Moving to a new country is one of the hardest things you can do, especially at such an important stage in your life, but here is what I found in my first week studying abroad…
Saying goodbye to friends and family
Saying goodbye to my friends and family was probably the toughest part of the week, but in some ways it was also the most exhilarating. It was so hard coming to the realization that I might not get to talk to everyone as much because of time differences and conflicting schedules and the idea of being on my own in a new country was definitely nerve wracking! Despite this, with every goodbye, it meant that the start of my exchange was drawing closer and it was hard not to be excited about that.
Fighting the jet lag
Being in my third year of university I am, by now, definitely not a stranger to sleep deprivation… but there’s little that can prepare you for jet lag. Personally, I made the mistake of not sleeping at all on the plane. When I arrived in the UK after a 7 hour, overnight flight I was ready to crawl into bed and sleep for about a week. At least now, I’ll (hopefully) be prepared for those 9am classes because there is tired… and then there’s jet lag tired.
First day of the welcome programme
The first day of the welcome programme was definitely the busiest day of the week! Between picking up my welcome pack, biometric resident permit, student card, setting up a bank account AND just trying to navigate my way around the campus I was on the go all day. As it turns out though, getting lost is a great way of meeting people – nothing quite breaks the ice like the question: “do you know where the Portland building is?”
Going grocery shopping for the first time
This was kind of a terrifying and magical journey all wrapped up into one. On one hand I found all kinds of new and wonderful foods to try. On the other hand, finding some of my staple foods from home became quite the challenge (what do you mean they don’t have all- dressed crisps in the UK!?).
Moving into your room and meeting your new flatmates If I had to pick the highlight of my week, moving into my flat and meeting my flat mates would have to be it. A year ago, when I first started planning to go on my exchange year, it felt like forever until I finally got to start. Once I had picked up the keys to my flat and met all of my flatmates I realized that this was the final confirmation that I was truly on exchange.
Edited by: Amy Hawthorne