The best months of my life

I studied abroad at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, so I got the fantastic opportunity to travel to Vancouver, BC. Although a clich├ęd response, my experience was some of the best months of my life. It was my first time travelling alone, so not having family and friends arounECUAD Art Bhachud me for four months gave me the chance to make so many new friends, have so many new experiences, and finally learn so much about myself.

First and foremost, I went there to study. ECUAD is an art school. It was the main reason for selecting Emily Carr and it worked in my favour because the facilities and faculty are amazing. It was inspiring to have facilities that develop my technical skill, and be in an 'artsy' building because it encouraged and enhanced my learning majorly. I looked forward to going to school because the atmosphere was so enthusiastic (something I found common with Canadian culture in general).

In addition to the school being inspiring, Vancouver is a beautiful city. So, having the chance to explore the landscape in free time was a blessing, and I must say that I miss the views and the water terribly. There were so many new experiences whilst I was there, e.g. going on my first hike (of many whilst there), and eating ramen, which quickly became my new favourite food. For me, I found that the Study Abroad experience, that is going alone to a new place, really pushed me out of my comfort zone in a positive way because relatively, I thought if I could come out to Canada by myself, what is trying squid, what is eating raw tuna? These are obviously small examples, but they occurred often, so I always reminded myself that if I could get to Canada, there was essentially nothing I couldn't do.

Another amazing thing about Study Abroad is the people.  - studying abroad allowed me to meet so many lovely people. Being out of my comfort zone I found that I spoke a lot more. I say I went to Canada by myself, but I wasn't really alone at all because there were other exchange students who were experiencing the exact same thing as me and we bonded over that. It was nice because we got to experience many birthdays together, shared Thanksgiving, etc.! Admittedly, it is now strange not seeing them everyday because we became each other's Vancouver family.

Finally, I had two weeks left from when my classes ended and when I had to come home. Others were still in school, so I decided to travel to the States alone, and it was the one of the best parts of the whole experience. I spent three days in Seattle, and a day in Portland, and I am so proud of myself because I never thought I would be brave enough to do that, let alone be organised enough to book and plan everything.

So all in all, Study Abroad was truly an amazing experience. It helped develop my art practice, and me as an individual, because despite learning so much educationally, I learnt equally as much, if not more, about myself too. The AFSA bursary helped greatly with this, and quite honestly made dreams come true.

Puneet Bhachu, BA Art and Psychology

Emily Carr University of Art and Design

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