After a total 15 hours of travel time we finally find ourselves at the University of Nottingham, England! The Campus is painted with green hills, tall trees, colorful autumn leaves and a gray sky with rays of sun shining through. It looked just like home but as the International welcome week unfolded, we quickly learned it definitely wasn’t. We all arrived tired and hungry but after waiting in our queues (or lines) for food, we realized we would probably stay hungry for a while.
Much of the food here we’ve found to be fried, a bit on the heavy side and always containing some sort of potatoes. Even the water taste a little off but we’ve also learned that cafeteria food will not be our only option and more satisfying meals can be found around the campus shops and cafes and in town. While the food is different I’m enjoying the opportunity to try new things. The food is just one more thing to get used to, I suppose. Because it was international week, we encountered many different people. The international students come from a variety of different backgrounds, including African, Indian, Australian, Mexican and Chinese. Each person has an interesting story to tell and a new accent for us to get used to.
Meeting new people on campus has been great, but exploring the cities has also been a lot of fun. You walk everywhere here, so we’ve all been getting a good work out. The campus is huge; it seems every time we turn the corner there is more to walk. The layout of the campus and footpaths (walkways) are all twisted and winding here, not straight like back home. The twisting structures of the campus and cities make it is a bit confusing as we learn our way around. For the times we can’t walk any longer, we have learned to get around on the bus. Well--mostly, anyway, as just today I got lost on the wrong one, I’m slowly learning.
The dormitories intimidated me at first. Each hall has a warden, which to me made them sound like jails. Turns out it’s just the name given to the head of the hall. Each hall also has a bar and room cleaning services available to the students which at first was a bit odd to me. My new hall doesn’t quite feel like home yet, but I’m sure I will get there soon. Another challenge has been communicating.
Many think that because they speak English in England there are no language barriers, but I can assure you they do come up. All the different accents we aren’t accustomed to present a challenge, but then add speed to that and it makes for a very difficult conversation to follow. I have found most people, after I begin speaking, recognize I’m American and quickly turn up their patience and enthusiasm. The Freshers (Freshman) have recently moved into the halls now that international week is over. My wing being an all-girls wing has a very relaxed feel to it and all the girls are very sweet. Thursday we start classes which will be another challenge all together but I’m excited to see how it goes.