Claire – Semester Exchange to the University of Bradford, UK
Semester 2, 2016
That was my first thought when I finally touched down at the London Heathrow Airport. Considering that I haven’t been overseas before AND I was doing it solo empowered me significantly.
As I was sitting in the backseat of a black taxi heading to London with wind slamming into my face from the windows being down, I don’t think I could’ve been happier. This was due to two reasons. Firstly, the fresh air was amazing after a thirty hour trip with only air conditioning provided along the journey. Secondly, to have an opportunity like this as part of a Bachelor of Global Studies (or doing it additionally to a course) is such an exciting and growing experience. I have been in the United Kingdom for less than a week and I already feel like I have grown as a person and student. Just getting off the plane was such a huge step for me! As I had no family or friends to aid me or lead the way, I had to do everything for myself. What I realised, however, was that everyone was willing to help. Everyone has been extremely helpful so far and I have appreciated it significantly.
I arrived in London in the late afternoon and left the next morning. What I gathered from London was that I need a lot of time to explore around. There was so many people, shops, roads, and attractions; there was so much to do and I had so little time. An abundance of European accents were present everywhere I visited and I fell in love with the city in less than a day. I’m due for a longer visit very shortly.
I caught a train to Bradford the following day and was highly surprised by the first class carriage: they served tea!!! Not just once or twice, but every time you finished a cup they came around again and ask to refill. As a tea lover, I fell in love once again with my three hour train ride.
Arriving in Bradford, my host city, was a bit crazy. My taxi driver got lost going to my accommodation and when I finally arrived I discovered that my accommodation provided few supplies. It was also very humid which did not help. I held my head high and went for a walk through my university to a supermarket. I re-collected my thoughts and remembered that I was on the other side of the world! Wowee! With a very nice person at the cash register and a gentle walk back to my accommodation my mood was lifted.
My overall thoughts of the United Kingdom are positive. In under a week I have learnt that everyone is very nice, talkative, and helpful. If you are nervous or confused in the United Kingdom I assure you try not to stress because at least one person will ask if you need help with anything – usually with the phrase, “are you alright, love?”. If you don’t like drinking tea you will be okay as there are always alternatives – even if it is just water. Also, when you meet someone start the conversation with a, “Hiya” and you’ll be in their good books. In under a week I have fallen in love with a country on the other side of the world and I can not wait for what the next six months will bring.