My exchange program is officially over. I moved to New York in January to do my one semester of studying abroad, and I left after exactly 4 months without even realising that I'd been there for so long. Leaving the “City that never sleeps” has been extremely hard. Looking back at this experience, all I can think about is the great times I had, the unexpected amount of good friends I made in such a short time, the “mad cool” places that I have visited (as my American friends would say) - not to mention all the celebrities I have bumped into, and the many things I experienced for the first time.
Living in Queens, I had the chance to experience both sides of NY, the “busy Manhattan”, where streets are so crowded that sometimes it’s hard to walk, where you will find all the major touristic attractions, and the “college-student life”, spending most of the day on campus, between classes, intramural sports and activities promoted by the different clubs, sororities and fraternities of the University.
What can I say…I have literally fallen in love with New York, I have explored every corner of the city and still now that I am back home I've realised there are many things left to visit and to try! My favourite things were the breath-taking view from the top of the Empire State Building, having picnics in Central Park with my friends and walking around Times Square with the best milkshakes I have ever had.
My other favourite attractions were the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty, which I had the chance to climb all the way up to the top.
Among the other best spots of NYC, I would recommend the Flatiron building, the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial, which explains and documents the Twins Towers attack. It's very touching because it represents through visuals and audio exhibits exactly what happened. For the museums, I really liked the MET. It's famous for the exclusive Met Gala which is packed full of celebrities, then there's the American Museum of Natural History which is where the movie “Night at the Museum” starring Ben Stiller is set. It was very cool to walk around the dinosaurs and mummies and imagine them coming to life! Finally, I have been to the MOMA (Museum Of Modern Art), where the paintings of famous artists such as Van Gogh are on display.
Over these few months I was able to visit some broadcasting studios, such as the NBC and ABC, and to be part of the live recording of the Tonight show with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Night show with Seth Meyers. Finally, I have been to the Good Morning America studio, on the day when the guest was Regina Hall, promoting her new movie, “Little”.
At the university I had some fantastic experiences too. I watched all the basketball games, and I have been to some of the baseball games too. At the end of April, I went to watch the horse races in Long Island, where St John’s students will traditionally all go to watch the famous Kentucky Derby. It was a very fun day because I had the chance to meet classmates from different courses and friends from all over the school.
On the subject of sports, before leaving NY in May I went to the Bronx to watch the Yankees game, the most loved New York baseball team. I'd wanted to go since the beginning but I had to wait until the weather was enough good to not make me shiver anymore! Before going to the game, I also visited the Bronx Zoo, which is very cool. The animals are free in their secured area instead of being in cages.
Overall, this experience really exceeded my expectations! I think you can tell how much fun I had and how much I'd recommend others do an international exchange.
The last 4 months have been some of the best of my life and all I can say is that I am very grateful to Leeds Beckett for helping me to organise such an opportunity! If I had to make my choice again about going on an international abroad, I would honestly re-make this choice thousands times! The only negative thing about NY is that it’s very pricey, everything is expensive but it’s really worth it.
I'm back now and ready for a new semester at Leeds Beckett. It has been very hard to say goodbye to New York as I've left some great friends there. However, I'm excited for the rest of my time here at Beckett.
If you'd like to know more about Leeds Beckett's study abroad programme, visit: leedsbeckett.ac.uk/studyabroad.