When the world shut down in March 2020, I was disappointed with myself for taking life for granted and promised myself I would never do that again. Within the year, I had to make the decision to either move to England for law school at the University of Sussex or stay in a comfortable environment in Canada. I reflected on that feeling of lockdown, the feeling of wanting more out of life, so needless to say, I took the chance and moved abroad. Turns out, it was the best decision I could have made for myself.
When moving to the UK, I was naive about what moving to a new country was going to entail. From figuring out a new healthcare system, and setting up a bank account, to grocery shopping, there are a lot of logistics to figure out. With all the hardships that come along with moving to a foreign country, comes a lot of triumphs. After making one move, it feels like the entire world has expanded and the possibilities are truly endless.
Small actions make the biggest difference when arriving in a new country, such as the University of Sussex setting up an office where students can go pick up their visa cards on campus. Not only is it a beautiful campus surrounded by national parks, but it also has a sense of community and comradery between students and professors. If you are ever lost on campus, you can stop anyone walking through and they will happily guide you in the right direction.
The law school at Sussex has an incredible community, with so many resources available for students. The professors genuinely care about the students and their passion for teaching is clear. The law school at Sussex offers incredible opportunities from mooting and client interviewing competitions to practical legal clinic work, students have the chance to build their skills outside of the classroom.
Brighton beach has allowed for beautiful summer days and winter walks on the pier. There is always a new café to try and delicious food to be had, the options are overwhelming. Students who attend the University of Sussex tend to live close to each other when living off campus, which allows for close connections to your friends. You get to run into familiar faces at the grocery store and when taking the bus to campus, which are the little things that make living abroad feel like home. The public transportation in Brighton is exceptional and allows every location to be accessible by bus. From central Brighton to the University of Sussex, it is a 15-minute bus ride, with buses coming every 7 minutes.
Advice I would give to potential students is to look up the nearest airport and knowing how to get from the airport to your relevant living area. London Gatwick is a quick 30-minute train ride away from Brighton, with trains scheduled every 20 minutes.
With Tik Tok, it is easy to glamorize and romanticize moving abroad, and while there are amazing moments, there comes a side that the internet does not show. The moment after the goodbyes are completed to loved ones and you have the moment of what do I do now, appreciate the butterflies and make the step outside of your comfort zone and reach out to other students. Or when you are craving a piece of comfort, but the restaurants that you have back in your home country taste just a little different in the UK, you will find your new favourite UK restaurant, and that becomes your comfortable meal now. When you are on public transport, trying to get to a new place for the first time, you put on your favourite album, just for that piece of mind.
What I am trying to get at is there will be moments that you are uncomfortable, but you will find what works for you to get through those moments. You will look back at those moments and reflect on how you overcame and grew from them. For inspiration, I suggest listening to your own your own, kid by Taylor Swift, Tik Tok has named it the song for international students living abroad!
To anyone considering moving to the UK for school, the personal growth that you will see in yourself will give you the courage to do anything you want in the future. Not everyone can pack up their life and move for school, there will be challenges that come your way, but it will all be worth it. I have completed my second year abroad, and I cannot fathom how quickly time has gone by. I look at the UK has my home now, and I choose to spend my time outside of term dates still in the UK. When you go abroad, appreciate the nerves, and enjoy the moments of the unknown, these are going to be the moments you remember forever and will be proud of overcoming.