I have officially lived in the U.K. for about one month, and I have had such an invigorating experience that I knew I had to write about it! With a whole month behind me, there are too many experiences that I cannot capture the rich experience of my adventure in this limited amount of words. But, I hope that you can see how enriching and engaging my time abroad has been. I’m only here for 3 months, so cheers to the good time and not the long time!
10. Size of a City with the Heart of a Town
Norwich is a gorgeous city that is truly international. The city is busting with it's own history, like the castle pictured above, but it also invites people from all over the world to travel and feel right at home. In Norwich I have found the caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay, the always fresh and Asian inspired Wagamamas, and of course, the British standard of Spoons. Every inch of Norwich looks different each day, and it is such a great feeling to have the city feel without the hustle and bustle.
9. Afternoon Tea
How could I say I studied in England if I didn't have afternoon tea! While I had no idea what I was doing, and apparently adding too much milk, I like to think I enjoyed it as anyone else would. I admit, it was very confusing learning how to chose a tower and then select a tea, but it was still scrumptious. Shout out to MasterCard for not working in this country and making me look poor when my card was declined, Visa you're a real one.
8. Punting in Cambridge
In Danny's voice, "Cambridge!" While the day was very long, like 5 AM to 10 PM long, I cannot discredit my trip to Cambridge. The city is very tourist driven, but that's literally why I went there. My day consisted of finding food, some shopping, and of course punting! A Cambridge classic, punting invites you to sit back take in the view and learn of the rich history of the various colleges on the river. Truly gorgeous, if you come to the U.K. you have to try it.
7. Coming with my HWS Peers
One of the best parts of my trip so far has been getting to know 3 other HWS students who I would normally not interact with. Danny doesn't like photos, but know he's included in this point. Madi, Hannah, Danny and I have been very lucky in that we all mesh well and we are always down for a good time. Of course we work hard, and so we play even harder. Also, it's just so much fun reliving some of our Hobart highlights. HWS is a school like no other, and I cannot wait to comeback with team Norwich!
6. Seeing Stefflon Don @ Mercy Nightclub
When I tell you I was restless for Stefflon Don's show, I mean it's all I talked about my first 2 weeks here. I first heard of the U.K. rapper on Jax Jones's hit "Instruction" featuring her and Demi Lovato. She was a one woman show and she commanded the club. I was about to leave, until I heard her signature bravado laced voice come in. Within our group, I was the only one who knew her songs, but everyone was still able to feel the good vibes.
5. The Ziggs
One of the best parts of being at the University of East Anglia, is the surplus of single room available for students. I got a room in Norfolk Terrace, pictured above, and it has been so much fun living here. This dorm definitely takes me back to freshmen year living in JPR. There is always something going on in the Ziggs, and meeting people is made so much easier. My room has a gorgeous view of the lake, and so coming home is always a highlight after classes.
4. Learning How to Journal
Before I left for England, my career mentor, Xhana, took me out to dinner and she gave me a gorgeous Paramount Pictures notebook. She had told me how when she studied in London she journaled all her trips. I loved this gift dearly because of my affinity for writing. Xhana chose an amazing gift, and I carry this notebook with me everyday. Writing a small paragraph everyday helps me capture something more personal than a post on Instagram, and something more permanent than Snapchat.
3. The Unstoppable Social Scene
I am a social butterfly on steroids, I always have to be doing something or I feel like I'm wasting time. While it might sound draining to some, I thrive off going out and meeting people. In Norwich, there is a rich night life complete with bars, clubs, and shows. A lot of it is very cheap and sometimes even free. Any day of the week is your oyster, it's all about what you do with it. Rest assured, I save Sunday and Monday nights for school. But I don't have class Wednesday so let's rage on!
2. Getting to Know What It's Like Being Called International
Back at school, there is an established image and expectation with being an international student. Candidly, it's not always a fair one too. But being in the U.K., I am considered an international student. I find this super interesting because I consider myself the "norm" and here the norm has nuance things that make me stick out. "Oh you're so American," I have heard before. What does this even mean?! What do you mean I have an accent?! Wait why is everyone driving on the other side?! There are dozens of questions I have asked myself that when I look back, help me realize the echo chamber of American discourse, especially in social behavior.
1. The People
From the first night I met my flatmates, to the random people I chat on the bus, I have dozens of Brits who I just adore. Besides their accents being just so proper, many of the U.K. natives I have met are open to forming friendships with the American that's here for only 3 months. From taking me to horse races, Spoons, and even teaching me slang, these Brits have treated me well and I hope to keep meeting many more.
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.