#UbishopsAbroad: Meet Raluca Petria

#UbishopsAbroad: Meet Raluca Petria

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 Raluca Petria, a #Ubishops student doing a Major in Psychology and Neuroscience, who went to Keele University (England) during the Fall 2016 semester and to California State University during the Winter 2017 semester.

 

In my first year, I was told Bishop’s University had excellent exchange opportunities and the upper year students I had met highly recommended doing an exchange. Three of my roommates were exchange students and I was amazed by how much they could teach me, how different life in their home country was and what interesting customs they could share. Consequently, I decided to apply for an exchange to England and California for the upcoming year, two places I had always wanted to visit.

I rapidly bought my plane ticket and made plans to backpack across Europe for a month prior to my exchange and visit some of the exchange students I had met at Bishop’s. I visited Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and it was an absolute blast! I got to learn about different cultures by participating in guided tours throughout each city I visited and soaked up on history. Each city was unique, from Dresden’s monuments marked by a rich history, Geneva’s great diversity… to Austria’s refreshing mountain landscapes and Geneva’s busy city life.

Keele University, which became my home for the fall semester, quite resembles Bishop’s. It is located outside of any major city and its campus is as vast and green as ours. When the Keele ambassadors arrived to pick us up at the airport, I immediately became acquainted with other exchange students from Europe, Korea, and the USA. Orientation was amazing; I went to Club day and participated in as many activities as I could! Keele is very welcoming and offers a lot of support to incoming exchange students. I was paired with a mentor, who studied Neuroscience, and was invited to numerous activities designed to integrate us in life at Uni.

Going to Great Britain was an excellent opportunity for me to learn about British culture and travel the country on weekends. I had an amazing group of friends with whom I would often go to visit nearby cities; travelling was so easy by train! This enabled me to go to the Birmingham Christmas market and see “The Tempest” at the Royal Shakespeare theatre, in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace!

I also participated in a program called “Host”, where I would spend a day with a local. My host was an elderly lady from Coventry and she and I spent a marvellous day hiking and enjoying the outdoors. The best thing was that I got to meet so many different people, from all over the world, and learned a lot from them. Everyone was so nice to me and by the end I felt like a local myself!

Before I came back home, I got to spend my first Christmas (in 10 years!) with my family back in Romania and celebrated the new year in London.

My second semester was as exciting as the first! Coming from England, California was a bit of a shock to me as the distances felt huge and it was a bit harder to find my way around. I lived in residence with another exchange student, from Maryland. She and I became close friends and travelled together, with friends we had met in Cali, to Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas. We enjoyed the great weather and the beautiful mountains!

The experiences I had are the most valuable and the friendships, everlasting. I am still very close to the friends I made in England and California, and I am planning on visiting them soon. I have definitely been bitten by the travel bug and hope to travel more in the future!

To learn more on how you could benefit from a study abroad experience like Raluca, visit our website!
http://www.ubishops.ca/future-current-students/student-exchange-and-study-abroad-programs/

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