#UbishopsAbroad : Meet Marian Neeser-Carazo

The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) launched the Learning Beyond Borders program to provoke a national conversation on learning abroad.

At Bishop’s University, we nurture studying abroad as a transformational life-changing experience, opening minds to different ways of living, promoting understanding, contributing to academic success, enhancing communication skills, self-awareness, and adaptability. It also offers opportunities to develop soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving, deemed necessary in a global workforce. To promote this national conversation, we are featuring Bishop’s students who have taken advantage of our study abroad program.

Meet Marian Neeser-Carazo, a #Ubishops student doing a Major in English, Media Cultural Studies, and a Minor in History, who went to Keele University (England) during the Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 semesters.

“To say I was excited to go to England is an understatement. I have been fascinated by its history and peoples for over a decade, and so my childhood interest has lead me to take a History Minor (a great excuse to take English history classes) and a Major in English Literature. I had known since my first year at Bishop’s University that I would go to England in my third year, and so it was that after a summer of intense work and a stressful visa application process that I finally boarded a plane in Calgary and took my first flight across the Atlantic.

I arrived at Heathrow airport at 10am in late September 2016 and was immediately greeted by a bunch of Keele representatives who took down my name, grabbed my luggage, and lead me to the buses where a dozen international students were chatting excitedly despite being exhausted from flights that had been up to 36 hours long. Beside our bus the Paralympic athletes, who had just returned from the Summer Olympics, were being loaded onto their own coach, and we watched them trying to see if we could recognize anyone before their bus drove away and our bus driver told us to sit down. I was tired so I claimed a row of seats in the quietest part of the bus and I didn’t wake up until we were entering Keele grounds. England is a beautiful country, but it is not known for its sunshine, and so I was not surprised to see the cloudy sky as we hauled our suitcases to our designated dorms.

I had chosen a four-person apartment in Barnes, and I was relieved to find that I was only on the second floor (or the 1st floor as the British call it) in a freshly renovated apartment. My room was small but it looked nice so I began to unpack before deciding to take a quick picture to send to my family.

The sun did not shine until the following day when I woke up and decided to visit the area. Keele used to be a country estate and Keele Hall survives and is used as an administrative building, but there are also extensive woodland walks and some very nice old houses that used to belong to Keele’s servants. Keele is situated a 20 minute bus ride from Stoke-on-Trent which is a 45 minute train ride from both Manchester and Birmingham with a high speed train connection that will take you to London in 90 minutes. Like Bishop’s, Keele has some beautiful grounds, and I spent many hours walking around them and taking pictures.

The central location of the Stoke train station allowed me to easily access any part of the country, and my Youth Rail Pass gave me a 30% reduction on all train tickets (it cost me $38 CDN but it saved me over $650 CDN over 8 months). In those few months I went everywhere from the Lake District to Marazion and its Saint Micheal’s Mount. I also got to go to Chatsworth (Pemberly in the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice) with my flatmate, York, Bath, and of course London. I also stayed with a Welsh family for free over a long weekend through a program that Keele offers its exchange students.

I had a wonderful time, took some very interesting classes, and I made some great friends whose Facebook chats occasionally wake me up at 4am due to the 5 hour time difference. I hated leaving, but I knew I had an equally beautiful campus to return to and that helped to make the long return journey bearable. I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to England in the next couple of years, but there are so many things that I wasn’t able to do while there that I will definitely have to return.”


To learn more on how you could benefit from a study abroad experience, visit our website!


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