My Santander exchange at the University of Central Florida (Caitlin Griffin)

Studying at University of Central Florida is the most valuable experience I have. At first, I was nervous about a lot of things, it seemed crazy that I would just have a suitcase and a one-way ticket over the Atlantic. The flight was both the most anxious and exciting experience I’ve ever had. However as soon as I arrived, I fell in love with Florida and everything it had to offer. What’s not to love about being an event student who studies down the road from practically every major theme park?

Exchange isn’t just another vacation, it is your way of life and every day you wake up in your new life, you are singular from every relationship back home and it is an elevating feeling. I travelled to so many different parts in Florida, from the highlights of Miami to rodeo and country roads up in Jacksonville, it is a state full of beauty and discovery. It is so different from a vacation, you’re mixing with local people and learning about all the culture of the country.

My favourite things in Florida were the majestic beauty of their forests and lakes and there was nothing more special than spending evenings on the beach, looking at the stars, it sounds cliché but we really do not have the opportunity to experience a ‘hella southern night’ in England, do we?

As well as all the incredible experiences I was exposed to, the American friends I met on exchange became more powerful friendships than most of my friendships I had before exchange, I really fitted in there and its hard leaving but you realize how thankful you have to be for not only the memories but for the friends you now have around the globe. You will adapt to everything you once thought was scary and you’ll feel like you fit in nowhere else now.

Anyone who has the opportunity to apply for a student exchange, I can’t express enough how important it is to have this experience, you may be nervous and wonder what the fuss is about but you will see the world not just from a window, you’ll see out of it. You will learn so much, make friends for life, learn about so many cultural differences opening your graduate prospects and the memories, well they’ll be there a lifetime.

Caitlin Griffin- International Event Management