alone at night so if are considering a night class, you may want to pick on-campus residence. West terrace was the safest place off-campus and had really cute places for students to stay, so if you're thinking about off-campus living ask the UWI staff member who organizes it to be placed there.
- How did you finance your study abroad experience?
I worked a lot in the summer and saved as much money as I possibly could so I wouldn't have to worry about having to say no to experiences (like scuba diving, rum tours, etc.). I found a lot of people were having this problem a little past halfway, so make sure you pace yourself and save as much as you can before you leave.
- What interesting courses did you get to take while studying abroad? What was the title of the course(s)?
Any course offers something different that Guelph does not, but I would recommend taking the festivals course because you actually get to go to festivals and learn a ton. Also, Wendy Grenade is an incredible professor and her international Politics and Political Economy course was super informative.
- How are you including exchange on your resume?
I include exchange under my education sector while providing a brief synopsis on what I learned and how it has contributed to my self-growth.
- Is there any other helpful information you would like to share with future study abroad participants?
Really and truly don't hold back, dive into the experience full throttle and don't forget to take time to recognize how truly lucky you are to enjoy a new country and new people all while learning. At the end of the day, your life is what you make it and you never know what that spontaneous beach day might bring (like suddenly being a bridesmaid on a beach wedding). Seize the day! (All of them at that)