Study Abroad at Home: Falling in Love with Where We Are

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The craziness of 2020 continues. With many regions facing local lockdown, redundancies risings and students learning online it can be hard to go outside or even get out of bed. So, I thought in this week’s article I could give you some food for thought.

When the nation was first facing lockdown restrictions it swept us along a wave of emotions. Though for many their mental health deteriorated, most found their way through. We witnessed the nation run 5k, donate £5, and nominate 5 people to do the same, all for the NHS. We got into a new routine (including work or not), some of us began new physical activities and some of us returned to old passions to fill in some of that extra time. I started running, which is something I really use to dread at school, but now I see it as a break from the world around me.

Therefore, during this uncertainty I want you to think of things you did in lockdown that brought you a little bit of clarity amongst the madness. I feel like we were all thrown back into the deep end when the hospitality industries opened up. We were given an overwhelming feeling of normality which was quickly taken away again.

Credit: Siobhan Dale

I don’t know how much you know about Newcastle but as my uni friends were shocked to find out, we have a beach. I often go there with my family, friends, dog, or just when I feel like I need to breathe. This led me to the decision that I needed to fall back in love with where I was. I’ve been so hung up on the fact I wasn’t in Venice on my year abroad, or Leeds with my uni friends, I was taking the moment for granted, and as we know from this year, life’s too short for that. Each week I’m going to revisit somewhere in my hometown which I love, whether I’m going alone or with someone. I’m asking you, my fellow readers to do the same. If you do please send me a message or tag me in it (siobhans_sound). In Leeds one of my favourite places is Meanwood Park in Headingly, if you’re looking for a little adventure it’s the perfect spot. It has small trails, little waterfalls and beautiful plant-life. If you’re thinking this is all a good idea but I have to isolate, why don’t you start with writing a few places down, or finding new places you and your housemates or family can go to once your isolation period is over.

Credit: Siobhan Dale

We need to look after ourselves again, live in the moment and realize what’s in our control. The pandemic has taken away the start of my year abroad, but I can’t control that. It has, in turn, given me the chance to save up money, work on my mental and physical health and allowed me more time with my family and friends at home. I know being positive is easier said than done, but I hope even if you’re feeling your lowest you will visit one of these spots that make you feel happy and safe, and you’ll remember this year is still yours for the taking. With that said I’d like to leave you with this quote I often read when I don’t feel like I’m shinning my brightest.

Credit: Siobhan Dale

For what it’s worth, it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.F. Scott Fitzgerald