There were so many things I did not get to mention in my post yesterday because I was slightly crunched on time but today is more of a down day so here we meet again.
I mentioned the accents of the locals but I did not mention the other international students I have met. So far I have met people from states all across the U.S. as well as students from Australia, France, Italy, and Mexico. I’m sure there is more but it is quite hard to remember everything that happens and every person I have met. This whole first week (HOLY CRAP IT HAS BEEN A WEEK) was jam packed with different activities for the international students so I really have not had any time to myself. It has been really nice to hang out with students who are going through the exact process as me and who are just as excited/intrigued by every little thing that means absolutely nothing to the locals. My roommate is from Virginia so it has been great to bond over the same discoveries we’ve had about Leicester, our housemates and the university. When I first arrived, I definitely did not feel very comfortable. Anyone who knows me may think this is not true because I’m so open and friendly…and loud…and ridiculous…and other traits but now I’m just embarrassing myself. But I didn’t know anyone and nothing was the same so there was nothing familiar for me to hold onto that gave me comfort. But I will say after a week I feel much more comfortable in England. I can already tell it is going to be devastating to leave. Family: I promise I won’t miss my flight back home.
I need to take a second to say that the Uni students (Uni is short for University [obviously] as the term college is used for their version of high school) are wild and crazy! I don’t mean this in a bad way and it’s honestly just the norm here but they stay up to party SO LATE. Oh my sweet lantis. They start seshing or pre-seshing (spelling it wrong most likely but it’s what Americans would call pre-gaming) around 9 pm, sometimes earlier. This is fairly familiar to how I would spend a night back in the states (not that I drank a lot or party-ed ever mom and dad…I’m also legal in the U.S….fyi). But the difference is the clubs stay open until 5 or 6 in the morning so no one comes home until 6 or 7 in the morning…..you’re shocked, so was I. I guess this time would be normal for bigger cities in the states but I never went to big clubs in big cities so 5 am is LATE to me. I will admit that I have taken part in these activities solely for the purpose of anthropological research (of course). However, these students are all 18-21, with 18 being the legal age limit to drink in the U.K. so it really is not that big of a surprise that young Uni students are up late drinking. I could even walk around my Student Village drinking out of a bottle or cup and not get in trouble. Crazy.
Aside from drinking, there is so much more smoking as well. Smoking cigarettes (or fags as I have heard a few friends say) is so common no one cares, ever. I did find it funny that even though smoking is so common, the warning labels on the cigarette packs are much larger and bolder. I have even seen an image of doctors performing surgery….so clearly those warnings are useless. I hate to talk about drugs (I HAVE NOT DONE DRUGS. REPEAT: I HAVE NOT DONE DRUGS) but even weed is so insanely common here. Granted it is still illegal here but even in the student village, students don’t necessarily get in a lot of trouble for it. Crazy! I think that is all I should say about drugs. I may be giving some of you the wrong impression. Again, friends/family in the states, this is simply the norm in the U.K.; they don’t view drugs and alcohol with such negative connotations as we do so just keep an open mind as I am trying to do.
My first class is tomorrow and the way classes are scheduled here is so different. For example, the first term (fall), students study and go to classes for about two months or so, then go home for the holiday. Just last week did the students take their exams for the first term. So they were home visiting family, working and also having to study for their final exams. Personally, I would forget every single little thing and flunk out of Uni. Luckily, international students do not have to stay for exams, which for me would be in the end of May. Uh, I’ll pass but thanks for the offer. Uni in general so far is very different than the U.S. I meet for one class tomorrow from 9-12. Three hours for a class! Not only that, but we meet again the same day for another hour! What the heck are we going to be doing?! But that is the only time we meet the whole week. I have another class exactly like that a different day. My third class meets twice a week and only an hour for each day. Not as bad and more similar to the structure I’m used to at my home university. In regards to my textbooks, I don’t have to purchase any! No one does! All textbooks or reading material is available at the library for checkout. Uh, U.S., get on this system. Please and thank you. So as far as classes go, I’m intrigued to see how the in-class sessions are set up and the sort of homework/reading assignments we’re given. I’ll let you know later this week!
I guess I should explain where I’m living. I live in the Oady Student Village. Think of the term village as sort of a neighborhood. So my village has dorms and houses to live in so for about three blocks it is all students. We have a food court, a pub (A FRICKEN PUB), a mini shop for food and laundrettes of course. We have to take a bus to campus because CAMPUS IS AN HOUR WALK AWAY. I have no idea why the student-living is so far from campus but it is. So I ride the bus now; I didn’t even do that in the U.S. so it was really hard to figure out which bus took you where and when I needed to be at the bus stop but now I have figured it out. Luckily there is a sort of supermarket further up the road called ASDA, which is essentially a really small Walmart with way less options. Here is where I bought my towel, laundry basket, and shower essentials. So have no fear family, I will never go hungry because there is always somewhere to get food.
I can’t think of anything else right now other than I am really liking England. A lot. My housemates are all super nice and helpful (oh, ps- I’m in a co-ed house) and I’ve made good friends with the international students too so yay me! I made friends! Were you even worried? Of course not. I think I will leave it at that for now. More to come later this week.
As the English say, Cheers!