Alumni Spotlight: Melanie Cook

Melanie Cook is from Dallas, Texas and attends Trinity University in San Antonio; she is currently working towards a degree in Psychology with a Creative Writing minor. Melanie loved everything about her experience in Wales except their lack of Mexican food – and no, the one “Taco Bell” in Manchester didn’t count.

Day in the Life of Melanie Cook - Study Abroad Student in Bangor, Wales

Highlights: The highlight of my trip without a doubt was the Outdoor Pursuits class. I’ve never been into athletics or any kind of outdoor activity, but when I got to Wales I realized that I didn’t want to miss out on the amazing landscape so I signed up for the class at the last minute. Every second of every day I was terrified, whether I was trying to stand up on a surfboard (never happened) or biking down a mountain (I didn’t even know that grown-up bikes had gears), but I learned so much about perseverance and courage and the value of friends and teammates that help you get to the finish. I learned that I love to be right on the line between my comfort zone and my stretch zone, because that’s where life gets interesting.

Morning: I had morning classes/Outdoor Pursuits every weekday except Tuesday, when I would sleep in. Every other day I woke up around 7:30 to make myself breakfast (porridge or cereal) in my flat’s kitchen and then walk ~20 minutes to make my 9 am classes. Lectures were two hours long with a break in between, seminars were an hour long, and all three of my Bangor classes had both lecture and seminar components. Every other weekend we were on the bus in the morning heading off on a field trip; castles, memorials, and nearby historical cities like Liverpool or Chester were all frequent stops.

Melanie in Wales with CCA

Afternoon: After lecture and seminar, I would usually walk around High Street to get lunch in the bakeries (warm pasties on cold days were marvelous) and sometimes shop for items I needed. I also used this time to grocery shop, piling my food into my backpack and walking back up the hill to the dorms site. On Mondays I took a Zumba class at the gym right next to my dorm, and some days I spent time in my room reading for class or watching TV. On Outdoor Pursuits days, of course, I was far away from campus doing something crazy like canoeing down the Menai Strait or scrambling up a mountain.

Evening: I usually ate dinner with friends, either cooking together or going out to the smaller restaurants close to campus. We watched movies and played games, I updated my travel blog, went to Trampoline Club on Wednesdays and to the Christian Union meetings on Thursdays. I usually went to bed early; I was always exhausted by the end of the day!