Brian Cantore, York, England


At first I struggled with the idea of studying abroad. I was overwhelmed with questions and concerns, some of which had no clear answer.

Will I like it? What happens if I don’t? Will I get credit for the classes? Is it worth the money? Where should I go?

However, perhaps the biggest concern that overwhelmed me was whether or not I would regret not taking this opportunity.

Then again, it was a once in a lifetime chance, one that I may never get again. Eventually I found some answers to the questions that I had and made the decision to go abroad.

My roommate even got on board, giving me the final push to go. We decided on York St. John’s University in England, a school with both our majors, located in a historic city with excellent travel opportunities to the rest of the UK and Europe.


Soon enough first semester ended, Christmas came and the next thing I knew I was saying goodbye to my family, girlfriend, friends and boarding a plane, headed to a country I had never been before.

The first stop on our journey was Manchester, England, where we spent a few days before heading to York. Manchester certainly is an awesome city, filled with nice people, cool shops, cobblestone streets, fun pubs and it definitely left us with a good first impression of England.

We spent three days there, exploring the city, seeing what England was like and most of all trying to fight off jet lag. We also managed to check out some cool sites and museums in the process.

Perhaps the best part was the fact that most of the museums were free, not only giving us things to do during the day but also giving us a taste of English culture.

Eventually we arrived in York, getting a glimpse of the city that we had only seen in pictures and through Google maps.

The city was great to say the least, filled with tons of little shops and pubs, connected by narrow cobblestone streets and all surrounded by a giant wall.

In the center of it all was perhaps the biggest church I have ever seen, towering above all the other buildings in the area, and it can be seen no matter where you are in the city.  The architecture both in and out of the building was mind-blowing as well and again unlike anything I had ever seen.

The coolest part was that this architecture style seemed to be a theme around the city, giving it a very medieval feel, not to mention the fact that the church made for an awesome landmark if I ever found myself lost.

Personally I was blown away by the size of the city. In fact it took us a couple weeks to really see most of it, and we are still discovering parts that we hadn’t seen before. Perhaps one of the coolest places I have seen in the city is a street called the Shambles. The narrow cobblestone streets, lined with old buildings leaning inward toward each other is a sight straight out of an old English movie and is breath-taking on a snowy night.

There is even a massive Ferris Wheel found at the edge of the city, providing an awesome city-wide view from above and an amazing sight to see after dark.

The school itself is nice as well, with a small but pleasant campus, featuring an on-campus bar and a close walk to the city center.

However, there were a few flaws making me realize how lucky we have it at KSC. First there was fee, an £80 gym membership ($120) for a gym that was about one-fourth the size of Keene’s.

After a few weeks of eating at the campus canteen, I found myself missing the good old dining commons back home.

Nonetheless, we got used to the minor inconveniences and started trying to experience what the English lifestyle was like. We learned the lingo and English terms, upped our fashion sense a bit, picked up playing pool and have developed a love for football (soccer).

Personally, I wake up looking forward to the traditional English breakfast of poached eggs, baked beans, toast, sausage and tomato served daily at the canteen.

So far we have managed to travel a bit as well. We made it to Ireland to see the awesome city of Dublin, which was an amazing experience all its own.

Despite being a rather pricey city, its one full of history and sites to see and was definitely worth spending the money to visit.

Next week, we embark on our three-week spring break trip, meeting up with friends from home, seeing what the rest of Europe has to offer and most of all giving us more experiences that we may never get again and certainly will never forget.

Share and Enjoy !