Hounds Away from Home: England is everything student expected

Kristina Wyman's picture
Andrea Kolodziej

I stepped off the plane and into a land of opportunities. A place inhabited by tea, Harry Potter and royalty. It is one of the most magical places I had ever laid eyes on. This place is England.

Over the past few months, I have been going to the University of Sussex and living in a city on the coast of England called Brighton. Brighton is an hour train ride south of London, and is located on the beautiful rocky coast of the English Channel. It is home of the Royal Pavilion, the palace of Prince George of Wales. I honestly had no expectations when I came to England. I just let the journey take me where it wanted me to go. And I am so happy with what adventures have turned out to be in store for me.

I couldn’t have asked for better people to share my study abroad experience with. There was never a time when I was without friends, all of my friendships have formed so easily.

I feel exceptionally blessed for the different people I have met. I am living in a house with students from seven different countries. They are some of the world’s best people. We are all from diverse cultures and backgrounds but somehow we have become one big, random family.

My mind has been opened to this new, amazing culture. I now have a full understanding of British lifestyle, education and language. I can no longer easily pick out British and American accents; they are both normal to me. I have found myself adapting to their habits. I have become used to saying ‘cheers’ instead of ‘thank you,’ ‘bin’ instead of ‘trash’ and seeing ‘give way’ signs instead of ‘stop’ signs. I understand that “are you queuing for the loo?” means “are you in line for the toilet?” And “are you alright?” simply means “how’s it going?” I have even adapted to the British fashion and purchased myself a lovely fur coat.

In England, there are adventures around every corner. The day I met Rupert Grint (who plays Ron Weasley in Harry Potter) outside of a theatre at the Piccadilly Circus will always be one of the most memorable days of my life. I’ve seen more castles than I can count on two hands, I’ve sat at the edge of breathtaking cliffs and I’ve seen the birthplace and grave of William Shakespeare. I’ve learned the sport of fencing, tasted amazing tea and crumpets and attended a professional British football (soccer) game. I have chased grazing sheep on the greenest rolling hills I have ever seen. I have seen the absolute beauty of God’s greatest creations.

I’ve spent almost every weekend in London, having the most incredible adventures every time. I am in love with the city of London; when I am there I feel like anything is possible, and anything really is possible. I’ve walked across Abbey Road where the Beatles once stood; I’ve seen amazing Broadway musicals and British plays. I stood next to Stonehenge, one of the wonders of the world, and I’ve visited the ancient Roman Baths. I have seen all of these things in England alone.

While here, I have been traveling all of Europe. One of the many great things about Europe is that you can go everywhere so easily. I have been to Wales where I visited a famous castle and accomplished a high ropes course. Wales is extraordinarily beautiful, the grass is so green and the tall and the slate mountains are unbelievable. I have been to Ireland twice now because I just can’t seem to get enough of it. I’ve visited all the major cities where my distant relatives live. I went to the majestic cliffs of Moher, which were probably the most amazing site I have ever seen. I kissed the legendary Blarney stone and received the gift of eloquence. My St. Patrick’s Day was spent dancing to Irish music with Irish locals. The Irish are some of the friendliest and funniest people I have ever met. These are some of the most amazing moments of my life, but there are still so many adventures ahead of me in the very near future. I will be traveling to France, Italy, Scotland, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Hungry, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland and Greece over the remainder of the semester. I feel so incredibly blessed to have these opportunities and I thank God for it every day.

Traveling and going outside your comfort zones are the most enlightening things you can do as a person. In every experience you have, you learn more about the world and more about who you are as a person. Everyone you meet along the way brings something new and unique to your life—you develop new perspectives. Opening your eyes to different cultures and different ways of life expands your mind.

My goal in life is to travel as many places as possible. I believe everyone should get out there, travel and do everything they possibly can. Adventure is out there, everywhere.

It is a scary thing to leave home and leaving the ones you love, but, it is absolutely worth it. I left home with teary eyes and a pain in my heart for my loved ones. And when I leave here I know I will feel that same pain because I have so many people here that I love. Goodbyes are never easy, but it is worth having experienced it while I had it.

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