TEDx Aarhus surpassed expectations!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Simon is studied abroad at Aarhus University in Denmark as part of his Psychology degree at Reading. Since moving to Denmark at the end of August, he’s made the most of living in the heart of Scandinavia. Read on to find out what he’s been up to since his last blog post

I am now over halfway through my Semester Study Abroad and my appreciation for Aarhus and Scandinavian culture has only grown since I have been here. Each day is full of different experiences and opportunities and I will mention a few worthy ones here.

For the first time the city of Aarhus was hosting a TEDx event. Tickets were at a premium but we were quick on the refresh button and managed to get some. It’s fair to say that I like TED talks and the idea behind them, in order to spread current ideas, so I had high expectations. These expectations were comfortably surpassed. The talks took place in the middle of Tivoli, the theme park in Aarhus. There were 12 talks in total all completely different, yet all based loosely around the ‘To the Moon and Back’ theme. It was a great experience to hear ideas from all different fields, from catering, business, neuroscience and from a person who was on the shortlist of 200 people to go and try to live on Mars. He was talking about why he would give up his life on earth to go and start a new one on Mars! If you wished to talk more about the topics discussed by the speakers, then you could go to the ferris wheel and get put in a booth with some strangers to discuss. This shortly ended up just being a nice way to meet people and chat. If the 12  different speakers and theme park weren’t enough, we were given copious amounts of cake and then at the end of the night served Tapas and Wine. The speakers came to chat amongst everyone and enjoy the food, drink, music and Hygge.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Halfway through the Semester we had a one-week fall break. We thought that this would be a great opportunity to explore further afield. We decided to go on a trip to Norway and Sweden. The first place we went to was Bergen, an incredibly beautiful city. Our hostel was set on the side of a small mountain, looking down onto Bergen, giving us incredible views. There were 7 of us in Bergen and close-by is a famous mountain called Trolltunga. The group was split about whether to attempt to climb or not as we were on the cusp of the ‘Danger of Death’ warning. However, we met a couple of people who had climbed it the day before and we became set on our mission. We booked up a cozy log cabin close to the base of Trolltunga and set out on the bus. The views on the bus journey of the Norwegian scenery were incredible and it made me excited about the climb! We had to leave at 5am in order to make our bus the next day so the first part we climbed in the dark. However, when the Sun came up, the views were breath-taking and despite the cold wind you had to just stop and admire them. Thankfully we all made it in one piece in time for our bus back and had an experience we will never forget!


Any regrets? Definitely not!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Italy for a Full Academic Year

Savvina is currently studying abroad at the Università Ca’ Foscari in Italy as part of her Henley Business School degree at Reading. Already half way through her year abroad, read on to find out what she’s been up to. 

It is difficult to believe that four months have already passed! Time goes so quickly and I feel like I haven’t experienced anything yet! This of course is not true! I have been to 10 different cities in Italy, including Rome, Milan and Florence. I have met so many people from all around the world such as Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, Russia and Germany.

First things first, I want to mention that the things I do here in Italy, I don’t get to do them in the UK or in Cyprus. This is an interesting fact, since I understood that when you feel that you will be in a place for just a few months, you want to do everything. Literally everything! Visit galleries, architecture events, theatre, cinema etc. I soon realised how little I know Reading, the city I study in the UK. So, my goal for next year is to get to know the city more!

Venice is one of the biggest cultural spots in Europe with lots of events to attend each month. Although I was never interested in art, I realised how many unique opportunities one can have to learn as much as possible and expand his knowledge. La Biennale di Venezia which is a European culture centre, organised a series of events including Time Space Existence and Contested Frontiers (Cyprus Pavilion). Moreover, Peggy Guggenheim Collection is among the most important museums in Italy for European and American art of the 20th century and it is located in Venice. I was also really impressed by the collection of Sigmar Polke in Palazzo Grassi.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Italy for a Full Academic Year

In addition to the above, I had the amazing opportunity to run a Marathon and I was so surprised by the organisation of the event and that is why I signed up for the same event on April. I was also excited to see few of the best Italian movies! The events were organised by ESN Venezia and it was an amazing opportunity to get to know the Italian culture and humour.

