Words cannot even begin to describe the emotions I have felt in the last 24 hours. Three months may seem like a long time, but I woke up today feeling like I had just landed in the UK yesterday. By no means did I do it all, yet I would say I got a lot done. The most important thing I did was learn to love Norwich.
I texted my mom telling her, "I am so sad to go. But I feel done. I am happy with what I got done while I was here." That is the most important point. I was here. I went from CA to NY 3 years ago, never having left the state, and I truly made Norwich my third home. Every day was something new and it was exciting. The people I met here were the greatest part of this experience hands down. I met new friends, and I feel like I formed lifelong friendships. I joked that I came here to be an American Icon. I think I sure did come close.
Last night, it was my last time at the LCR, UEA's on campus club. It was an end of term Christmas party where everyone went all out to celebrate the end of school. However, for myself and dozens of other erasmus students, it was our bittersweet goodbye to UEA and all those we met here. I really did try to enjoy my night and dance and drink, but seeing a lot of the friends I made for the last time took priority. Granted, nearly everyone at the LCR was pissed, and I saw a few people chunder in line for the bathroom, but it was this aura of adolescence, grime, and camaraderie that made UEA such a special place to me. I will forever gag at the idea of spilling as licking, tossing VKs, and screaming, "Oi Oi!", but I am gonna miss everything else.
The Brits I met here were the defining factor in making my semester at UEA one of the greatest times of my life. From the Nelson Court kitchen, to the always packed Colman House, and my cozy (slightly grimy) home of Norfolk terrace, I got a good view of a lot UEA had to offer. Honestly, living with freshers was also the most amazing thing I could have done. My flatmates in particular, made me always feel so at home and so important to them. It was endearing, and honestly heartbreaking, as I had to start saying goodbye to them in the last few weeks. My floor was my home, and my friends here became family. Madi's flat, Hannah's flat, and all the people I met along the way were so great to us. I cannot be more thankful for having been part of their first semester in college.
Whether it was me copying, and failing, at a British accent saying, "Oh my Gad!" to learning how to properly queue for the bus, there are so many things from being here that I will take back with me.
I could spend all day writing down the people who made my time here amazing, but that wouldn't do justice to the depth and effect they really had on me. Even though I'm a junior in college, I still grew so much alongside the freshers I met. I was there for many of their firsts, just like they witnessed many of my firsts in a new national context. To say I'll miss them is an understatement, I loved my friends here so much.
I hate saying goodbye, I vow that this is only a see you later to Norwich and the gems I'm leaving behind. To my flat, thank you for loving this American slag. To my Hannah and Madi's flats, thanks for always being excited when the Americans showed up to pre. To my fellow international friends I made, thank you for always tagging along for the good times. To all my British friends, cheers on making this the greatest 3 months ever.
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.