I haven’t written very much about the aspects of student life that are of most common interest primarily due to the fact that there are many voices on our student blogs that speak to the general population with greater clarity than I can. I am not, for example, the best person to enlighten you on student nightlife and I cannot recommend local hot spots because in the late hours of the evening, I am usually to be found living a hermit like existence with only the characters in my books for company. I suppose that is an essential difference between the undergraduate and postgraduate experience. My purpose in writing my own blog for the University of Leicester has been to serve as an example of all that can be accomplished as an international student; to proclaim the benefits of an education at Leicester and to explore as many landmarks, museums, and natural wonders that this magnificent country has to offer as is humanly possible.
I am now approaching my eighth month away from home and as was inevitable, I have suffered from a terrible strain of homesickness. Nothing to match Emily Brontë, of course, but it is alarming how my senses have been subjected to a Proustian state of remembrance (or on a more accessible level, at least to me, Mole’s longing for his underground home in The Wind in the Willows). The first two weeks of April, I spent time in London and Paris and yet my attention was often distracted by fragrances unique to my family’s kitchen and visions of my sisters in historic paintings and all sorts of minor details that on any other day might have gone unnoticed. I returned to Leicester with my first cold, breaking an seven month streak of perfect health, with two essays and a lonely Easter to look forward to (Easter, of course, being my favorite holiday since my family always hosts it). I’m sorry for painting a grim picture, but of what use are my glamorous travels if not contrasted with an occasional glimpse of reality? Loneliness is a genuine element of traveling to another country and although, relatively speaking, that is not a very high cost to pay for all the wonderful experiences you will enjoy, there will still be moments when it feels too heavy a weight to bear.
Fortunately, the University of Leicester provides a nightly phone service where fellow students will listen to your problems without judgment, but with complete confidence. Between the hours of 8pm and 8am during term time, student volunteers are present to help you whether you are in crisis or just in need of a chat with an impartial voice. The number for Nightline Leicester is 01162231230 and they can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve not had an opportunity to make use of it, but it is still comforting to know such a service is available. As it so happens, relief from my state of melancholy came in a delightfully unexpected, but much appreciated, way. That, however, is an adventure to be continued…
Music: “Marche Slave in B-Flat Minor, Op.31”- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Book: In a Glass Darkly– J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Film: House of Usher (1960)