After so many months of preparation, days of packing (Not. I packed the day before), and hours of travel, I finally made it. I step outside the train station and take a breath of the cool Manchester air… Nothing special, to be honest, I’m not too sure what I was expecting.
Immediately, the first thing I noticed, was that cars drive on the “other” side of the road. During the weeks leading up to my departure, I paid special attention during my daily walks to uOttawa when I crossed the street, so I was a little more prepared for looking the opposite way when the day came. The training paid off, having no close calls yet, but it’s still weird.
I completely missed my orientation, but ran into some student ambassadors who gladly showed me where to pick up the nice stack of papers that was my briefing pack. I’ll sift through it in the evening, when I have time.
I got the chance to catch a tour of the campus, walking about the various buildings, some of which are new, others are quite old. It makes for an interesting mix. I’ll be able to grab some more pictures tomorrow when I’ll explore the campus on my own. On the tour, I got to meet a bunch of other international students, all here for the same reason: to have new experiences and to study something they’re passionate about. A lot of them studied economics, marketing, psychology, linguistics and other social sciences, but when the engineers realized who they were, an instant bond was formed.
After all the greeting, I needed to collect my residence key and find the actual residence. I wondered about the Fallowfield campus, where the residences are, searching for the Oak House building and it’s reception desk. The area looked oddly more like a campsite or a cadet training centre than a university residence. I searched for a good 30 minutes, I noticed I was feeling grouchy, tired, hungry (I was running on airplane granola bars and cookies all day) and a little homesick. “I can’t just go back home, I need to find it.” I then realized that Oak House was an entire block of buildings, which I was circling around, trying to find something specific that never existed. Eventually, I found the reception area and through all my mixed negative emotions smiled at the receptionist and said: “Hi! I’m from Canada and I don’t know where I’m going.” Paperwork got sorted out and I was good to go. When I was mingling with the other international students it came up that Oak House was the party residence. “Oh great. So much for quiet sleep. Maybe it’d be cheaper to rent a hotel room for the semester?” So at the reception, I grabbed an accommodation transfer form, just in case.
I finally found my building, my flat and my room. Crashed on my sheetless, pillowless bed and lied there for a few minutes. I’m used to camping, so sleeping with a sweater as a pillow isn’t new to me. I got to meet my new flatmates, who seem all like nice people. Lets just say I was relieved to hear “Oak House is usually a loud place, but we’re a pretty quiet flat.”
One of my flatmates accompanied me to grab some groceries. Apparently everyone does their own meals here, so I grabbed some essentials to make some pasta for dinner and oatmeal for the next morning. I’m too tired right now to deal with long-term decisions like lunch tomorrow. I’m going to really enjoy sleeping tonight.