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Hannah Dekoning-Teasdale

If there is one thing that I can say about my first semester here at Northumbria University, it is that you shouldn't be afraid to try new things and meet new people. Seeing as though I came from the United States, I knew nobody, including the people in my flat and was definitely feeling nervous. Coming overseas and learning all about a different country is probably one of the best things you can do because it gives you way to do whatever you want in a city that you’ve never seen before. I was born in England but moved to the states when I was 6 years old. Even though I returned from year to year, I was still very eager to learn all about the culture over here and how things back different to the states. I was hesitant at first because even though I had attended a community college, I hadn't learned the English way of grading papers and doing assignments. I didn’t know how modules worked or what a 1st meant. When I heard that a 1st was between 70-100%, as you can imagine, I was probably just as surprised as you are right now. Don’t be afraid to ask for help though, if you don’t you could get behind.

Newcastle is probably one of the nicest cities in the United Kingdom and it definitely holds true. As I was able to apply for direct year two entry, along with my course we were able to go on an all paid trip to the south of Spain which included learning all about tourism planning and what the destinations had to offer for tourists planning on visiting. I was so grateful to be able to go and as a result of that I became a lot closer to my course. That held out into playing rugby with Team Northumbria on the women’s rugby union second team and even though we’re not on the first team, we act all as one big poly family and it really makes me feel like I belong here.

If I hadn’t of chosen Northumbria, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I have had thus far. Neither would I be able to look forward to the experiences I am going to be having. I was recently accepted for my placement year to work at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida of next year and I couldn’t be more grateful for the chance to actually be able to apply. Everybody is always making sure you feel welcome and as I’m writing this heading back to the states for Christmas break, I already find myself missing the town I now call home. I wouldn’t say it has been easy the whole way through because at times I have struggled with the way modules are laid out and how they teach different to America but that is all part of growing up. It’s important to see new things, because you get to experience it first hand and tell your own story, just like I am mine.

This was the longest I have been away from home but you soon get used to it because I usually FaceTime my parents at least once a week. My dad has also be able to visit me whilst he's been away on business to London and when you don’t see them for a while, it really makes you stop and appreciate everything they have done for you and everything they continue to do for you. You can also never really get bored because there is always something to do. I find myself just wandering around the town sometimes because there are so many alley ways to explore and restaurants to eat at that when you get the time off from university work, actual work or sports, it’s nice to relax and find yourself being amazed in a city that has so much to offer.

I can’t believe how quickly my first semester has gone but I wouldn't change it in the slightest. I have gotten to experience so much in such a short amount of time and I definitely feel as though I’m more independent than I was when I first arrived. It makes you think more carefully about the things you really need versus the things you want. I had to set up my bank account alone, go to the doctors alone, and set up my phone alone and even though they are not major steps to me its something that makes me feel that much more grown up. I do like it though because I have a lot more freedom than I did before I attended university and it makes you appreciate the smaller things in life. I love Northumbria and to think that I still get to attend this university for the next one and a half years makes me even more excited as to what else I have to look forward too, as well as the experiences I’m going to have.

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