I’ve been in Leeds for about two weeks now. It’s been scary, but it’s also been an incredible amount of fun.
Coming from Australia, I assumed that I’d fit right in with British culture. I already speak the language so, how different could the UK really be? Very. And this is what they call ‘culture shock’.
From accidentally pulling an alarm chord (I thought it was the light), not knowing how to unplug a sink (turns out there’s a lever at the back) and adapting to the Yorkshire sayings (what does ‘ay up’ even mean?!), I was definitely in shock.
Within all of this bewilderment, there was one powerful thing that got me through: making new friends.
If I could give one major piece of advice to all those studying in the UK, it would be to get out of your little dorm room and go to every, single Freshers event you can.
I’ve never been an incredibly outgoing person, but with nothing left to lose in a country where I knew no one, I went to every international café meeting, every food outing and an abundance of parties. There are so many chances at Leeds to meet other students who are as new and confused as you are. I recommend that every international student engages with as many people as possible to end up with an amazing group of friends, such as mine:
Can you believe that none of us had met each other before coming to Leeds?
These new friends who share my shock of this new culture are keeping my homesickness at bay, giving me the chance to explore more and simply smile more.
My first few weeks in Leeds are almost over, but with about 30 new friends on Facebook, I’m feeling much more comfortable in this new place. It’s now time to let the real adventures to begin.
by Eleny Hooijer – Queensland University of Technology – Australia