Kiara shares her thoughts on living away from home for the first time…
The thought of studying overseas and planning side travel was so exciting that I did not stop to consider that I would be moving to the other side of the world and away from my family for the first time. I’ve always lived at my parents place. Never have I considered moving out. The longest time I have spent away from my home was 6 weeks and within that experience I was well taken care of by friends. My family were obviously aware that moving away from home was going to be shock for me. My parents encouraged me to start cooking dinner. While my brothers tried to stress the importance of budgeting.
When leaving for the airport I started to realize that this experience that I was embarking on was going to be difficult. I was the kind of person that would eat a sandwich at university from her packed lunch box that her mother had prepared for her the night before. How was I going to survive on the other side of the world? It was a scary thought. Nevertheless, after a 27 hour flight nothing felt more empowering then stepping onto English soil.
Seeing the building and the room where I was going to live for the next 6 months was a strange but exhilarating feeling. The building was very English looking and my room, having flower curtains and beige wallpaper guaranteed it an unchangeable vintage look.
While attending an international meet up day at my university, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was surrounded by people in the same boat as me. Exchange students, travelers, first time movers. It was comforting to see that I wasn’t the only one embracing this new experience. Better yet, a lot of the exchange students had the same travel plans as myself which made making friends easy.
It was really my host university that made the transition of settling in really easy. There were plenty of meet ups, group chats and excursions that I embarked on that the university had organised. I went along to a seminar where lecturers explained their tips and tricks that they have learnt living in England, which included the cheapest supermarkets and how to avoid paying extra for public transport. The seminar was helpful and I felt grateful that I may have leant how not look like a tourist. Unfortunately, I still made plenty of mistakes. Including getting lost, paying more than was needed for food, locking myself out of my room, twice, setting the fire alarm off, shrinking my clothes and forgetting to set my clocks back for daylight savings. I can gladly say that I have learnt from my mistakes and living away from home is getting easier. I’ve never felt more independent and I’m confident that I can support myself. This is a new accomplishment for me and I feel like this experience has given me the confidence to venture out of my comfort zone when it comes to doing new things and doing things for myself.