Most of my life like most other people has been spent thinking about freedom and independence. I wanted to live on my own terms, take my own risks, have my own successes and failures, free of nudges and opinions. Some seven months ago, I started a journey from thousands of miles in far east and came to Nottingham for my masters. A master’s degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Nottingham was like a dream com true. I was both apprehensive and excited to see what this one year in a different country had in store for me. Fortunately, I did not embark on this journey alone, my cousin joined the excursion.
I still remember our very first day in Nottingham. We had driven from London with our family, five large suitcases and two small bags. We had a twin ensuite studio waiting for us at the Broadgate Park student accommodation right across the University Park campus. The moment we arrived, we were thrilled to see the beautiful complex and the warm welcome we received from the Welcome Team. Everything was so smooth, every little thing taken care of until we realized that our room was on the fourth floor and there was no lift. Our very first day in Nottingham taught us our very first lesson, independence is not just a fancy word, it comes with responsibility and is synonymous with self-sufficiency. If hauling all those suitcases and bags up, a trip to IKEA and Tesco all on the same day tired us out, then the super comfortable mattress and newly bought duvets were there to snuggle us to sleep.
The initial few days are now mostly a blurry memory, so much was happening all around us. From formalities to welcome events to parties, we were on our toes throughout the day. Gradually the jet lag settled, surroundings became familiar and before we could realise, we adapted to a new schedule. We found wonderful people in our flat and beautiful new friendships were formed. It was time for lesson number two; University life isn’t just about classes and partying. A group of people with varied cultural backgrounds, different areas of study and even different ages can have intelligent conversations and that kind of learning is beyond any classroom. Having a twin room offered its own advantage. Since there are two people to share the load everything becomes half as difficult as it is for everyone else. Sharing a room with my sister only brought us closer, having someone there for you during sickness or simply before an exam is a blessing. Twin rooms are also larger than the single ones for obvious reasons, so we were mostly the ones hosting movie nights and dinners for our friends. I feel the best part of living in a student accommodation is having your friends next door to you, living so close to the campus that you never miss out on anything, saving a lot of time and money spent on travel and most importantly form the strongest bonds that you form.
As we stepped into December with Christmas around the corner, the streets lit up, the Christmas market with its tantalizing smells of mulled wine and German hotdogs became a weekend favorite. But for international students the merry soon turned gloomy when all the natives got to go home to their families. Just when the weather was playing with our moods, the near approaching deadlines were causing stress, there was hot chocolate being distributed for the ones that stayed and it brought warmth to the heart as well. The Broadgate shop was another solace in those cold windy days when going into town was a struggle. However harsh this winter might have been, looking outside the window first thing in the morning always brought a smile to my face, it still does.
From Chinese New Year to Easter we celebrate everything like a family and somewhere along the way the room became home. And now when it’s the chirping birds and sunlight that wakes me up instead of an alarm, when I take a beautiful walk through the campus to sit by the lake or walk into Beeston for shopping, I can only but applaud my decision of choosing to live here even though it wasn’t closer to my campus. I have come a long way in these past months and I hope to cherish these memories forever.
Written by Tanya Sharma