I don’t quite know where to start. In less than a week, everything in my life has changed and it has been so much to take in. I’ve bid farewell to my friends and family, taken my first long haul flight, and moved to a country that I have never even visited before.
First off the heat is intense (although commenting to an American that it feels like it’s 30 degrees will get you some strange looks. Note to self: learn how to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit). It’s so intense there’s a huge thunderstorm pretty much daily, like an entire miserable British day condensed into about half an hour, that makes me very glad I packed my waterproof. Secondly, everything is so much bigger than I’m used to. The roads have more lanes, the cars are huge, the supermarkets are gigantic, portions of everything live up to the cliché (tip: order a small of everything, because it will most likely be too much anyway!).
After only having been here 2 days, I have already lived up to the British stereotype and bought myself a kettle. There is no way I could go an entire year without tea – especially when you say tea here, peoples minds automatically go to sweet tea (which I accidentally ordered in the airport, and is more of a soft drink than a comforting beverage!). It seems strange that the US and the UK both speak the same language, and yet there are still times when we can’t understand each other. There are so many subtle differences that you don’t notice until you encounter them!
Orientation begins later on today, bringing with it a great chance to meet new people in the same position as me, before the rest of UF and the new freshers return (and there will be nearly 50,000 of them knocking around campus). I have already checked into the international centre, and gotten my new student card. It cost me $15, and it operates nearly everything. It’s my bus pass, my gym membership, library card, I can even use it as a debit card! I also have a new bank account, which I would highly recommend to keep an eye on your money in US dollars, rather than pounds, as it’s hard to notice otherwise. Spending in a foreign currency is always hard, as it’s difficult to spot whether something is good value for money or not (unfortunately it’s easy to get ripped off when you’re not local and aren’t really sure if something is the norm). I now have my finished timetable and know vaguely where I’m going, after being shown around the campus by my new flatmate. I’m definitely excited for what’s to come, and I’ll keep you all posted.
Until next time, readers!