By Kiana Lim
Nursing student, Villanova University, United States of America
I like to consider myself a fairly independent person.
Back at my home university, I would take a two-hour bus by myself from Pennslyvania to New York whenever I would go home for a holiday break. I thought that this would prepare me for a seven-hour plane ride from New York to Manchester. I definitely underestimated myself.
I had so many worries racing through my mind the day I was leaving home. It had finally hit me that I wasn’t going to see my family for three months, the longest I’ve been away. I was concerned about not having packed enough, packing too much, not making any friends, the list goes on. When I got on my plane, I started to worry about my friends back home. I wasn’t sure how my adjustment would be once I got back to my home university. There are not many people from my home university who study abroad for a full year. However, I soon realized that I shouldn’t let my nerves ruin my experience abroad. This is a once in a lifetime experience, and I knew that I should take advantage of it.
Once I had arrived in Manchester, I felt my nerves creeping back and so I forced myself to go outside my flat and meet new people. Fortunately, I had been talking to other students online through Facebook before coming to Manchester. This definitely made my transition easier, as I felt that I already had friends on the first day. It was so interesting to hear various English accents. I didn’t realize how much they could vary from region to region. I also bought groceries and supplies for my flat with my new friends. It was a good bonding experience and definitely helped with adjusting to a brand new city.
The first couple of weeks in Manchester seemed to go by fast, but I had a lot of fun exploring a brand new city. I made sure to take advantage of the different outings planned by my accommodation and the International Society. I was able to go hiking at the Peak District National Park and go on a tour of Old Trafford within my first month at Manchester. I loved going on these trips as they allowed me to explore this new city, and it helped me slowly get over my homesickness.
Honestly, it feels as though the last couple of months flew by so fast! I’m not sure where the time went. But I think that’s a good thing.
However, as much I love going to the Arndale or making “toasties” with my friends late at night, I still get homesick from time to time. It’s only natural when I see my friends going home for the weekend occasionally. Before coming to Manchester, I assumed that if I called my parents too often, I wouldn’t really be enjoying my experience. But I’ve come to learn that’s not true. Being able to share my experiences with my friends and family back home have only enriched my time here.
I can’t wait to see what comes next for me!