It’s hard to believe this time a year ago I was furiously staring at a map of the United States, trying to figure out where I wanted to go for my year abroad. It was a daunting decision – one that would make or break my year overseas. Choosing between North, South, Midwest, East and West coast, I really had to consider what I wanted to get out of this year.
I write this from my dorm room at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, and I’m delighted to report that all the time and effort I put into researching the different options was worth it. Quite frankly, I think there is no better place to spend your year abroad than in New England – but then again, maybe I’m biased.
Or am I?
Yesterday I was able to take a day trip into Boston with my friends. We walked the ‘Freedom Trail’ down to the harbour, stopping on the way for the best Cannoli’s I have ever eaten. Never had one? Add ‘Mike’s Pastry’ to your year abroad bucket list. Boston is an incredible city; old statehouses sit next to looming skyscrapers, a place where history really comes alive. I’m currently taking a history class on the Early American Republic, so to be able to come to Boston and see these historic places for myself really gives my studies an extra dimension.
However, Boston isn’t all about academics – although the Boston Public Library is another must, even if you go just to see the giant marble lions. From festivals to political rallies, there is always something happening that makes a trip worth the visit. It has a more relaxed vibe that New York City, but with just as much going on.
Of course, I don’t actually live in Boston. I’m an hour’s drive away, but the University runs a free bus service to and from the city every other Saturday, so it’s always cheap and easy to see the city. Boston isn’t the only thing that Massachusetts has to offer though. Set in the heart of the New England, I can travel to Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, even New York City within a couple of hours. With everything so close, it’s easy to cross off those bucket list must-sees. Clark even offers a free bus to New York City during breaks. How can I say no?
My weekends are always been varied and busy. From hiking the hills and lakes of rural Massachusetts, swinging around a rope course with the University Outing Club, attending a Bernie Sanders rally in Boston (complete with colourful signs), trying my first frozen banana at a street festival in Worcester; New England is a truly special place. But, I’m only three months in and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my year will bring.