The Catawba Family, President's Ball 2013

The Catawba Family, President’s Ball 2013

Studying abroad at Roanoke College in Virginia has been without a doubt the greatest experience had during my degree. A small liberal arts college nestled in amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke College provided me with the home from home experience that any student would welcome when studying abroad for the first time. Home to only 2,000 students, the friendly and community feel of the Roanoke campus helped me settle in right away. Housed in the International Dorm ‘Catawba’, it was clear from the get-go I had inherited more than friends from this year abroad, but family.

Having previously only visited California, and the bustling metropolis that is New York City, I had no idea what to expect arriving in Virginia. Not one of the traditional “vacation” states, I have to say I was overwhelmed at what Virginia had to offer in terms of history and beauty, and stand by my conviction that it boats one of the prettiest landscapes in the American East.

Studying abroad presented all of us with new challenges and opportunities and I cannot stress enough the importance of seizing them with both hands!

As well as embarking on a life changing coast-to-coast Road Trip across the American South, with Roanoke as my home base, I was also able to travel a great amount of the East coast during the semester, form Pennsylvania down to the Florida beachfronts. And although very much a small town, the beauty of the Roanoke Valley provided a host of things to do, for the more outdoorsy types especially!

From studying abroad I have not only had the chance to progress in my studies, encouraged by Roanoke College’s high academic standards, but through my travels and experiences in the States, I have grown within myself. From visiting the White House, to seeing the Dalai Lama, from basketball games to hiking incredible mountain ranges, attending political rallies to being within 20 feet of the President himself, my time in America has thrown more opportunities at me in one short year than I’d experienced in my entire degree to date.

Studying abroad in America has given me the confidence to consider living and working abroad following graduation. Although not entirely sure which career path I wish to explore just yet, my experiences in America have opened a door to a future that stems far outside of the United Kingdom.

There must be a thousand and one blogs giving a seasoned students advice on studying abroad, any frantic google search will tell you that, but what I found most encouraging myself, was the honest down-to-earth accounts of life all those miles away from home in ‘murica. And with that in mind, the blog I kept whilst abroad attempts to provide just that. For more detailed information on my experiences abroad please follow this link: http://heyhaylie.blogspot.co.uk/

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