Dear Fellow Durham Year Abroaders

Our final year in Durham is all-round going to be better than our 3-year-degree-pals’

Dear Fellow Year Abroaders,

Lockdown has been a roller-coaster of emotions – will our studies abroad go ahead? Will they get cancelled? Will we have to attend virtual classes? Will we have friends in 4th year?

I’m no agony aunt but I feel like I have sussed out the new makeshift year abroad pretty well.

Since our first term is going to be online, why not get a job alongside your studies? Although finding a job in the current climate may not be the easiest feat – retail, bar and waiting jobs are often cropping up around Durham. Part-time work offers another channel of making friends who will be staying in Durham while also securing some savings to use when we eventually do go abroad. I know I’m going to use the next few months to do just that and give my CV some much needed TLC.

Think of the positives of having an extra year on our courses; our final year is going to look way more normal than our peers! Academically, there are a number of modules that have been cancelled for the 20/21 academic year due to Covid-19 implications on lecture spaces, and at least we can assume (or hope) that all courses will be operating as normal by next year. Also, did you hear about the new 9am-8pm timetabling? because that is some tom foolery I don’t want to be a part of – no sir.

Socially I know it is a worry for many of us that we will get FOMO over our friends back in Durham while we’re studying abroad but is there a going to be a ‘social aspect’ of uni next year? What about the balls we love and know so well?  It’s still unclear whether large social gatherings like these will be allowed any time soon, at least not as we know them to be, so won’t we be smug when we get to attend balls in 2021?

So, it looks like 2020/21 is going to be a pretty dull academic year. We won’t have to deal with the mundane bits but we’ll still have fun visiting our friends at uni when there’s a motive. Couch surfing could never be this easy. I’m sure that Sports Wednesdays will make some sort of return next year. God help us, especially the athletes, if they can’t happen in some way, shape or form.

I wouldn’t worry about not having friends in 4th year either. There’ll be more people roaming around Durham thank you think, and we are allowed to make new friends you know! And you can always count on some of your friends doing or at least considering a panic Master’s, that’s your 4th year housing sorted!

Don’t forget that all of the academic and social benefits of a year abroad, which made you want to do one in the first place, haven’t just disappeared just because of Covid. Forget how little the time we get abroad is, we’re going to love every minute of it.

So realistically, we’re going to have a blast this year and an all-round better final year than our 3-year-degree-pals. What more could you want?

The year abroad might be a heck of a ride, but I can guarantee you we won’t regret it in the long run.

Love from,

Year Abroaders Anonymous Chair xx