When I started my degree at the University of Leeds back in 2012, entering the real world seemed light years away. Fast forward four years, two countries, a metric ton of French literature and seemingly endless vocabulary lists and I’m packing my life into two suitcases once again and moving back across La Manche, this time to Lyon in the beautiful Rhône-Alpes region. Sales-focused graduate schemes weren’t really for me, so when the opportunity arose to teach English in the land of baguettes through an exchange programme between Leeds and its partner universities in France it’s safe to say I was pretty excited about the prospect of another year abroad (albeit one with marginally more working hours).
In other news, I graduated back in July and became an alumnus of the University of Leeds. It was a ridiculously hot day up north, so I spent the best part of four hours melting in the very heavy ceremonial robes. Needless to say, my snap-happy family took plenty of photos, all of which were infinitely better than my horrendous official photograph, several glasses of orange juice (my sister, boyfriend and I) and champagne (in the case of my parents) were consumed at my department’s after-party and all in all it was a slightly stressful but enjoyable day.
Two days after my own graduation I was back in Leeds, this time celebrating Laurence’s graduation with his family. Luckily for him, having been to mine he knew the drill for his own graduation so it was a much smoother process! If graduation celebrations are anything to go by, the School of Civil Engineering is much richer than the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies as they’d laid on a huge spread of sandwiches, samosas, onion bhajis, fresh fruit, fruit tarts and all sorts of other delicious munchies for all their graduates (and said graduates’ families) to feast on!
Returning home at midnight from Laurence’s graduation, we squeezed in about five hours’ sleep before setting off for Manchester Airport, rucksacks in tow, ready for our last big trip (for the foreseeable future in any case): Hong Kong and Japan! After an incredible month travelling around these two countries, I’m now in the final stages of packing/ eating all the British food I can before flying out to Lyon tomorrow.
In the words of Michel Sardou, mes chers parents, je pars – but I’ll be back for my Christmas dinner in due course! À bientôt, les pâtisseries lyonnaises!
Photo credits: Dad, Laurence, Hannah Liu