My year at NJC has definitely been the most memorable of my life. I say this for many reasons, with one of the most prominent being the amount of fun and amazing experiences I’ve had. A lot of this, obviously, is centered around the travel. Being in the middle of Europe, and having the opportunity to visit so many amazing destinations that are so close by, has been an experience of a lifetime. Getting to explore a new city or country pretty much every weekend has been indescribably amazing. Not only has all this exploring been fun, but also very educational. Learning about all the different cultures of Europe and experiencing them first-hand was enlightening and hugely gratifying.
While all this has been amazing, what truly made my experience at NJC great was the people. All of the travel, the independence and the experience wouldn’t have been the same without everyone that made NJC what it was. Sometimes I look back to the start of the year, when everybody was just getting to know each other, and laugh. How close we’ve gotten as a group since then is incredible. One of the things that I’ll miss most about my time at NJC is this bond. I can literally start a conversation with just about everyone and have a good laugh, and I know everyone so well at this point in the year that I feel like the entire class is just a big group of friends. I’ll miss all the casual conversations and small talk that made each day great. While these people made this year amazing, there are a few people that made it unforgettable. These few people not only defined my year, but made me a better person. They helped me when I was down, helped make some of the best parts of the year and, in general, were an absolute pleasure to be around. This year abroad has forged friendships that will last a lifetime, and I can honestly say that I look forward to growing old with and sharing more adventures with some of the best friends, and people, that I’ve ever met.
As I mentioned previously, some of the amazing people I met helped me become a better person, which brings me to my last point. My personal development while away from home this year has been one of the most rewarding and important parts of the entire experience. At the start of the year, when I first came here, I was quite different. One of the most obvious things that changed about me was my sense of independence. When you’re here, you’re basically in charge of everything you do. The school is certainly there to help, but at the end of the day you’re still in charge of getting your work done on time, getting to school on time, travelling safely, making important decisions and deadlines and, in general, taking care of yourself. At first, this was extremely hard, but it led to me gaining a sense of confidence and independence. Now, when I’m making decisions or travelling, I feel so much more sure of myself than I did before. I also used to be quite shy. At the airport in Toronto, at the beginning of the year, I remember being so so nervous. This, however, quickly changed. As we are such a small group and pretty much forced to talk to each other, I ended up talking to people that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I would say that this proved to be one of the most valuable experiences of my life. Through talking to and being around these people for months, and being away from home and everyone I knew, I figured out what I did and didn’t like, and what I could and couldn’t live with. It ended up helping me figure out more about who I really am, who I want to be and what I want to do. This truly did help me overcome my shyness, and I’ve never felt so optimistic, confident and sure of myself as I do after this year. I truly feel that I’ve progressed as a person through this experience, and while it has been extremely fun, it has also been extremely fulfilling.
Neuchâtel Junior College is the first place where I’ve actually wanted to come to school. Showing up and learning, seeing everyone and just being a part of the atmosphere is a complete joy. When I think back to how torn I was at the end of first semester over my decision to stay or leave, I feel so glad that I stayed. This year has been truly incredible. It has been such a deeply enjoyable and gratifying experience to be able to step outside and see the world, and I’m so glad that I did it. I’m so grateful to all the amazing students and staff that made this year what it was and I can genuinely say that it changed my life. I’ll cherish these memories forever.