Here’s the diary of Heather Riddoch, a Canadian student studying in the UK as she discusses her first months studying in the UK at Oxford Brookes University…
“I think I’ve finally reached my comfort zone and feel at home following my exciting move abroad.
It’s not that I’m over the thrill of being here, so to speak, but more so that I have gotten over the jet-lag and have unpacked all my bags so my residence room feels like “my” room. I’ve grown accustomed to waking up in England and can confidently find my way around campus. I’ve finished the enrolment process and classes have officially begun. I’ve even gotten accustomed to the time change and have figured out the best times to talk to friends and family back home.
It is nice to feel more settled and I know I will thrive once I can set up a routine schedule for myself. I’ve gotten much more comfortable maneuvering about the city without feeling like a constant tourist. I love seeing that excitement in tourists’ eyes as they take in the exterior of All Souls’ College, or push to be first in line for a tour around the Ashmolean Museum.
It’s a truly unique feeling sidestepping around a walking tours so that I can swipe my reader’s card and enter the renowned Bodleian library.
But if my lecture material and reading assignments so far are any indication, this year won’t just be about exploring the UK. A Master’s degree is no walk in the park, but I can’t imagine a better venue for studying a history degree. I’ve already started a tradition of packing up a few articles or reading assignments and venturing into the city to try out a new pub for lunch.
Oxford is teeming with old pubs, each with their own unique histories. It’s a great way to get my homework done without feeling like I’ve spent all my time cooped up in the library or in my room. I’ve also found a few parks and rivers that I think will make for great study/picnic spots during the spring and summer.
I did experience a bit of homesickness yesterday quickly forgot about it when I ventured out to sightsee the best way I know how. Looking up a vague map of bike-paths and foot-trails, I left campus and took off at a run. I was not disappointed!
I can’t begin to describe the comfort I find, knowing that there are fields of cattle and horses not even a mile from campus. For a Canadian, it’s hard for me to imagine how a population that is double that of Canada’s can fit on this small island. But even more than that, how they can all fit and still have so much farmland and green space everywhere. Not that I’m complaining.
My country girl heart thrives knowing that all I need to do to escape the city is to cut through Christ Church Meadow and cross over the Thames, I had the most fun I’ve had since I landed while exploring the Oxford University Parks and the rest of the University of Oxford campus on foot.
By getting out and exploring my new city I was able to truly remind myself why I love England and how lucky I am to be a Canadian student studying in the UK and to able to call Oxford home for the next year.”