“I made it all the way to my third week at Uni and I survived Freshers Week.”
I’m lucky to be living in the most social accommodation available at campus. I am one of 16 students sharing a flat together in one of the Towers, a high building reaching up 14 levels in pure 60s architecture at the University of Essex. We are a very diverse group of students, consisting of eight different nationalities, who share one big kitchen where we all hang out most of the time. Flatmates bring friends from outside, who sooner or later become a natural part of the family as well. Around the long kitchen table we gather for heated discussions, drinking games (an important part of freshers week in the UK) and group studies.
The first weeks of university have mostly evolved round becoming familiar with how life at campus works. The University of Essex is located a bit outside the city of Colchester, its campus surrounded by the beautiful English countryside. The university has been welcoming students from England and from all around the world since 1963 and about 40% of all students here are international. It offers diverse courses in the fields of humanities, science and health and social science.
Another fun fact is that the current Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, pursued his degree in the very same department as I have enrolled in. I wonder what his freshers week was like! The fact is though, that statistics and previous scholars are mildly interesting, since in reality, the personal experience from university is the only thing that really matters. And I can tell you, so far it feels great!
” Flatmates bring friends from outside, who sooner or later become a natural part of the family as well.”
The local student pub is the SU Bar, and is a hub for all freshers weeks in the uk. It is open from early to late, where students gather for karaoke or to chill out with friends over an afternoon coffee. There are also two clubs located on campus, but if you are keen to meet new people in a more chilled setting, joining a society that interests you is key. I have been very lucky with my flatmates whom I truly enjoy hanging out with, but the people from the basketball team and the public speaking society have contributed with their fair share of good friendships as well.
When it comes to the academic part of student life, the transition to studies full time has felt both intriguing and intimidating. I have gone from working at an office with regular working hours daily to being fully in charge of my own schedule, with the increased responsibility that follows. In conversations with fellow students, I realise that I am one of few who has taken a couple of gap years after my time in school. This results in meeting second-year students who are younger than me, which truthfully feels a bit strange.
“It’s baffling how a new place can feel like home so quickly”
The adjustment to my new life in England has so far taught me to look in the wrong direction when passing the street, familiarise myself with English slang and learn how people spread jam and clotted cream on their scones differently, depending on the region they’re from. The absurd yet beautiful things you learn when facing a new culture, truly enriches your life, although it might seem strange at first. This is why I strongly advise anyone considering studies abroad to take the step and apply. It will not only benefit your success in your future career, but it will also provide you with a slightly more accurate image of the world. It’s baffling how a new place can feel like home so quickly and I couldn’t be happier that I made the decision to come here to Essex!
Feel free to contact me for more info about my story or share your own enthusiasm, other questions or your own tips for a Fresher like me in the comments below