One of my favourite places in Italy is Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet. It is like being a part of a fairy tale. However, I cannot end this post without mentioning my trip to Florence and Pisa with two of my Portuguese friends. I also had the pleasure to celebrate my birthday in Florence too, which I will never forget!

Christmas in Venice is magical! We get to visit Trento market with ESN Venezia, which is one of the biggest Christmas markets in Italy. Moreover, regata dei Babbi Natale is an event which is hosted by Ca’ Foscari University each year on December and it is a unique competition among many Santa Clauses in boats along the Grand Canal.

One of the most frequent questions I get, is if I regret my choice of studying abroad for the whole year instead of for just one semester. The answer comes out so naturally the second after I hear the question: Definitely not! 


Snow, national parks, and discovering what all this ‘poutine’ fuss is about

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Full Academic Year

Emmeline is studying abroad at Emily Carr+ University in Canada with her Graphic Communication degree at Reading. Just after 2 weeks moving to Vancouver, Emmeline updates us on the start of your semester abroad!

I have just finished my first week studying at Emily Carr University of Art + Design! But let’s start at the beginning. It feels like years have passed since I first attended a study abroad meeting to hear students talk about their own study abroad experiences – I went to that meeting on a whim, having never considered studying abroad before. It seemed too exciting an opportunity to miss out on. All the waiting since then made the prospect of moving country seem quite surreal, as I had talked about it and been planning it for so long that I sort of became numb to the reality of it. And then the day came for me to get on a plane and fly halfway across the world, where I would be living 8 hours behind my family and friends for the next 4 months…

My first week in Vancouver was exciting, and we were blessed with great weather (locals tell me this is a rarity). People I encountered were cheery and said hello as they walked by, or made small talk at a bus stop. The sun shone nearly every day, and when the sun was gone it snowed heavily. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that I had experienced so much snow! I visited Stanley Park (twice) and Lynn Canyon Park – popular spots amongst both locals and tourists – which were beautiful, peaceful places, brimming with huge trees and wildlife (no bears thus far). Vancouver really seems to have it all: beaches, national parks, the city, and mountains on the horizon no matter where I am.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Full Academic Year

View from Stanley Park

A week after arriving, I attended an induction at Emily Carr for new exchange students. Typically, I befriended a fellow Brit. She told me she had poutine the day before. I was afraid to tell her I had absolutely no idea what poutine was, but she was very excited about the poutine, and said ‘poutine’ a good few times. So I thought I should try it. When in Canada, eh! Anyway, I had poutine. Turns out it’s chips and gravy with some lumps of cheese thrown in. And yes, it tasted great!

After the induction, I got a nasty cold. It was to be expected. Since then I’ve been taking it easy; I visited some waterfalls with fellow study abroad pals, started classes at Emily Carr, and have been settling into life as a temporary Vancouverite. But I won’t pretend it’s all been grand and perfect. There were a couple of days where I felt extremely overwhelmed, and moving so far away from home to where you literally know no one is of course going to feel lonely at first, and will take time to adapt to. So that’s where I’m at now – I’m adapting. I’m allowing myself to relax and encouraging myself to embrace life here, and I’m definitely taking advantage of the great public transport in this city (also, I can’t express how kind and helpful all the bus drivers have been)! I am looking forward to what the next few months will hold for me; both academically and personally.


Already half way through!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Full Academic Year

Angelina is currently studying abroad at the University of Tubingen with her German and International Relations degree at Reading. Find out about what she’s been up to before the festive period. 

I can’t quite believe that I am over half way through my semester here in Tübingen!

Lectures and seminars have been going well although sometimes they are quite challenging, as a languages student all my lectures and seminars are in German. As with many other things lectures here are also a bit different to lectures in Reading. All of my lectures and seminars are at least two hours long and the earliest time a class can start is 08:00 mornings and one of my classes even finishes at 20:00 in the evening which took some time getting used to. One of the nice things about studying here is that I have no compulsory modules and I could choose modules on subjects that I am interested in. At the end of a lecture or seminar it is common for students to knock their knuckles on the desks which I found really bizarre.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Full Academic Year

