Part 6

Last week marked the half way point of my international exchange to Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania. Although I have been here for almost three months telling people the name of the University I attend doesn’t get any less funny. When I signed up to do my exchange in November last year I had a huge mix of emotions; happy for the opportunities, scared of leaving home comforts and optimistic of the potential opportunities throughout and afterwards. It is fair to say I still feel most of these same emotions every week. I do now know however this was the best decision I could have made approaching the final year of my University studies. I have not only learned a lot about myself from an academic standpoint but I have also done a lot and I mean a lot of cool stuff.

I have visited Orlando, Florida to watch the NFL all-star game and watched a band I have followed since high school called ‘The Casualties’, play a punk show in a dive bar. I sung ‘I’m on my way’ by The Proclaimers at the Uni bar karaoke night, simply to represent the home land. I have watched the greatest ice hockey player of all time, Sidney Crosby, play in PPG paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have hugged ‘Finn’, the Canucks mascot watching two top class NHL games in Rodgers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I have ice skated at the Pittsburgh Penguins practice facility and this is in between studying and meeting new friends!

One thing I was unsure about before I left to attend my exchange was if I was going to meet any people that were going to be unfortunate enough to spend time with me. I can say know I have no idea why I was so worried. I have met friends from all the following places; United States, Mexico, Australia, Belgium, China, Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and many more. We have also arranged to have some visitors back over to Edinburgh after the semester and for this year’s Edinburgh Festival…they have no idea what they are in for! I can truly say I’ve met some friends for life.

So, what’s next? I am going to Detroit Michigan this coming weekend with the Universities Art dept. to visit some art museums and spend some time in the City which was once described as the most dangerous in the world. Nice. I am a huge Detroit Lions (NFL) fan so art student or not, I was going. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. The following week I fly to New York to see my wife, for the first time in ten weeks! We will spend five days together, enjoying the City and going to see the New York Knicks play in Madison Square Garden. That was my choice…not hers. We are going on a University trip to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play the New York Yankees at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. After that myself and my friend Mabel from Mexico are driving up to Toronto via Niagara Falls to visit a friend of mine from California, I met whilst he was studying his Masters in Edinburgh. We will go see the Toronto Blue Jays play baseball and enjoy some of the Ontario nightlife. Good times!

And that’s where I am at…For more please see my blog. Also, if you’re thinking about doing an international exchange but are unsure if it’s worth it. Do it, simple as that. If you have a question about a potential exchange I am more than happy to try and answer it! Get me at Cheers! Greg.

Semester Abroad Experiences

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