I’ve officially been in Wales for a full day and a half now, and since blogging seems to be the thing to do while abroad, I figured I would start. As a disclaimer however, my New Year resolution was to journal every night and that lasted about 4 days so no promises on an up to date blog.
I am studying this semester at Aberyswyth University in Wales. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it though because I am still not fully sure. To get here, I took 3 planes, a train, and a taxi. Despite getting lost in the Chicago airport with only a 30 minute layover, the air travel part went pretty smoothly. My final plane landed in Birmingham, England and that’s where my struggles began. I checked two large suitcases, each that weighed just under 50lbs. On top of that, I carried on a backpack and a tote bag. I don’t think I fully processed that I would need to carry all of that on my own until I was pulling my bags off the conveyer belt in England. I am sure that I was entertaining the whole airport as they watched me struggle to drag them. The train ride went fast and was easy enough and then right when I got off the train it was a short taxi ride up to campus.
When I arrived I got my room key and ID card right away and went to my room. Shout out to the two men who offered to carry my bags up all the stairs! My room is a decent size, It has a full size (hard) bed, a sink, a desk, and a small closet. The way my “dorm” is set up is what they described as a “flat”. I share a hall with 12 other people who also have individual rooms. We all share a common kitchen area and two bathrooms, which are co-ed (weird). I got settled into my room the first night I was there and unpacked only about half my stuff since that’s about all that would fit into the tiny closet that I have. A guy who lives in my flat took me around and introduced me to all my new flat mates and then that night we hung out in a small group and chatted. Most of them turn out to be from Norway and everyone speaks a variation of english, but accents are still hard for me to fully understand.
Today, my first full day here, I decided to do some exploring (pictures below). I walked into town and looked at shops and walked along the coast of the sea as well. I also went grocery shopping while I was in town and found it very difficult because so many things are different brands or were just so different from what I am used to eating. I left with apples, bread, nutella, and oatmeal…so I will probably need to go back again with people other than Americans. Other weird things about shopping are that you have to ask for bags to put your purchases in and they cost money so a lot of people bring their own bags with them shopping. Also, using a card that isn’t signed on the back is a huge issue, which i learned because mine isn’t signed.
So far though everything is going well and I am enjoying every bit of it, even with the struggles of adjusting to a new culture and place. Orientation starts tomorrow for exchange students and classes begin on Monday and I am looking forward to all that is to come from this semester!