Probably one of the best things about studying in Germany during the Autumn/Winter semester is that Germany is probably one of the best countries to experience during the festive season. As soon as late November hit all anyone could talk about was the ‘Weihnachtsmarkt’, or Christmas market in English. Almost every German town will host a Christmas market of some sort and in Germany especially in the bigger cities they go all out. Christmas decorations and impressive light displays everywhere, lots of stalls and wooden huts selling crafts and German Christmas foods such a roasted sugared almonds, ‘Lebkuchen’ (gingerbread), sausages and of course it wouldn’t be a Christmas market without ‘Glühwein’ (mulled wine). In late November, early December for one week Tübingen is home to Germany’s largest chocolate festival. Chocolatiers and chocolate companies from around the world and Germany present their products and quite a few stalls even offer free samples. I was even able to take part in a chocolate workshop where I could make my own chocolate.  As well as the chocolate market, Waldenbuch a town nearby has a chocolate factory too. If you really like chocolate Tübingen is a great place to spend study abroad. Another town about a 40 minutes train journey away from Tübingen called Esslingen has a really unique Christmas market. The Christmas market has a medieval theme and it is presented really well with fire dancing shows, people dressed up in medieval clothing and they served mulled wine and beer in clay cups. If you end up studying here next year I would definitely recommend it.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Full Academic Year

Since my last blog post I have also had the opportunity to visit some of Germany’s larger cities, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Munich. Tübingen is well connected to the rest of Germany by train via Stuttgart. It is also relatively inexpensive to travel by bus to various cities in and around Germany. Even though the temperatures can drop quite a bit around this time, all the festivities make it worth it and if your wrap up warm it’s really not too bad. At the moment it’s currently snowing here and the town looks even prettier under a white blanket.


Missed Angelina’s first blog post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2ig8lgl 

Hanging out with Wallabies

University of Reading student studying abroad in Australia for a Semester

Sarah studied abroad at La Trobe University in Australia as part of her Art & History of Art degree at Reading over the Autumn term. The semester down under has already come to an end. Read on to find out how she has made the most of her time Down Under before returning to the UK. 

So, I have come to the end of my Semester abroad! Although the term officially ends tomorrow my last class was a month ago, and my last exam two weeks, so I have been soaking up the Australian lifestyle and travelling the East Coast!

It was sad to say goodbye to Melbourne and La Trobe; I had a great time in the city and made a lot of good friends which only really gives me an excuse to travel to more places.  My last few days were spent on rooftop bars, eating dumplings and catching the trams around the CBD, all things that will be impossibly expensive once back in England!

My classes have gone well but the results easy to forget about as I am having far too much fun travelling, one of great opportunities that study abroad has given me. After learning about Australia for the past three months it has been incredible to get out and see it. From the diversity of the heat and humidity of Darwin, with its red sands and tropical plants, to the British chill and lush greenery of Tasmania it is hard to believe you are in one country. The Whitsunday Islands were a dream come true and so picture perfect that you have to remind yourself you’re still awake. Sydney on the other hand stands out as the biggest iconic city in Australia, with a diversity of culture and activities to match. I’ve hung out with more wallabies than I could count and seen so many adorable koalas that I could barely take anymore cuteness. After visiting City College of the Arts final exhibition in Sydney I just want to do another exchange! Studying abroad has made me consider my options of further education and Masters and has opened so many doors of living possibilities, jobs and travel!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Australia for a Semester

I am currently on a flight back to Melbourne and will then be getting one to New Zealand tomorrow. Just a year ago I couldn’t foresee travelling to all of the amazing places so far from home and even living it now I feel incredibly lucky and can’t wait for the next adventure.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Australia for a Semester

University of Reading student studying abroad in Australia for a Semester

The whole experience of study abroad, from July to now, has been of massive positive impact. It was hard to move so far from home at the beginning, to such a different culture and I’ve tested my strengths and weaknesses along the way and feel I’ve come out as a better rounded person. After experiencing the transition of culture, lifestyle and time difference I am eager to help any other study abroad students coming to Reading to settle in and feel at home as quickly as possible. It can be daunting to move away and can sometimes feel as though the other place is a dream (as their day is your night!) but the rewards are so much more than any feeling of homesickness and you soon only feel excited for the next chapter.

