Alumni Spotlight: Zoe Barry


Zoe is currently taking a Gap Year before attending Manchester School of Art to study a degree in Photography. She has spent time living in Stockholm, Sweden working on a range of creative projects. Her goal is to travel and document different people through the mediums of photography and film.

Why did you pick this program?

I picked this program because the idea of interrailing had always appealed to me. I still wanted to visit so many cities in Europe and being able to tick off as many as we did in a month seemed like the perfect opportunity.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

There are lessons you can only learn about yourself and others from traveling. Stepping away from what you know so well and experiencing something different can change the way you look at the world. You'll probably find you grow and acknowledge things that hadn't even crossed your mind before.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Firstly, don't pack every item of clothing you own, you probably won't be able to find half of it at the bottom of your rucksack anyway. Bring essentials and remember you can do laundry at any point along the way.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

I have so many great memories on this trip it's pretty hard to just choose one. When I think about my month in Europe, I remember details like watching the sunset from our balcony in Rome, and wandering around small back streets in Florence. There was a day in Rome when me and two others decided to take a train to the beach to escape the sweltering city. We spent the whole day sitting on the beach just swimming and talking, and it's still one of my favorite days.

Zoe's Take on Hostel Life:

I was worried that staying in hostels might be cramped and I'd be desperate to have my own space but it turned out hostels and their communal feel were one of the best parts of the trip. Sitting on a terrace in Barcelona, or a garden in Prague and meeting people from all around the globe who are also dotting between different cities is a lot of fun, you'll find you learn a lot.