By Olivia Ehrnreich (North Carolina State University, USA)
North Carolina here I come! After applying for the study abroad program 10 months ago, I cannot believe after months of preparation and hours of Google mapping I will finally be seeing North Carolina for myself when I land in 5 hours time. The last month had been full of booking flights, visa appointments, seeing friends and family and the thing I put off most…packing. I kept asking “what do they wear in America?” “Do they go out?” as if I was travelling to another planet and not just 8 hours across the Atlantic. My inbox was always full of emails from NC State with forms I had to fill out and things to organize such as health insurance, immunizations, arrivals, etc. so it’s safe to say that I was kept very busy.
I arrived at the airport with my full family entourage and a suitcase usually used for a two week holiday jam packed with my ‘necessities’ for the year. I crossed fingers as I was being checked in as my luggage was overweight by 0.9 kg, you’ll be glad to hear that all was fine (good old American Airlines) My parents found time for the mandatory embarrassing goodbye leaving photo as I went through security and I waved farewell at the gate and at least another 3 more times as I snaked around in the queue.
At the airport I met up with a group of girls from Manchester uni who would also be heading to North Carolina. After meeting them only once before it was comforting to be able to catch up and get to know more about the people I would be living with next year and who were probably experiencing the same nervous excitement that I was. It was nice to know I wouldn’t be left stranded alone at Rayleigh airport, or should this be the case, if I’ve remembered all the correct paperwork…
Only having a maximum of 4 hours sleep between us was not slowing us down as the adrenaline kicked in and four of us with beaming faces boarded the plane
North Carolina State University has set up an orientation week to help me get around the large campus before I start my classes the following week and are even taking us to Target to purchase any essential items we could not bring. I will be living in international halls where everyone is partnered with an American student to get the best of both meeting others from abroad and to experience the American culture and lifestyle. Luckily for me my accommodation is only a 5 minute walk from where most of my classes will be held and even better just a 2 minute walk from one of the many canteens. It will be strange sharing a room with another student but I look forward to meeting her and hopefully not driving her too crazy with my messiness.
I hope the next time I blog it will be to tell you all about the amazing new people and experiences I’ve had, but for now I’m going to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.