August 28, 2015, by International students

Looking forward to Nottingham

Vicky Torrillas

Vicky Torrillas is studying Political Science and International Studies at Luther College, Iowa, USA, and is about to start an international exchange year at Nottingham during 2015-16.

Greetings from Decorah, IA
(and soon, from Homefield Road)

3,945 miles. That’s the approximate distance from Decorah, USA, to Nottingham. For those of us who prefer to think in kilometres, it’s about 6,349 km.

Every year, a select group of Luther College students goes to Nottingham from September to June, and this year is no exception. On September 7th, our group will hop on an IcelandAir plane, travel those 6,349 km and begin a year-long exchange between our institution and The University of Nottingham.


Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, USA

Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, USA

These groups are generally quite diverse – this year, we are 3 international students and 9 American students – and we all have different majors. And it seems that we’ve all been preparing for this exchange in different ways, too: Peder, the only guy in our group, just got his visa approved (for the record, he says it was a really lengthy process, and that it involved several hours of paperwork) and to celebrate, he purchased a backpack he will use to travel around Europe on breaks. Megan, who is one of my friends, selected all of her classes for the year and is already looking into making some purchases for her room. I recently bought a set of vintage suitcases at a second-hand shop and received a little make-your-own-travel-guide book as a gift from my host mum in America, so I can let them know what to see in Nottingham in case they decide to come visit me.

The Nottingham travel notebook my host mum in the USA gave me

The Nottingham travel notebook my host mum in the USA gave me

We’ve all been preparing mentally for this trip as well. Anyone who has even gone abroad knows that leaving is usually the easiest part, but adapting is always a little trickier. However, even though we all have things we’ll miss about America in the next year (for some, it’s family; for others, it’s the familiar comfort of being in your own country), we have several more things we look forward to experiencing once we arrive to the UK – like joining societies, traveling around the UK and Europe, exploring different parts of our majors, making new acquaintances, etc. Funnily enough, some people completely refuse to look at pictures of Nottingham before arriving because they want to preserve the magic. I love magic as much as the next person, but I am a very curious person and couldn’t help myself, so I peeked around the internet to find things I’d like to see and experience around Nottingham. Here’s what made the cut:

  • Visiting all the different campuses
  • Going to The Arboretum
  • Going to the Nottingham Contemporary
  • Visiting the City of Caves
  • Drink a pint at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem
  • Visit the Galleries of Justice (bear with me, I’m a Political Science major)
  • Joining a society (and sticking to it!)
  • Getting lost and finding out about the nooks and crannies of the city.
  • Attending a play/concert at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
  • Learning more about Robin Hood and its history.

But mostly, what I’m looking forward to the most – and I know my flatmates will echo me on this – is getting to know all of you (teachers, students, shop owners and residents of Nottingham). A town, much like a college, is nothing without its people, and from what we’ve heard from past Luther generations, you’re all pretty great. So let’s make a deal, OK? If you see me, or any of the Luther students who are doing the Nottingham exchange at any point during Fresher’s week or during the year, say hi! We’ll be more than happy to share our story with you, even if the slang gets in the way. Deal? Deal.

Aeroplain wing



If you’re a new international or EU student joining Nottingham this year (for a full course, exchange programme or study abroad period) we’d love to see photos of your preparations, travel and arrival at Nottingham.

Share your photos and comments with the hashtag #journeytoUoN on Twitter or Instagram, or by posting them as a comment on our International Office Facebook album. The two best #journeytoUoN entries will win a £25 restaurant voucher for dining out in Nottingham.

Find out more on our website and see our #journeytoUoN gallery on Facebook.


Posted in Travel