October 2, 2015, by International students
The city I now call home: being @UoN
I completed two weeks in Nottingham yesterday. But looking around now, I feel like I’ve been part of this place, forever.
The academic teaching has finally started and gearing up in full swing. Yes, like many of you out there I am daunted by the massive shift in the way of learning, from undergraduate to postgraduate studies. However, every time I start to hyperventilate thinking about the growing workload, I say to myself, “There have been others before me. If they can do it, so can I.” It’s not the best way of tacking the situation, I realise, but whatever works.
Being an international student from India, I arrived in Nottingham, late 16th September evening and ever since, it has been a roller-coaster ride. A Welcome Programme was arranged by the International Office on 17-18 September, specifically for international students, which now looking back, seems like a blessing. Within two days, thanks to the systematic arrangements made by the University, I had finished all of the important works like, collecting my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), opening a bank account, registering with the NHS, completing my University registration and most importantly, moving into my accommodation.
Since I mentioned accommodation, I cannot move further without mentioning how much I am in love with it. An independent room, all for me, with a door-sized window that slides open to give a view of a small lake, with ducks in it and the flora all around. I couldn’t have asked for more.
The days that followed guaranteed more fun and excitement than ever before. Lunches and dinners were arranged, sometimes by the halls of residence, departments of study, tutors and sometimes by the LGBT community, the student union etc… Films were screened, dance parties organised, trips around the city were arranged to familiarise us with the place and hundreds of other fun activities were planned. There was something to suit everyone’s taste.
There is nothing I don’t like about this city. Having come from the national capital of New Delhi that boasts of a population close to 18 million, Nottingham even with its wild and outgoing student population appears sparsely inhabited to me. The roads are emptier, traffic on road and queues in shops fast moving, people so disciplined in their way of life and everyone around, always ready to help. Oh! And the weather… simply perfect!
During these two weeks, I also went around three of the four UK campuses of the University. While the Jubilee Campus, where I have my classes and accommodation, is the ultimate abode of structural marvel, with the architecture of every building raking your curiosity, the University Park campus is sheer beauty. Honestly, I’ve still not been able to cover the entire region on foot. How many University campuses in the world can boast of such greenery, vintage buildings, clock tower, a massive lake, all in one area?
However, it was the Sutton Bonington campus that won me over. Situated in the outskirts of the city, being on this campus gives you the feeling of living in a country side. With greenhouses, stables, brewing factory on campus and surrounded by vast open fields, it’s…magical. You would never want to return.
While I may sound narcissistic, talking about MY University with such adoration, I did have my moment. Each one of us has that one moment of self-reflection, where you go weak-kneed, perhaps even doubting your choices. I had mine the night I arrived here. Standing outside of my accommodation, as I waited for the keys to my room, the chilling breeze freezing me, I felt lost; disoriented. I was the new girl in the city. From knowing-it-all in a place I had grown up in, here I was, after having pushed myself into a place where I knew no one, no one knew me, no familiarity to the area or way of life, even finding the right currency bill to pay the waiting cab driver seemed a challenge. I felt homesick on day one but nevertheless kept going, because wasn’t this my choice? It was tough, sure, then again, the very next day I found many others who were sailing in the same boat as me and all of it did not seem as frightening. I think that’s the beauty of life. A moment that you feel has the potential of crushing you, if given some time, becomes a haha moment for life.
To wrap it up, here’s a story from my kitchen table. (FYI, I share it with 12 others. May sound cramped but we have the best time, talking and sharing little anecdotes from each other’s cultures and home countries.) The first time all of us gathered around the kitchen table to familiarise ourselves with one another, one of the girls who had previously stayed and studied in another part of UK said, “You know, I’ve lived in UK before and studied in a University here, but the experience of being in Nottingham has turned out to be so different. I’m surprised how everyone has made it so easy on me to adjust and become a part of this place, be it the professors, fellow students, volunteers or even random strangers on the road.” And pop came a reply from the middle of the group, “Guess, we made the right choice.”
Indeed, we did!
Shruti Vaddy, an international student from India studying MSc Work and Organisational Psychology at The University of Nottingham.