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Journals from Semester Abroad in Nottingham England

2013-09-23 Week One in Nottingham

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Some Linfield students enjoying the campus's Jekyll Gardens

23/9/13

It’s finally “Week One” here at the University of Nottingham! We’ve gotten through International Week, a period where all of the new international students at NU arrive and experience welcoming events and activities. Now it’s time for us to experience the company of British and other European students during “Fresher’s Week.” Fresher’s Week is the first week of Uni for all students and it caters to Freshers, or first years, to welcome them to the University. This mainly consists of nightclubbing. Whether I will experience much of that has yet to be determined (it doesn’t interest me much, but I’ve got to live a little, right?).

            Nevertheless, our time here so far has been jam-packed with experiences! The nine of us from Linfield have done things together and apart, making sure to keep in touch but make friends outside the Linfield group. In less than a week I’ve explored much of the campus, visited the Jubilee (sub) campus a number of times, learned about the bus system here (and used it, of course), gone to the Nottingham city centre twice to explore, visited the Nottingham Castle (the most overwhelming museum imaginable), had lunch at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (rumored to be the oldest pub in England, built in 1189), visited Wollaton Hall (well known for its cameo in The Dark Knight Rises), explored the nearby town of Beeston, watched the first half of a Manchester City vs. United game at a local pub…the list goes on, really!

             Listing all of the things I’ve done so far makes me realize how overwhelming this past week has actually been. We’ve walked countless miles to do all of that exploring, and I’m surprised my feet haven’t fallen off. Despite how stunningly busy I’ve been, I’m happy that we took such measures to become familiar with the area. It helps to make Nottingham seem homier, more than just a strange city to stay in for a few months.

            That being said, I still have an overwhelming sense of insecurity being a new (and international) student. I know that making friends can be as easy as saying, “Hi,” but it’s one of those things that’s easier in your head than in practice. I’m looking forward to my classes for this reason: I’ll be in an environment of like-minded people (or at least peers who have a similar interest). More on this in future posts.

            Finally, I could talk about the experience of traveling here (i.e. the approximate twenty hours of travel and twelve hours of flying), but who wants to hear that much complaining? Honestly, I don’t feel too compelled to complain, as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it could be (trying to sleep on planes is dreadful). I’m too grateful to be here; too appreciative of this opportunity and everyone who has supported me in getting here, to complain about minor bumps in the road. If I’ve learned anything this week, it’s that this is an experience to remember, full of individual experiences that build up to an incredible semester. So here’s to new experiences!

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