Last week, I interviewed with my university in support of my study abroad application. I had done my research, looked at pros and cons and sent in photocopies of my passport. I had listed my choices: MCI (Innsbruck, Austria), University of Hertfordshire (Hatfield, UK) and University of Hawai’i (Manoa, Oahu). I crossed my fingers and hoped that I would be selected so that I could spend four months in Austria, learning German and studying tourism management in an international environment. Alas, I was not picked for Austria. Instead, I will be spending those four months in Hatfield, just 30 minutes north of London by train. Although not my first choice, I am over the moon! I have always dreamed of living in London and although this isn’t London-proper, it’s just a short train ride away.
The University of Hertfordshire is located in the heart of Hertfordshire. This area of England is very appealing for many reasons, but the first of which is that my mother was born in St. Albans, which is less than five kilometres from the university. My family in this area dates back to the 1500s! How awesome is that?! I love that I’ll be living and studying in the heart of Pride and Prejudice country, surrounded by rolling pastures, dense woods and sleepy villages. But any time I need some excitement, I can hop on a train to London and spend the day at the British Museum, walking along the Southbank or shopping in Shoreditch.
While studying Tourism Management in Vancouver is fantastic, I’m really looking forward to gaining an international perspective on the trends, issues and concepts that I am learning. Although at this point I have yet to pick my courses, I have looked at the university’s offerings and am thrilled to see they offer things like Responsible Tourism, European Tourism Policy and Strategic Tourism Planning. I can’t wait to embark on this adventure, not only for the experience of living near London, but for the unique and rewarding experience of learning in a new institution. The university is known for its commitment to sustainable and green policies and is recognized as one of Britain’s greenest universities. The newly built de Havilland campus is beautiful, featuring modern buildings and state of the art learning facilities. The school has a good reputation in the UK for quality of teaching and research and has a business-facing focus in almost all of its programs.
For now, I’m just excited at the thought of spending some time in Europe again. I’m going to be sad to leave my husband and my Vancouver life behind for a while, but I’m so lucky to have this opportunity and I hope to make the most of it. Let’s not forget that weekends aren’t just for studying – I hope to take lots of mini breaks throughout England and Europe.
Stay tuned for more updates on my great adventure!