First Impressions

I’m now five days into living at Uni, and it feels like home! So so crazy to me… A week ago, I wasn’t even packed for moving in, and two weeks ago, I had just arrived on a plane! The time is flying but it also feels so normal being here. While planning this exchange, all I could think about was how long I would be away from home and all the people I love- now, though, although I know I’ll be SO excited to see everyone and be at OSU again, leaving in December seems much too soon! I’m already dreading saying goodbye to the people I met only three days ago.

The day all the other students moved in was quite busy (and did require an extra amount of energy allotted for socializing), but turned out pretty great. Several people wandered into my open door to meet in the afternoon, and we went down to the hall junior common room (JCR), which has foosball, ping pong, and lots of couches. Everyone was migrating down after unpacking/saying goodbye to family. (Side note- this gave me so many flashbacks to last year!! How different it was having to put together an entire room with furniture and a plethora of decorations, say goodbye to family, and be on our own for the first time! I was feeling quite nostalgic.) There were lots of awkward circles of people saying “what’s your name? what are you studying? where are you from?” over and over and over and over. I also got a lot of “are you American? you’re only here for one semester?? where’s Oregon?” It gave me a good talking point though. Although most people didn’t know where Oregon was-“above California!”- one guy actually said “go ducks!”to which I promptly told him we couldn’t be friends. After reconciling, though, I was quite impressed that he followed American college football.

One of the most predominant differences I’ve noticed between the US and the UK is drinking. Since the drinking age is 18 here, it’s 100% okay to have alcohol on campus- in fact, every dorm has its own bar, and they sell it in the school convenience stores!!! Our hall’s bar was open the first night which was so bizarre to me. Also, every night this week for freshers week, there is an organized night out at a club, with pre drinks advertised in the JCR beforehand. It’s really quite strange to me.

On Sunday, after the first night, I had what I considered my first very very British meal for brunch. We had porridge, with sausages, bacon (what we might call canadian bacon I think, because it’s much thicker and better), and a roll; I had to actually ask people what I was supposed to do with all these items and learn how to construct a breakfast sandwich thing. Also, I’ve learned that the amount of tea everyone drinks is NOT a false stereotype. My room is right next to the hall kitchen with a kettle, and it’s been a meeting place and socializing place multiple times. I’ve been to two different events centered around tea, and missed several others. One of the first conversations I had with one of my new friends was about how much milk we put in our tea and how much is actually the proper amount. I finally fit in!

After brunch on Sunday, a big group of us took the bus into town. It was only about a 15-20 minute ride to the Victoria Centre, a mall about the size of Washington Square Mall. A couple people said it was the biggest shopping centre they’ve ever seen which I thought was funny. Downtown Nottingham is really nice- all the shops are cute and interesting, there are tons of places for food and drinks, and there was even a food festival and music in the town center!

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Festival in the City Center

In the evening, I met up with my hall’s Christian Union rep to go to church. The Christian Union is a campus wide thing, with second year students living in every hall to mentor and hang out with the first years! I think it’s pretty cool and it was really helpful for me to get involved and plugged in straight away.

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First night of freshers week in the JCR (check me out in the top left quadrant)

Monday was the first day of sort of classes- since only freshers are here still, it’s only introductory lectures. The school system is much different here, though; an undergraduate degree is only three years, because students aren’t required to take any classes unrelated to their area of study. Since no bioengineering classes could transfer properly back to OSU, I’m taking psychology classes to contribute to my minor instead. If I was taking the normal fresher psych classes, I would be in social psychology, cognitive psych, statistical methods, and two other psychology specific classes. This is super different to what I’m used to at OSU! In fact, I was planning on taking classes here that contribute to my bacc core (the classes I’m required to take that are completely unrelated to my major!). Anyway, the intro lectures this week are just to meet some of the professors, tutors, and mentors, so they’re for all the psychology freshers and independent from the modules we’re signing up for. Tomorrow is when I actually sign up for my modules/classes, and the whole system for that too is quite different. Hopefully I can get into the ones I’ve gotten approved!

Overall, everything has been really great so far. It’s been way easier than I thought to make friends, and everyone in the hall is SO friendly it’s okay if you haven’t made friends yet too! I’ve even found some other psychology students I get to hang out with. The school’s organization for timetables and registering is a little frustrating to me at times, but I don’t know if it’s because I’m international so it’s all more complicated or the system just isn’t great.

I have lots more fun events this week with freshers week, and then official classes start next Monday. I’ve honestly been so focused on getting to England and moving into Nottingham that I haven’t given much thought to classes, but now I’m getting excited for that too! I obviously don’t have many pictures of anything now, but maybe there will be more soon.

For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 8:35

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