Ok I’m just going to put it out here and say that I am so sad I didn’t get to see any fireworks on bonfire night! I know it’s not cool to admit, but I actually don’t really enjoy Halloween. However, bonfire night makes everything ok for me because I just think that when you see a firework it’s impossible to be sad. I hadn’t really registered that it was an English celebration, although in retrospect of course it is, so I was very disappointed at the lack of anything happening on the 5th. It’s continually surprising me to see what I miss about England, like bonfire night, and like Topshop. As a girl who detests, in fact probably fears, shopping, it’s so strange to think that I’m actually missing a shop from home, but there’s a distinct lack of substantially thick and cheerfully patterned jumpers here and so yeah, that’s a home comfort I’d love to have here. Also cider, I mean I’ve heard great things about the beer here, but I just can’t get my tongue to be like ‘mmm this is good!’ It’s just not.
But anyway, I’m here to update you on what’s been going on. The thing is, there hasn’t been that much really. What has been cool is there has been an international film festival on, so there are big tents set up in the castle gardens (I’m never going to get used to casually mentioning a castle as if it isn’t a big deal) and there are films from all different countries being shown, and there’s mulled wine and yummy muffins on offer to indulge in whilst you discuss the films afterwards. Of course I gave a very in-depth analysis of the films whilst stuffing my face with cake goodness…
Other than that it’s just been business as usual with classes really. I think it’s the same when you start anywhere new, that when you first go and sit in class it’s pretty daunting and there’s not much socialising going on. I felt very out of place in my classes and didn’t really get to talking to anyone. However, now that it’s been a couple of weeks people have started initiating conversation with me, so that’s nice. I’m really enjoying my classes, the things I’m studying are so different to the modules at Leicester, so I feel really lucky to have the option to follow the courses. I’m also trying to think a bit about what my dissertation could be on, so I’m trying to get some ideas from these classes.
I’ve also had a bit of drama in trying to arrange my house for final year back in Leicester. I’m lucky because I have a lot of friends who are also on a year abroad in various places, but it also makes it difficult to find somewhere to house 8 people, somewhere all 8 people will be happy with, and to communicate everything across the difference of 8 different time zones. I think that if there were less of us, we’d definitely be looking to go into university halls for final year. There are some near the university campus which are so convenient, and can be signed for online so it would be hassle free. I would highly recommend university accommodation just because it’s so easy to organise signing up, paying bills etc and there will always be someone to help you out if anything goes wrong. However, we didn’t think it would be fair to fit 8 people who already knew each other into say a 10 person corridor, as it wouldn’t be fair on the other people.
I’m so excited to be living in a house in final year. I’m lucky because I have a friend who is still in Leicester, so she has the unfortunate task of scouting out potential properties. We originally wanted to go into an 8 bed house, but then we thought about the scale of the mess that would be created… a tip for living in student houses is that no matter how tidy you all are, there will be so much mess. For that reason, I’d suggest a 4 or 5 bed is much more ideal than anything bigger, even though you might be desperate to live with all your friends. If you’re good enough friends you’ll still see each other even if you’re not living in each others pockets.
Now that I’m on a year abroad, and having lived in halls in first year with 39 people, I’d be tempted to say that it really doesn’t matter who you live with, as long as they are as open to the experience as you are. I think that as long as everyone is willing to make the effort to make the situation work, it will work. I got so scared when I moved into my student house last year, because everyone said that me and my friends would end up hating each other by the end of the year, especially because we were a house of 4 girls. Luckily that was not the case, so take what you hear with a pinch of salt. I was similarly terrified of living with 39 other people in first year, which also turned out to be fantastic, and then this year I was dreading meeting new people in case it just turned out to be too hard. I went into it with an open mind, and I’m so glad to be able to say that I’m loving living in a different situation.
So my advice for anyone who is having any kind of worries/doubts about future living situations is to just let them go, and just see what happens. Whatever situation you get put in, I bet you can cope with it just fine.
Anyway, I’ve got a trip to Cologne to look forward to this weekend, so hopefully I’ll update you about that soon. Until then, auf wiedersehen!