Farewell to the BISC

As I prepare for the last week of classes at the castle, I find it hard to focus on writing my final essays and studying for exams. When I leave the BISC, it won’t just be the school that I’ll miss.

Sitting in my windowsill and staring out at the English countryside on this first day of spring, I find myself recreating the memories of my various travels and adventures that I’ve been lucky enough to experience during my time in Europe.

With the way my classes were scheduled this term, I was able to secure a four-day weekend. For the past 11 weeks, I’ve been able to plan more trips and activities than I’ve probably ever been able to in my life. It seems unreal that I visited Bruges, Ghent, Paris, Stockholm and Kiruna all within a span of two weeks — not to mention having spent almost every other weekend since January in either Brighton or London.

The main focus of this year, for me at least, has been the travelling. There have been many times where I carelessly put planning trips ahead of organizing my schoolwork and studying. I’ve learned a lot about living independently that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t chosen to spend my first year abroad.

Living in the English countryside is beautiful, but there have been many times where I miss living in a city. To live near grocery stores and late-night take-out places will be nice next year. Like any other first-year student, I’m eager to leave behind the day-to-day lifestyle of living in a dorm. I won’t miss sharing a single fridge with at least 50 other people and having to pay triple the originally-anticipated price for laundry when the dryer doesn’t work properly.

Thanks to friends already in Kingston this year, I have an idea of what main campus at Queen’s is like. I also realize there’s a lot that I can’t fully prepare myself for, like the cold. Even while dog sledding in Kiruna, Sweden, the temperature never reached below -5º C.

My main concern has been figuring out my housing situation for next year in Kingston, without actually ever having been to the campus. Luckily, friends in Kingston helped out with looking at houses and apartments for my future housemates. My landlord was very accommodating when it came to our lack of knowledge about Queen’s and renting an apartment.

I know that I’ll miss being able to easily travel to so many diverse places and I already know that I’ll regret not having appreciated my time in the U.K. as much as possible. For now, all I can do is try to make the most of the time I have left.

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