I have been in England for one week now, and I’ve had my fair share of stressful moments. I want to be realistic, but I also want to be aware of the positive things. So, here are just a few things that helped me get through my first week in Colchester:
- There are so many international students – I knew that the University of Essex takes pride in having an international community, but I had no idea what that really meant until this week. There are students from over 130 countries at this university. Do you know what that means? It means that every time I walk outside my flat, I get to hear so many beautiful accents and languages being spoken. Just while sitting in the doctor’s office I overheard a group of freshers meet and discover they all spoke English, Spanish, and a bit of German. They then began to have a conversation that flowed in an out of all three languages. The best part? None of them were from the same country! Being a bit of a language nerd, I just sat in the corner smiling like an idiot because I was so happy to see the beauty of language at work.
- I found the library – That alone is enough to make this week a good one. First of all, I need you all to know that the library here has lifts/elevators that move on their own. Instead of pushing a button, you just hop on. And hop off. I might be a grown adult, but I revert straight back to a 10 year old every time I get to use the lifts. Second of all, I cannot fully express how happy it makes me to have access to a good library. The online resources are great, and I have access to so many books on the shelves. Also, I stumbled upon a book about reading Bromances, so there’s that to be happy about.
- My department and course faculty are amazing – I hate to brag, but I am so happy to be part of such an amazing department and program. I spent most of Thursday sitting in on welcome talks to the Language and Linguistics department. After that I had a meeting with my course director, a member of the faculty, and some of the PhD candidates for sociolinguistics. I quickly learned that I get to spend the next year learning from some amazing linguists that are extremely excited about research, language, and asking hard questions. I learned that I am not just some student, I am an academic in training. I will be doing real research this year, producing my own data and analysis of things that I am passionate about. And I have a wonderful department surrounding me that is willing to teach me, push me, guide me, test me, and be excited about this with me. This alone was enough to put that stupid grin on my face for the rest of the day.
- Freshers Fair – I tend to be the person that hides from anything full of societies and 18 year olds looking for free pizza, but I decided to go this time. I actually went with a flat mate to look at used bikes, but I’m happy that I stayed and looked around with her. It made me really happy to see so many students getting excited about so many different things. Of the things I remember, there were clubs for the following things:
- Trampolining – I have no idea what that really is, but apparently they compete at a national level.
- Pole dancing – I just kind of laughed and walked by this booth. Not that I have anything against pole dancing, just that the thought of me getting friendly with a pole makes me giggle.
- Harry Potter Society – Yup. Not going to say I didn’t sign up.
- Science and Fantasy – Their mascot for the day was a young man wearing a spandex Spiderman costume. I saw him playing tennis at some point.
- So many cultural clubs – I was told there was an American Society, but I didn’t see a booth. Either way, it made me so happy to see so many cultures represented through the SU.
- Friends and family back home – I have been so blessed this week. My friends and family from home have been supportive since the beginning of this crazy adventure, and that support hasn’t stopped. From Face Time calls to texts and messages, it’s been so great having someone to talk to while I’m still meeting people in my new home.
And so ends my first full week in Colchester. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Autumn term, and so begins the cycle of classes, research, writing, working, societies, and trying to be a generally successful adult. Sounds like good fun to me.