Overall, study abroad has been an A* experience and if I could do it again I definitely would!


Missed Sarah’s last blog? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2h9ASax



Making the most of Reading Week in Canada!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Semester

Jake studied abroad at the University of Ottawa in Canada with his Film degree at Reading. This post is reporting back mid-way through his semester in North America!

I am mid-way through my exchange and I am still enjoying every minute! Canada has offered me all I wanted and more, allowing me to see wonderful scenery, meet new people and begin to grow more confident in myself socially as well as academically.

During reading week I had an amazing time because my sister flew out to stay with me for the duration of my time spent away from uOttawa. It was amazing seeing family again, giving me the boost I needed to carry on and enjoy my time away from home. Whereas we ran out of time to do the ‘big stuff’, visit Niagara and Quebec City, I can only be slightly disappointed because we still managed to cram so many things into just one week.

We immersed ourselves in the culture, visiting Byward Market for the Fall produce, going to the cinema and a couple of museums, as well as catching Broadway’s Cinderella whilst it was on its Canadian tour.  On top of this, we managed to take a day trip to Toronto where we visited the CN Tower and had a long lunch with the most spectacular view. We also managed to fit in visiting Ripley’s Aquarium and have a quick look at Rogers centre (home of the Toronto Blue Jays!).

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Semester

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Semester

Apart from an awesome, but extremely tiring reading week, I have focused on the academic side of my exchange, which whilst much less exciting to write about, has kept me busy and fuelled my continuing interests in film and media. I have had multiple, stressful mid-term assignments due recently but a positive is, compared to studying in Reading, there are more frequent assignments. Yes, this means more work but it also means more chances to ensure my grades remain high and frequent testing means I understand how I am performing at all times throughout the semester. There are more chances to boost my marks!  My favourite assignments have included making podcasts/videos for my Multimedia project ‘Made of Mad Media’. I have been able to create a website or online community that not only discusses my academic interests of films/TV but has also brought me closer to new Canadian friends who have asked to contribute their own projects and ideas.

Whilst my friendship group were too busy to really appreciate a true Canadian Halloween, I have seen some scary, and funny, costumes/decorations throughout October. More importantly, as soon as Halloween finished the festivity of Christmas arrived, bringing with it a lot of snow! The Canadian landscape has proven even more beautiful, if not much colder, covered in a blanket of pure white. The local shopping centre or ‘mall’ is decorated from top to bottom with lights and Christmas trees and has really put me in the ‘Christmassy’ mood for the remainder of my time in Ottawa.

Before the snow hit, my friends and I managed to catch a greyhound bus to Montreal to experience the nightlife. The music and art world is truly alive in Montreal and it is a city I hope to visit again in the future because, alongside Toronto, I have fallen in love with the atmosphere it provided.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Canada for a Semester

I am now taking the time to focus on my finals for the semester. I undertook this trip to experience the world and there is no doubt that I have done that so far. I have gone to the cinema too many times to count, eaten the essential Canadian food group that is poutine (yum!) and have walked more and seen more than I thought I could ever handle. Although I will now focus on writing my final exams, undeniably a lot of work that I will have to dedicate the majority of time to, I look forward to the surprises, laughs and memories the last few weeks undoubtedly hold.


Missed Jake’s last post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/1tAKTNm 



Travelling through Scandinavia: Aarhus & Beyond

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Mona studied abroad at Aarhus University in Denmark with her Psychology degree at Reading! Mid-way through her semester abroad she updated us with all her adventures. Read on to find out more!

Aarhus is beautiful. I am now just over half way through my semester abroad in Aarhus, Denmark and I must say, nothing has disappointed. My experience so far has been amazing and I’m now focusing on making the most of my last month or so here before heading back to Reading. So, what have I been doing since my last blog post?

Well I can safely say I’ve fully explored the small, cosy, cute, friendly city that is Aarhus, and some of the surrounding cities and countries! And I must say, I’ve experienced my fair share of hygge. Now hygge doesn’t have a direct translation into English but the closest translation would be a feeling of cosiness, defined by an evening of candles and great company (and often food), but even a city can feel hygge, and Aarhus definitely does, especially now it’s getting colder and Christmas lights are on!

