1 June 2015

Reflecting on University and Life

I've almost finished my second year at university. Only one more exam and I'm done, ready to start a new chapter in my education journey.

These past two academic years have meant so much to me, not just as a student but as a person aiming to growing up and learning from other cultures. Looking back, I don’t recall to have been a different person; my relatives and friends don’t say that I've radically changed. But I, as well as them, perceive an evolved mindset and behaviour. And as much as this may sound overconfident, I feel proud.
To get to my university and to move to a new country were, to me, two challenges that came in one package. I wanted to do something different that would placate my thirst for knowledge and my ambition to be mobile. Although I have taken in a lot from these two years of study, my curiosity will never stop; besides, I have learnt a lot about how to be independent. Packing every two months and a half or less and jumping on a plane to get back home; being away from my loved ones; managing new situations by myself; these were all conditions that I understood I had to embrace when leaving for university, and I did. Even though it was scary, I climbed up that ladder of challenges and got to the top. Even though people questioned what I did, I chose to keep my head high and go on.

It was hard at first to get into the university routine, like for all students. But I enjoyed it as I like learning. Following lectures, seminars, workshops didn't just mean taking notes to me; they meant exposing myself and my insecurities in a classroom with people who had more experience than I did in that country, people who had known the academic system longer than I did. I slowly tried to absorbe as much as I could and I did, but I know I can do better than this; I can still go beyond.

Coming from a country where students rarely get jobs, I have learnt what it means to 'get work experience'. I got part time jobs and, even though that may sound naive, it was, in a way, a bit of a discovery for me.

From a university where equality is highly valued, I have started questioning how my gender is treated in daily life; the differences between men and women in society, history, culture.

I have learnt how to act, think, read and write in other languages. I have embraced, even if with some difficulties, other cultures: how to speak and deal with people from specific countries, even if that meant acknowledging stereotypes. I have done that through my job as an International Ambassador, as a foreign student and as a friend of other foreign students.

I have made a choice to embrace a physical and mental activity, yoga, that would bring me peace and balance and a strong and open body and heart as opposed to the strictness experienced in ballet. Yoga will never take away my love for dancing, but it has helped me understand what actually feels good.

I have learnt how to stop and think, aka meditate, and understand gratefulness and keeping a loving-kind and positive mindset. And along with those, to ignore the skepticism that often accompanies them.

I have created my baby blog! I have learnt so much about the blogging world and have proudly become a part of it. I understood that writing is a beautiful way to express oneself, liberate thoughts and become creative. And sharing it makes it even better.

Accomplishing goals is hard and it often feels impossible until you have. Nothing of what I've done, that I've written in this post has been easy. But I find it amazing to think that working hard, sometimes forcing yourself, can help you embrace challenges and feel complete. To do that, it's necessary to accept the obstacles that come along with them, that life can't be perfect; and the best thing is to keep going knowing that those imperfections are there to help and make us feel complete.

I can't wait to move on to another country, Spain, and embrace the novelties and challenges that will make my experience. Will it be hard? Yes. But it's good to do your best and see what happens, both while studying and just in life as a whole.


  1. Spain!!! I love Spain. I wish I spoke Spanish but I loved it all the same.

  2. where in Spain? Barcelona? Madrid?

  3. I will be spending the first half of my year abroad studying in Valencia, I then hope to find a job in Barcelona :)

  4. Hello from another Bristol student! I am just coming to the end of my own year abroad and have loved it and definitely learnt a lot from the experience... I am full of admiration that you're doing your whole degree abroad !

  5. Thank you Camilla! Shame that we won't get to see each other. Where did you go? Looking forward to reading your blog. Assia x

  6. Beautifully written! It's amazing that you have made the journey this far and have already learned so much. I envy your international education experience being a college grad in the start of my own career. God speed you and your endeavors in Spain! Take lots of pictures, share your experiences with us and keep your head up when things get tough!

  7. Hi dear Shannon! Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate. I will obviously share my experiences with all of you and keep you updated <3

  8. Congratulations!! :) My friend lived in Spain for almost two years to study Spanish and he absolutely loved it there! Best of luck!!

  9. I know, bad timing! I've been working near Paris. Your combination of working and studying in two different cities sounds like it will be a lot of fun! x

  10. Wow, your French must be amazing then! I hope it will be :)

  11. Congratulations on your achievements so far! I bet it's inspiring for young women who feel they can't go to another country and study/work/etc. You have proved that yes they can! :-)

  12. Thank you so much! This is such a beautiful comment. At first, I didn't think about that aspect, but the more I studied feminism and women's writing at uni, the more I realised how independent I wanted to be. I hope that many other girls will be doing that! <3