We are happy to share our first ‘Guest Blog Post’!! Our Guest Post today is from Second Year PIR Student, Marguerite Treppoz. Marguerite is currently studying in Mexico! Here is her experience so far:
“I’m an exchange student” – “awesome, how long are you staying in Guadalajara?” – “A semester, which is not really six months, but rather four months” – “only?” – “yes, I know, it’s short, I’d like to stay more but my university hasn’t chosen for it to be this way…”
“Only. Too short. Stay longer.” That is what comes to my mind when I have to bring my stay here to an end. Obviously, I am grateful to the University of Aberdeen for making this exchange possible and to give me the opportunity to discover Mexico for at least a little while. But why this deep feeling inside that it is too short? Simply because I am just loving my life here in Guadalajara – the second biggest city of Mexico – the Pearl of the Occident.
Two months. That is how long I have spent here. Two months. It’s also what I have left here. I spent half of the time, already. I have done so much so far and still have so much to do. I have mixed feelings looking back with everything I have already accomplished. But one feeling I have is that it, literally, flew by.
I realise every day how the life of an exchange student is a bubble compared to the life of a ‘normal’ student. Obviously, being a ‘normal’ student is full of experiences, but the ways to act and think everyday converge. The exchange is a fixed-term contract of a really short period – a period that has to be filled and enjoyed as much as possible. The exchange students live in another time-scale, living everything twice or ten times quicker. The time spent in the library diminishes consistently, the time spent travelling has never been so much, and you wish you would live your life this way forever.
I was born and have lived of my all life in France. I decided to study my entire degree in Scotland, Aberdeen. Starting University there, I was immersed in a whole new world where I made many international friends, got involved in societies, got a job as a waitress and volunteered for associations where I got to live the experience of being a student in its entirety. I did travel a bit, taking two days off of my exam revision to go see a concert of The Red Hot Chili Pepper in Glasgow, or hitchhiking and falling in love with Edinburgh. Though, I spent way more week-ends on-campus than getting to discover my environment and only a year after living there I had realised that I still had never set foot in the park of the city centre. As soon as I arrived here in Guadalajara, I already had my list of the ‘one hundred things to do before I leave’, which was a useful guide for the day of where I had nothing really planned but knew I could tick one or two things if I wished.
Talking about Mexico and Guadalajara itself, I do not think I could not have asked for a better experience. When I began filling my application to study abroad in January, I was far from imagining I would go there. I almost did not fill the international section in order to focus on Erasmus, but finally I filled it in, because after all, why not? My mind was set on one full year somewhere in Europe, without a clear idea of where. In my second semester in Aberdeen I had the opportunity to meet a pack of Mexican ‘gueys’ (guy in Mexican slang) studying in Aberdeen who gave me a taste of what life could be like in Mexico: warmness, accessibility and generosity. When I learned I was going to spend my next six months in their land, excitement directly followed the surprise. I realised living there, the appetiser of what I had seen of Mexican culture was just an opening of this wonderful country so welcoming towards foreigners, which somewhat gives you a sense of fresh air when you come from France. Being the ‘huerrita’, the blond girl, white skinned and green-eyed you cannot expect to be ignored and I must admit I was sometimes tempted to try a different hair-colour to see how I would be treated, but it had its advantages, so I took the opportunity to enjoy my time here even more.
I know the travelling is not finished yet, and I would tell you even more about my adventure once it has come to an end, but from now, the thing I can advise you on is: as soon as the time comes for you to fill the application to move abroad, do not even hesitate to give the chance to loco Mexico, because soon it is going to be your turn to say ‘I’m an exchange student’ and think once you’re there that: ‘I’d like to stay more but my university hasn’t chosen for it to be this way…’ whilst being grateful of what you’re already living.