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Rachel Huck

My first semester at Northumbria University has gone by in the blink of an eye. Throughout this time I have grown a lot and can sincerely say that I look forward to the second semester. Through the ups and downs of freshman year at university, I have learned a lot about living by myself, making friends, and making the most of living abroad. As this first semester closes and a new year begins, I would like to share my tips on beginning university far away from home.

Moving In

Moving day was pretty exciting. Lots of people were around Trinity Square and lines for the elevator were very long. The first two days of moving in I was sleeping without sheets or pillows due to all my stuff being in storage. The storage place wouldn’t open until the next Monday so I braved it out by using my flat mate’s sleeping bag (Thanks Jacob!). So my first tip for moving in by yourself is that when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people are in the same situation and would love to help out.

After getting all my stuff out of storage, the decorating and unboxing could finally begin. Of course I overestimated how much stuff I could actually bring with me and was left with way to much stuff! But after going through clothes, I choose things that I could donate and things I would keep. This helped a lot in keeping my room tidy as well as making it easier for me to choose what to wear in the mornings.

Making Friends

Making friends was a very large task for me when first moving in. The first friends you’ll make will hopefully be your flat mates. I was very lucky to have amazing flat mates who I bonded with. The first week, we stuck together and enjoyed fresher’s as a group. We even decided on a flat drink called “the 226” which consists of fireball and coke! While going out with my flat mates, I met lots of people from both Newcastle and Northumbria University. Newcastle is full of students which makes it a very fun place to go out. The city and its people made me feel very welcome.

As university started and classes began, I then began to meet people from my course. In my advertising course, I am the only American student in a class of about 20 people. However this didn’t make things as hard as I first assumed they would. The people in my class are all very nice and in the same position of wanting to make friends while at university. I met people my age who had just begun university and people who had switched courses and were already used to how university works. Nonetheless, it is important to put yourself out there and invite people out from your course. It was great to get to know people in my course that were already from the North and could share advice on living in Newcastle.

A very easy way to make friends and meet people with the same interests as you, is to join a society. I decided to join many fun societies like the bake, bitch, and stitch society and the vinyl society. I went to a few socials with the vinyl society like the Halloween house party. I met many people with great tastes in music and had a great time. Everyone was having a great time and it was a very fun and inviting environment. I even brought my flat mate with me to keep me company and we ended up making lots of friends. However in my first semester, I did start to get a little too comfortable and lazy and therefore did not go to many bake bitch and stich socials. So my advice for making friends in societies is to again put yourself out there and go to socials. They’re a great way to get your out of your dorm and enjoying university life.

Living Abroad

One of the great perks about living in the North is that you are so close to great places like Edinburgh and Amsterdam! I had the chance throughout the semester to take mini weekend trips to see friends in Edinburgh, Scotland. And I plan on visiting friends in Amsterdam this next semester. Edinburgh is an amazing city to visit! It’s filled with beautiful architecture and lovely sites to visit. Living abroad gives you the amazing opportunity to go see places and explore! I love the feeling of getting on the train and feeling that excitement to go somewhere I’ve never been! Living abroad is a whole adventure but traveling while living here has given me many other adventures as well. One huge tip while living here, is to get a railcard. This saves a lot of money on train trips if you are a frequent traveler like myself.

Live it up!

In conclusion, the first semester is a very exciting time. I went through a lot of exciting experiences of meeting people, traveling, and enjoying my course. I also had a lot of hiccups that come with living alone for the first time. But in the end I came out even more confident and excited for the next semester! This city holds a lot of opportunities which is why living it up while here is my most important tip for anyone living abroad here at Northumbria University. Enjoy your time and take each experience as a way to grow!


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