So not too long after my last blog post, I had some friends from home, and not long after, family came to visit which was great, and allowed me to show people around and explore the city even more. Aarhus has everything! It’s a coastal city with incredible sandy beaches, a cosy atmosphere, a city feel and scenic forests surrounding it. What more could you wish for while living abroad? Some of the most beautiful places include Den Gamle By (the cities old town), ARoS (the cities art museum with the famous rainbow panorama) and the deer park which is situated in the forest, by the beach where deer are free roaming and you can feed them! I’ve been 5 times…

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

A couple of weeks after, it was half term and I wanted to make the most of my time living abroad. Having never travelled to Scandinavia before, I was keen to explore the other Scandinavian countries and planned a trip with a group of friends to travel around Norway and Sweden. We started off in Copenhagen which is a beautiful city with so much to see, travelled then to Bergen in Norway (the gateway to the fjords), then on to Oslo, followed by Stockholm and Malmö in Sweden. This trip was incredible! Norway is the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited, with the most incredible scenery, especially the fjords, and Sweden’s capital Stockholm was amazing! Now the highlight of this trip was definitely our adventure in Bergen, Norway, in which we stayed for one night in a cabin in the woods in the tiny village of Odda, to then begin our 11 hour hike up a mountain very early the next morning. The aim of this hike was to reach a point named ‘Trolltunga’ meaning Troll’s tongue in Norwegian, which is a piece of rock jutting horizontally out of a mountain about 700 metres above a lake, and it’s safe to say it was the most breath-taking view you could imagine.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

I think it’s safe to say I am making the most of my time here in Aarhus and now to make the most of the time left!


Missed Mona’s first post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2dysoVG 

Tailgating & College Football Games

University of Reading student studying abroad in USA for a Semester

Jake is currently studying abroad at the University of Mississippi in the USA as part of his History degree at Reading. Over half way through his semester abroad in the Deep South, read on to find out how Jake has been making the most of his study abroad experience. 

Now that I am roughly half way through my time here at Ole Miss and have had time to settle into life in the Deep South, I can reaffirm with confidence that this is one of the most welcoming and friendly places I have ever visited! The academic term is well under way and I am currently in my ninth week of lectures that I am still finding the classes just as interesting as I had before. The tutors are all very helpful and ready to offer assistance if and when needed at any time and have all been really understanding as I got to grips with the American way of writing essays etc. The workload is significantly greater than back home as I have already had three exams and five essays due on top of other assignments, but overall I would say that generally speaking the content covered seems to be slightly easier than the topics studied in England. As I am working towards a history degree, it has been captivating to see how exactly this is taught in the United States. There is an enormous emphasis on the history of the USA, reflected through the classes available to take as well as the in-class content too. This was partially why I chose to study abroad in America as I didn’t really know that much about their history but thanks to the fantastic Arch Dalrymple III history department here at the University of Mississippi that changed within weeks. Even though I am only halfway through my time here I believe that this different insight will really aid my studies when back home in Reading.

University of Reading student studying abroad in USA for a Semester

Ole Miss Entrance (left) and a surprising sight in Oxford town square (right)

University of Reading student studying abroad in USA for a Semester

Oxford, Mississippi

As mentioned in the last post I was yet to experience a college football game but since then I have been lucky enough to watch three! In all of these, the Rebels have managed to win beating Wofford, Georgia State and the University of Memphis, and provided an electric atmosphere that lasted the entire length of all of the games despite continuing for three to four hours! Making the experience more enjoyable is the fact that I am not only understanding the game more so every time I attend a match but that I am developing a true passion for football and is definitely something that I shall take away from this experience. The American tradition of ‘tailgating’ before home games has also proven to be very entertaining and is a great opportunity to mix and socialise with Americans and other international students from across the globe alike. Since then I have also had the opportunity to properly explore the college town of Oxford and take in all of its charm that it has to offer, like many small American towns do. As for venturing further afield, I have not crossed State lines since my last trip but I am planning on visiting New Orleans, Louisiana as well as the capital of Mississippi, Jackson, in the coming weeks. I am still missing everyone back home but at the same time having the time of my life. Bring on the next half!