I chose California State University Chico for my year abroad because it was close to Yosemite National Park. I had the sole purpose of climbing as much as possible that year. I got to go to Yosemite three times, which was amazing, but I also accomplished more than I’d ever imagined while I was in the US. I just opened my mind to every opportunity and every activity that was available to me, and that’s where I discovered yoga; my flatmate was a yoga teacher, so I went with him to all of his 6am classes, which I never thought would be me, but I loved it!
Since coming back to Essex, I’ve pretty much taken everything I found in California and brought it to the UK; I started the Acrobatics Club in February and now I teach acro-yoga and aerial arts as part of the club. I’m staying on to coach next year while I do my Masters. Over the summer I’m doing an acrobatics course in Spain, which the Students’ Union is supporting me with. It’s really just bringing everything I love into one space and helping to spread it to people who want to try.
Essex, for me, just represents so many opportunities. The reason I chose this university is because when I came to visit at an open day, it wasn’t like the same-old open days you get at other universities. I got to try the rock climbing wall and by that point I was completely sold; the beautiful campus, the Climbing Club, and just so many things to get involved with. You really can do anything you want here.
The Climbing Club travels to loads of incredible places. The second time I ever climbed outdoors was in the Dolomites in northern Italy on a trip. I’ve since arranged 15 trips this year with the club; we just got back from a weekend climbing in Wales, which was absolutely stunning.
Next year, I’m planning on buying a van and converting it and just going travelling when I finish my Masters, living and teaching and working all out of my van. I want to travel around Europe first, and then I’m planning to go to India to get qualified to teach yoga, and aim to climb in the Himalayas for a while. I think anyone who challenges the rules of society inspires me, people who break the mould. That’s who I want to be.