Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Stephanie and Crimson in Leicester, England!

Hello All,

Welcome to my blog post! I've been in Leicester for a month as of October 19th; I'm enjoying every minute of it. At first this city might feel like Greensboro because there isn't much to do here besides shop, eat, and go to the cinema. However, I'm pushing myself to get out of that mindset because this isn't Greensboro, NC... this is Leicester, ENGLAND! It took me a while to get adjusted to life here in Leicester, but I had the company of two other UNCG students to make the process less scary. 

We departed from Charlotte on September 18th and arrived in London at the Heathrow Airport on September 19th. This was my first time flying so I was super anxious, but after an hour or so on the plane I was able to relax. Going through customs was interesting to say the least, but once we went through customs and got our suitcases we headed for the charter bus that was waiting on us. It was a 2-hour bus ride from London to Leicester, but I slept through the ride due to my lack of sleep on the plane. Once we got to Oadby Student Village we checked in and headed to our halls. I'm living in Beaumont Hall and I like it so far; it's nice having my own room and bathroom. My flatmates are quite the characters, but I get along with them. My dragon, Crimson, seems to enjoy the view from our room.
Crimson enjoying the view from the residence.
Our first two weeks here were very relaxing. We spent most of our days going into the city and discovering the many shops and cafes. This city also has not one, but two 3-story shopping malls. I was kind to my bank account by keeping my shopping to a minimum because there's lots of traveling I want to do. Speaking of traveling, we went to Birmingham for a day to checkout the Bull Ring and explore the city. Here's Crimson, standing in front of the Bull Ring. 
Crimson outside the Bull Ring in Birmingham
I'll be in Dublin, Ireland for Halloween with some other international students, so I'm pretty excited about that opportunity. A couple weeks after the Dublin trip we plan on going back to London for the weekend. We also have a trip planned for Amsterdam near the end of our stay.

So far, I'm enjoying everything about England. My classes are quite different from classes at UNCG because there aren't any assignments due during the term, we have final exams at the end and that's it. I'm also running for a student council position here at the University for the term, so fingers crossed that I win! The locals I've encountered are very friendly and I've had some interesting conversations with them at the bus stops. I've learned that it's okay to ask a stranger for help when you're the foreigner, even though it's nerve-racking. It's also okay to stay in and enjoy your own company. I think I feel the pressure on most days to constantly be out doing something, but I learned that it's okay if I need to take a day to be by myself. These are the days when Crimson and I send postcards back home to our family. 
Sending postcards to family
Well, thank you for letting me talk about my experience here in Leicester, England. I hope you all enjoy the rest of the semester!


Stephanie Cooke
University of Leicester
England, United Kingdom