A lot of my anxiety about coming abroad for a year was about being here for a longer time without the friends I had last semester. We would do weekly potlucks, go out to the pub together and help each other adjust to British classes. But I’m surviving here without them.
It’s been a huge leap from when I found out I was going to be abroad for a year to actually doing it. My first semester here in England was definitely life changing. I found myself taking more responsibility than I was used to, especially over my 18 year old flatmates who are just starting out their university experience. I’m cooking for myself and always looking to learn a new recipe that I might love to eat again. Regardless of the fact that here at UEA we get more time to do our work, the workload is not easier or lighter, despite what people might think about studying abroad. However, I have had a little more time to put towards self care. Sometimes when I don’t have class, I can do to my readings in a cafe in the city center. I can consider going to London for the weekend if I would like to. Being here in Norwich is comfortable for me.
I went home over Christmas break on my grandmother’s request. Everyone at home expected me to have an English accent with the urge to never come back to America again. Honestly, I admit that I could be here in Norwich or home in New York and it would not bother me. The key to being here is making it a second home. I’m fortunate to be in England for so long because I can take my time. Some of my friends last semester were gone to another country almost every weekend because they only had a few months in Europe to study and travel. However, I can balance all the time I have here, spend more of it in England because I have time to spare. This way I get the experience of really living in another country and going to see things I may never have the means to see again.
Of course, there are times where I wish my American friends were still across the courtyard, with requests to hang out at the weirdest times of the day. I wish I could show my family everything Norwich has to offer and how different it is from the city we’re used to. I wish I could explain it all in a small piece and suddenly release in some kind of creative piece. All I can say is that it’s new and will surprise you more than you expect. If you have the means to go abroad for an entire year in college, don’t be scared to do it, you may find out more about yourself than you think.