My Year Abroad is Cancelled


Rosie Stevenson

My Year Abroad is Cancelled

I’ve just finished my second-year exams as a Modern & Medieval Languages student at Cambridge – in any other year, this week I’d be celebrating with my friends and saying goodbye before getting ready to go abroad. My plans had been finalised since March – I was going to study History at Antioquia University in Medellín, Colombia for two semesters, and couldn’t be more excited. Colombia looked vibrant, exciting and colourful, and the thought of spending my Year Abroad there had been the only motivation for every late-night library session of second year.

With the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Latin American countries have been disproportionately affected by the associated health and economic impacts. It wasn’t long until the university I’d applied to announced that they were cancelling all international exchanges indefinitely. At the time this felt like a huge blow – even now I still have no concrete plans for my Year Abroad and am struggling to find university placements or internships in Europe at this stage in the year.

But it didn’t take me long to realise that my plans are not the greatest casualty of COVID, and I’m trying to make the most of my time at home to research all the opportunities available. European countries are easing out of lockdown and pretty much all languages students are in the same boat – I know something will turn up and it might just be better than what I’d originally planned! I might not be salsa dancing in Medellín this summer but being happy and healthy at home with family isn’t such a bad alternative.

If you’re in a similar situation to me right now – whether your A Levels have been cancelled, your university plans are up in the air, or you’re struggling to find a job after graduating – know that you’re not alone. It’s hard to accept sudden change, not least in a global pandemic, but trying to stay flexible and positive is pretty much the only thing you can do. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t plan for that end up teaching you the most.

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