It has been approximately one week since I left home (again), this time to live in London for 4 months. As with any new destination, the first two nights were spent questioning the whole point of this exercise, what I was even supposed to do, or why I have even bothered to plunge myself into new waters. However, the past few days have answered many of those questions and have strengthened my initial inclination for doing a semester on exchange.
From meeting and getting to know my flat mates, the actual enrollment process at UCL to interacting with some of the points of contact at UCL, I am so glad to be relieved with my choice of this university. The staff and teaching body are very welcoming and I began to feel a part of their student community. Though I have yet to meet lecturers or the affiliate tutor, I am sure they will not disappoint me in terms of being professional, helpful and insightful. One of my initial reasons for going on exchange was to have a taste of what a world-class education at a leading university would be like. No doubt, USYD is one of the best in the world, but I would go as far as to say that UCL is perhaps in a different league all together. I know it will be an eye-opening experience and will give a point of reference for studies back at home. I also chose UCL because of its place in the heart of London, one of the biggest cultural and financial hubs of the world. Working in London may very well be in the horizons and at the moment it seems that I could get used to living here. (I’ll wait until the winter comes to qualify that…) But, perhaps, I will miss the coastal lifestyle that is Sydney and yearn to leave by the end of the term (hopefully not!)
I also have begun to live somewhat self-sufficiently, in a student dormitory. I don’t think I was mentally ready for college at the beginning of 2013, so this is perhaps a good time to start to become independent. Living in single rooms with en suites helps when living with 6 other people – I cannot imagine what it is like during the mornings in shared-bathroom accommodation! Much of the chat in the flat goes on in the kitchen, decked with two stove-top ovens (hobs, they call it…), shelves, two mini fridges and two freezers. The ratio of fridges to freezers should really be three to one, since the freezers are rather empty right now. There are two US exchange students, one French fresher, one Swiss fresher, a London fresher and myself. I think this is a really good mix of people, contrasted to some where whole floors have all US exchange students, or all British freshers. Everyone seems to be on the same page, too, which is a bonus. Hopefully I can become independent and move out after the honours year, perhaps overseas for further study or work. In any case, I think it would be in another metropolis like Sydney or London, but perhaps six months in the Japanese country would do me some good.
I can only anticipate good things to come in the next few months. It will hopefully be dotted with travel all over Europe, finishing off with a week in Japan. A week of contrasting culture and language will be intense, but I think I’ve got it covered. I am ready to start classes (it is already week 9 at USYD!) and cannot wait to be immersed in subjects that will direct my further studies. My initial feelings of ‘YOLO-just-go-do-something-interesting-for-once’ are slowly (or quickly, however you want to slice the cake) being realised and I could not be more glad for taking a jump into the darkness.
Here are some snaps of London by night! (Sony RX-100 M1)