Learning to love SFU - a story about exchange

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Ever heard the saying “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”? Well, I did too, but never thought it would apply to SFU – if anything, at this time last year, I was beyond keen to take a break from this place that I had become so used to and experience a change of scenery, one that didn’t include nearly as much rain and fog. It was around October that I had actually just received my acceptance letter to study abroad at Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia; and trust me, it would’ve been hard to find a more excited person on campus that day.

Fast forward to February this year, my time to fly off to the other side of the planet – a place where I had never been and literally knew no one, but somewhere I would be calling home for five months, whether I liked it or not.

But as you all guessed, of course I would like it. In fact, I loved it! I don’t mean to take away from the exchange experience, but I simply cannot sum it up in just a few words. It was the most amazing five months of my life, and I can’t stress how valuable an opportunity it was. (So if you’ve ever thought of studying abroad, I urge you in the words of Shia Labeouf: DO IT!) I learned more about this world, other people, and myself in this span of time than I have ever before. And because this is an article about SFU, I did learn to appreciate the university I had left behind.

When you’re away in a foreign country, where you don’t have any support network at all around you, involvement is almost necessary for survival. Getting to know your university and the communities within it is pretty much a requirement – from someone who admittedly didn’t bother much to get involved at SFU, I learned that joining as many events and clubs as possible could actually be FUN, that just hanging out on campus could be enjoyable, and that making friends was something that wasn’t so hard, after all. While falling in love with Macquarie University, I was slowly realizing that I never appreciated these experiences and events that SFU offered. This school isn’t boring if you don’t make it boring, you just have to get involved, instead of getting comfortable.

Overall, going to a different university was like starting to date someone new: the new has some pretty awesome stuff going for it, but there are a few things you really miss about the old, about what you got used to, what you became so comfortable (maybe even too comfortable) with. In the end, I’m just thankful I was able to look at so many things with a fresh perspective, especially this school. It may have taken over 12000km, but I’ve learned to love SFU!

Theresa Morgan - FASS Connections Peer Mentor

Cognitive Sciences Major