They say that getting what you want always comes with strings attached. In my case, I did not have to think long and hard before answering the question 'What do you want?’. The answer sprang to my mind right away: I wanted to be an international student. Some of you may guess what this experience could involve, but the things that you are likely to think of are 'new people, new experiences, new opportunities, and new emotions'. That's true! All of these wonderful things are part and parcel of being a student in a foreign country, but after actually 'living the dream' I can definitely tell you that this is merely the tip of the iceberg.
In case you were wondering, the course that I am studying is English literature, language and linguistics. Long and fancy, I know! At least that's what everybody says. And I reckon that it is the reason why I was a bit nervous before coming to Southampton. Another aspect you may be curious about is: why did I chose this particular city? To be honest, I have no particular reason for this. Could it have been just the voice of my intuition?! What I know for sure is that this is the right place for me.
Let me tell you something I love about this place. Although it may sound like a cliché, this is the city where everyone smiles; well, maybe not at you, maybe at their phones because they got a lovely text message or because they had a great day, but seeing this makes me smile too. For me, being here is like a new lease of life. I never thought I would compare myself with a sponge ('cause it is not so fashionable), but I feel like I could absorb energy and good vibrations from everything around me. I am sure you know what I am talking about.
Now let us move on to more serious stuff, shall we? University life it is even more challenging in a foreign country. It tests not only your ability to grasp complex information, but also to analyse it and be able to refer to it in a critical manner. Furthermore, what I soon discovered is that the aims of studying here are to shape you into an independent individual that can adapt easily to each situation life puts you in. University is not about teaching you what is right for your life, but letting you discover this on your own.
However, as we all know, being a student can be a rather exhausting full-time activity, so from time to time, we need some fun activities to keep our minds off assignments and projects. And what better way to do this than spending some quality time with a bunch of awesome people?! I have been here for exactly a month now and I can tell without hesitation that I have met a lot of great and outgoing people. To stress even more how friendly people turned out to be, one day when I was on my way to University, a guy randomly appeared and said 'hey', even though we’d never talked before, but we'd seen each other around. So I think this is pretty awesome! Then we walked towards the Univeristy together.
All in all, the most important thing that I've learnt so far is that being in a positive frame of mind is crucial when you engage in something that involes getting out of your comfort zone. Apart from the obvious aspects that are related to this kind of experience, I found out that there are still some that sometimes go unnoticed; they are the little things which gave me a deeper insight into this new world and helped me discover some new parts about myself. I am aware that this is only the beginning of my journey and I cannot wait to make the most of it!
What about you? Are you ready to abandon yourself in a whirl of new experiences?!
Written by Diana-Maria Demco
Diana is a 20-year old Romanian student who just arrived in Southampton as an international student. Her passions are drawing, dancing and reading. She describes herself as being ’always open to new experiences and happy to make new friends from all over the world!’