This time last year I was putting the finishing touches to my packing and, to be honest, freaking out about moving 4,500 miles away from my comfort zone to attend Library School at Syarcuse. I can now, one year, one degree, one job and countless unhealthy meals later, declare that this was the best decision I have ever made.
Don't get me wrong, there have been tough times and I maintain that you should never underestimate the amount of red tape that can surround an international student but I have learned how to overcome these problems and thrive in a foreign city. I have to admit, the accent has been a massive help in breaking the ice and being remembered by people and I am a bit apprehensive about returning to the UK where I will be back to being 'normal.'
The whole Library School experience was pretty different over here with the focus on libraries of the future and technology. In every library I have visited and at the conferences which I have attended I have been shocked by the positivity among information professionals. Even in my local library, there is a hustle and bustle that I do not experience in my branch at home.
Really, the best professional preparation I have received has been through my work. I have had a position in the Syracuse University Archives all year, originally as a graduate assistant and now as the graduate intern. The staff have really taken me under their wing and always gone the extra mile to explain what was going on in the department and in the wider library so that I could understand how this sort of institution works over here. (They have also been very forthcoming with hints and tips about what I should see, eat and do while in the States).
I will, truthfully, be very sad to leave Syracuse, I settled in more than I thought possible and I send a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year so successful - I can't express what it has meant to me.
|My leaving camp fire...a very American end to a delightfully American year|