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Studying Abroad, Say What, I'm in England? - My Welcome Week 2014



Arriving at Sussex in the first few days is an experience that words don't exist to describe. Coming as an exchange student for the year, I wasn't overwhelmed by the size of the campus, but the closeness of it. I was surprised by how helpful everyone around the campus was, both with and without an "Ask Me" sign. 


Before I moved to Sussex I stayed in Coventry with a friend, and every morning I woke up dazed and confused, wondering what I was doing 5,000 miles from home. The strangest experience occurred when I woke up in my bed at East Slope--those thoughts were gone. I think I struck gold, as my flatmates are some of the coolest and nicest people I've had the privelage of meeting, and they've made me feel more at home than I ever imagined I would feel.


My welcome week has been a flurry of experiences--broken kitchen, loud music, East Slope bar, new people, Brighton nights--and they've all been unforgettable. Although I'm still unsure of the future, and adjusting to this lifestyle, I'm so grateful to be here and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

Time of Your Life - First Days in the UK



So, now I'm finally here.

After years and years of wishing to get a chance to study abroad, I finally arrived in England on a very sunny Sunday. I've been here for four days now, but it already feels like a second home. The people are so polite, and the Sussex campus is such a lively, pulsating place with a lot of events and activities. I've learnt so much already, and enjoyed my time. But naturally, there have been moments of confusion too. Like what? Well, let me tell you.



When I was leaving to the UK, several people told me to be two times more polite than anywhere else in Europe. I remember agreeing to this advice, but the reality caught me off-guard. I wasn't expecting this amount of smiles and open-armed welcome. For example, after I got to Sussex from London with two Canadian law students, a random nice man came up and offered to lead us to the campus and to the Meeting House. He also helped with the impressive amount of bags we had with us.

Finally, I got my keys and opened the door to my new home - and got so much help to get there by several nice people. It really came handy, since British people have a weird way of counting floors. They told me my room was on second floor, but I found my room from the third floor. Seems that the British don't count the "ground floor" as a floor at all. The more you know, I guess.



You know what really surprised me? The amount of fire doors in every British building. Every Sussex building has an impressive amount of fire doors. Everywhere. Several of them. Door after door after door. When you're going somewhere, you have to push your way through at least four of them. This is of course a good thing, but so unfamiliar.

Also, the British take fire really seriously. In my second morning living here, the fire alarm started blaring in our house. I got up all bleary-eyed and met my very tired American neighbour at the first time too, when we both opened our doors in our night clothes. Talk about first impressions!

And for ten minutes, every person from our building came out and waited until the residence people checked everything was alright. The zombie group of tired students outside in their pajamas - and one girl with her wet hair, since her showering time had been interrupted - were quite a sight.



Naturally, I've also visited Brighton via a Student Union organized tour. It was amazing, and I met few good friends on that trip! It's been sunny and warm for all of my first days, while people at my home country have even had minus degrees! Induction week have been filled with a lot of information and new people, but I already feel like I'm enjoying every moment, despite the occasional confusion - and endless fire doors.

What can I say? Fireworks, London, interesting courses, parties and more friends...I'm loving every minute of my fresher's week. Today, I even bought a Sussex hoodie to wear on the campus and joined a lot of societies in the Fresher's fair. Even if't been only four days, I already can tell that term will be one of the most memorable times of my life.

And of course, that's all I could have hoped for.

Firsts- A Poem About Fresher's 2014



I've been at Sussex for a week now and it's been amazing

But it's also been scary and full of changes,

Because Fresher's Week is full of a whole load of firsts:

Whether it's the first time you stay away from home or the first time you're missing home;

The first time you take a stroll around campus or the first time you make a sprint into campus;

The first time you make a meal from scratch or your first Pot Noodle;

Your first induction lecture or your first day with all time to spare and nobody there to nag you to get up and do stuff;

Your first time washing your clothes or your first time bleaching the toilet;

Your first trip down the pier or your first borrow from the library every first is as scary and as beautiful as the next. 

You try to pre-plan everything you can but you've just got to let things flow,

Be spontaneous, be brave, let it go.

There's only one Fresher's and that's the first.

So don't look back in a years time full of regrets,

Get yourself out there and make the best of the best.

I never realised I'd get through it so easy

I'm knackered and bruised and full of the common cold virus

But I don't care 

I've got new friends, new hobbies, a whole new perspective,

And due to all these experiences and fun

I think the best year of my life has just begun!