On the 9th of October 2015, I remember dragging 2 suitcases and carrying a huge backpack along the walkway of University of Nottingham’s west entrance. Travelling 6,700 miles away from my Philippines and after a 17-hour flight later, I was finally looking at my home for the next 10 months.
Amidst the the unfamiliar environment, there was an air of relief in this new home that enveloped me in comfort. It’s like this feeling of settlement that I never thought I’d get in a few hours’ time from arriving in Broadgate Park. Nonetheless, something tells me I’ll be alright.
Every place where I needed to be were just a few minutes’ walk from where I stayed -- Limes Flat 9 to be exact. My classes were a couple of blocks away but I always enjoyed the gardens and the little shops I pass by. The market in Beeston was always a good trip I loved taking as the food displays were often unforgivably mouth watering. Soon enough, I started witnessing the events within BGP -- from the simplest to the grandest; from fun summer snacks hand-outs in pop-up stalls to impressive black-tie Christmas dinners. I found myself looking forward to what my new home could have in store for us.
On quiet winters, Broadgate Park never failed to be the same warm home I look forward to at the end of the day. Warm smiles from flatmates and cheerful hello’s from the accommodation officers always greeted me tirelessly whenever we cross paths. The trees by the Salthouse Lane dorms were still worth looking up to, even though amber leaves took over the lush green ones. Every step I took day out and night in towards this place gave me a clearer reminder why I was meant to be here.
Broadgate Park seemed to know the type of friends you were hoping you’d meet, as well. Everyone I knew who were staying here found their own cliques almost right away. I was also lucky to have found really good friends who cooked sumptuous foreign dinners as we laugh our hearts out in my flat’s kitchen. Looking back, I couldn’t believe how much fun and love I’ve experienced in this place even for a short span of time.
Which is why it took me a while and an unexpectedly heavy heart to pack my bags during mid-August of 2016. I knew there was something else out in the world waiting for my next move the way Broadgate Park awaited for my arrival. No matter where I am now and where I am headed in the next few months or years, Broadgate Park will always give me the essence of what “home away from home” actually meant.
Written by Audrey Talastas (Student at the University of Nottingham)