Soren Frantz / Photo Editor

Hailey Beaupre

Senior Defense Field Hockey

My name is Hailey Beaupre and I am a senior history major at Keene State.

After finishing up my senior season on the field hockey team as well as some major courses this past fall, I am now spending my final semester studying abroad in Scotland in order to pursue my passion of Scottish history and tourism with the hope of even continuing on to a postgraduate program.

I have officially been in Scotland studying history at the University of Dundee for two months now. While it has certainly had its challenges, I have already had the time of my life. I have traveled and seen locations I have only dreamed about and have loved every second of it. From castles that are so beautiful it is hard to believe they’re even real, to locations I have studied for years, immersing myself in the real-life history, or the general beauty that Scotland’s landscapes and architecture have to offer on a daily basis. I have met and gained friends from all over the world who I get to share this experience with. The people here are just so kind and always willing to provide assistance and give advice. On all accounts, I find that I love the city of Dundee more and more every day. It is such a tight-knit, welcoming and convenient city.

I never thought that I would ever be able to do anything like living in a different country by myself, but here I am. I promise it is much easier than most people would think. Being on your own gives you an entirely different perspective on yourself and traveling. You really come to realize how resourceful you actually are, and how willing you become to branch out to try new things. Whether it’s flying alone for the first time across the ocean, taking a train by yourself across the country, walking miles and miles through the back farmland, trying haggis, or hiking up a mountain to reach the top of a castle, it is always worth it. I have built up the mentality to try and see if I can do something new almost every day, when it’s possible. I just want to make the absolute most of my time here.

I would say the biggest cultural difference I have experienced so far is definitely a lot of the terminology within our way about English versus theirs. My friends and I always tend to have a good time learning new ways to say certain things! The dialect can be challenging from time to time depending on where we are in the county, but the longer you’re here, the easier it gets. It certainly does not take long for people to realize where I come from, on the other hand. Given the current state of the political world, both in the U.S. as well as what the U.K. is going through, it does get brought up a lot in social and public places. However, I find that it is incredibly easy to have a civil and intellectual conversation with locals despite the controversial topics that may be brought up. It has been relatively easy gaining comfort within living in a different culture, though! It was quite natural to pick up on how you should act, what you should and shouldn’t say, and genuinely just become a part of the city and campus life. Just like Keene, the resources that the University of Dundee provides really helps the international students adjust to this new way of life.

For me, leaving the comfort that I had at Keene among my studies and field hockey was the worst part. Even though this was the opportunity of a lifetime, I still feel a sense of guilt about leaving. I willingly gave up spending my last semester in Keene alongside my friends and teammates in order to go off on my own to try and make something of myself in a different country. If it weren’t for the people and experiences that I had at Keene State, I most definitely would not be on the journey that I am today. Without my professors, my advisor, my coaches, my teammates and friends, Scotland wouldn’t have been a possibility. They all played a crucial role. I received so much love and support from those on campus that it led me to believe in myself and my journey both in and out of the classroom, and on and off the field. They helped me to realize that it was more than okay to pursue this journey, despite how impossible and heartbreaking I made it seem. I am eternally grateful for getting to learn at such a fantastic and loving school and community, to be a part of such an incredible athletic program and to have been on the greatest team. Keene State College changed my life. It gave me a family and memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Even all the way across the pond, I am always sure to keep those back home up to date on my experience. There are days when all I want is to just have them here with me so I can share all of this beauty with them, but pictures, videos and FaceTime certainly help fill the void. I will love Keene forever, and I do really miss it, but my future is here in Scotland. It brings me comfort knowing that I am still receiving such a strong level of support back home; I carry it with me every day here.

#UpHockey forever.

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