An International Student of Literature in England.
I thought that leaving home and France would be a painful and sad moment with lots of tears, but to be perfectly honest, I was so excited. Since I got my offer from UEA for my English Literature course in November, I had almost a year to prepare myself mentally for my “new life”. That year went really fast, but it’s only around May that I realised that it was really going to happen. I started a countdown over the summer and remember staying awake at night because I was over-excited.
I would imagine how my room and flat would be, if I’d get on well with my flatmates, how the lectures would be, which clothes I should pack… EVERYTHING. It got even worse over the last month at home. I kept telling my parents: “Few days left…” with a huge smile on my face. However, the very last week at home was extremely stressful, particularly when I realised that I couldn’t fit that much in what I thought was a massive suitcase. I spent three days packing, unpacking, packing again and so on, only to realise that I needed to get rid of many things. It was really stressful but once it was done and my suitcase was resting in a corner of my bedroom, I just wanted to go to the airport right away.
Although I wasn’t particularly sad about leaving my parents since I wanted more freedom, the thought of saying bye to my little brother made me sad. I never talked about moving to UEA much with him because it would make him (and me) sob. On the last day evening, I spent a while with my whole family and tried not to sleep late since my plane left early on the next day. As you can imagine, I barely slept on that night. I kept telling myself “I wish I could just skip tonight and be tomorrow already!”. I simply couldn’t believe that the time had finally arrived.
On Wednesday, 17th of September, I got up in the middle of the night, at 4am. My parents came in my room to wake me up, and it felt like a very special day. Though to be fair, it was! I put on a massive small on my face that I couldn’t get rid of. I didn’t feel too scared: I was more nervous about taking the plane by myself and then getting a coach to UEA rather than moving abroad. Before leaving, I woke my brother up to kiss him goodbye. I must have kissed him a hundred times and then tried to leave quickly so as not to start crying in front of everybody.
My parents and my grandmother drove me to the airport and everything went quickly. They repeated all their recommendations and advise once more, and then I said bye. For the first time in ages, I gave them a huge hug and said a big Thank You for giving me the amazing opportunity to study in England, for letting me fulfil this dream. Knowing that both my mother and grandmother were about to cry, I quickly went through the security.
Once it was done, I could still see my family so I shouted “GOODBYE” in the middle of the airport and started walking towards the boarding gate. It’s only then that I realised what was really going to happen and that I wouldn’t see them again until Christmas. What particularly struck me was that from that moment onward, I would be all alone, with no parent or adult to help me, nobody to carry my stuff… I would have to be independent and rely on myself.
During the flight, I have to admit I started having teary eyes a few times and couldn’t stop it. Fortunately, after landing I got my luggage and found the UEA coach easily. The UEA students who came to welcome us were so nice too! I actually felt really relaxed because the coach service was really well organised, convenient and would take me directly to the uni. When I sat on the bus, all my worries had gone, and I felt ready. I knew my boyfriend would be at UEA before me anyway, so I wouldn’t be alone on the first evening.
During the journey, I was sat next to a second-year girl who told me so much about UEA, the student life, and pretty much everything I needed to know! So Caroline, thank you again!
When I saw the “University of East Anglia” sign on the road, I had trouble realising I was finally there.