I forgot what living in a hot country was like. Though I did come prepared with my deodorant, specially recommended by a Jamaican woman in a supermarket back home. Gone are the simplicities of living in the UK: not having to shave my legs, wearing tops more than once and showering once a day. (I sound so unhygienic, but I promise I’m not.)
But my goodness, life here has been sweet.
Reality kinda hit when Week 1 officially started and I thought, “Oh yea, I came here to study.” Unlike a lot of exchangers, my grades matter 100%. I am taking two 6 credit modules (basically very time demanding research/hands on projects) and overall the maximum number of credits possible. Then, my single bedroom apartment with other exchangers was finally ready, WOOO!!! Only to find it was three PhD students from China, Philippines and Vietnam.
It’s so easy to get caught up in this ‘exchange student bubble’. Sticking to what’s familiar, and not realising the value of the people and even the work culture. (They can get a lil crazy though. I remember coming back from a party at 4am, going to the 24 hour Starbucks and finding a good number of locals doing work. Bear in mind this was before the semester started.)
But my situation has really encouraged me to dig deeper into my relationships with locals and other Asians. The five Singaporean guys in my Design group are COOL. Chatted away with a Chinese girl in my Dissertation group and we’ve planned to have lunch on Friday. Actually, in the middle of writing this, my Vietnamese flatmate knocked on my door to invite me to her little birthday get together in the living room (got some yummy pumpkin cake just as my late night cravings started 🙂 )
I admire so many of the exchange students I’ve met and will continue to travel and explore with them, but ya never know..maybe I’ll be studying late at Starbucks one night with a local friend 😉