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My First Month In Newcastle

Student Life

(...Or as a Geordie might say “Me forst month in The Toon”)

It’s been about a month and a half since I arrived in Newcastle, and I’m happy to report I’m settling in well. It’s been a bit difficult adjusting to the student lifestyle again, but I’m enjoying it so far. First off: the weather. As soon as I knew I would be eventually going to Newcastle, my first thought was about if I would be able to survive the cold shift in temperature. It’s no secret that the average temperature up here is lower than in the south. I had even been contemplating taking a ski jacket with me (don’t worry, I didn’t). However, I’ve discovered that it’s not nearly as cold as I originally made it out to be … at least, in the day that is. Sure, it’s frosty and I’ve seen more snow here in a week than I’ve seen in the south all year, but it’s actually not that bad. HOWEVER. That being said … at night it’s a different story (as I learnt the hard way) - it can get monstrously cold at night if you don’t wrap up warmly.

Exploring Newcastle

Now for the main challenge: learning to navigate Newcastle. This required a few days of exploring and getting lost (naturally). I made my first objective something fairly simple: locate the local Tesco. Fortunately, I’d set aside the rest of afternoon to do this, because although I made it there fine, getting back was a slight problem. It was also my first time going into Intu Eldon Square, which is a pretty amazing shopping centre- and as I soon discovered, very useful for shortcuts across the city (if you don’t get lost on the multiple floors and sections that is). Over the next few days and weeks, the more I explored the city centre, the more roads I started to recognise and remember. Grey’s Monument became my central point of reference and I’m pleased to say I’ve ditched Google Maps almost entirely now. Eventually, I also started to find new, shorter routes between the university and the city centre (I was originally taking very long-winded routes).

"Sorry, do you know where Tesco is?"

One of the routes I take now goes across some of the old multi-level infrastructure that you’ve probably seen around Newcastle. I was initially confused as to why there appeared to be so many various bridges and levels dotted around the city until I learned that in the 60s, Newcastle was planned to be a three dimensional, multi-level city with elevated walkways and airy pedestrian decks, separating motorists and traffic from pedestrians, complete with new high rises so essentially adding a new layer to the city. Sadly, these ambitions never came to full fruition, but remnants of the project are still visible around the city and that’s fascinating to me.

Exploring the university

Of course, it wasn’t long before the course itself started. It was good to finally meet my module tutors and the rest of the class. Within the first week I already started receiving the course assignments that would contribute to my final marks, which was slightly nerve-racking. For January students, like myself, the module structure is reversed. The semester two modules are what I am currently doing, and I will be doing the semester one modules in September after the summer break. I don’t really think this is a problem as the modules themselves aren’t directly related between the semesters, and as I am on the Advanced Practice route (i.e. placement), I would be doing said placement in the new year right after completing those modules, so I won’t be tempted to take the summer off and forget everything which is always a plus.

With my new assignments and side hobbies in content creation, I was keen to find workstations and PCs around the university that I could use. Thankfully there’s an easy searcher on the university website that lets you search workstations by software so you can find PCs loaded with what you need. I was also really pleased to see quite a few 24/7 access rooms dotted around the campus which have been extremely helpful. Being able to drop in and out at any time lets me be more flexible in my scheduling and I never have to worry about being late or closing times.

I also finally got to meet the other DCCs! My fellow content creators all started in September so it was great to finally meet everyone face to face. Nicolo (another DCC) and I undertook the Geordie Accent Challenge together as well, which you can see here. It involved reading Geordie phrases and trying to understand what they meant. I felt like I had a handle on most of it … but partway through the challenge I realised just how little Geordie slang I actually knew. Then combined with a thick accent … well I suppose that would explain why trying to order Burger King in town the other week took so long …

Peace out!

Michael

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