I have been looking forward to this trip for months, and it is hard to believe that I am currently typing this from my apartment in Newcastle, England. I did not know exactly what to expect, other than the culture being much different from what I am used to in the United States. I cannot stress how fortunate I am to have this opportunity. It is such an experience being able to observe how people live here.
So far, I feel like I've learned so much and I've only been in England since Monday, January 14th. I have three other roommates that I'm living with. Two are from Spain and one is from France; they are such friendly people. It is such an advantage living with them because we are all experiencing this foreign atmosphere together. Also, I can help them with their English.
It is very easy to meet people here, and everyone is helpful and friendly; just like at Clarkson. During orientation, I met exchange students from all over the world. It has been such a pleasure meeting people from various backgrounds and cultures. It is nice knowing that there are many people in a similar situation. Therefore, as these peers are so different in their backgrounds, they are experiencing the same unfamiliarity.
There were some instances upon my arrival where I felt the pressure of being completely on my own in a new country. However, this tension is eased very quickly upon adapting to the environment and overcoming the minor obstacles. Overcoming these obstacles is such an empowering feeling simply because you are doing it on your own in another country.
On a daily basis, it is so easy to forget that there are so many other cultures that exist with completely different ways of living. This experience is already opening my eyes to how differently we live compared to others. Sometimes we should all take a minute to recognize that the world is so much bigger than what we see on a daily basis.
I am so looking forward to this experience in England, and in Europe in general. I have just settled into my lovely apartment, and am just beginning my journey.