“Wow, your Uni is so far away!” is something I hear whenever I let loose the fact that I study in Cornwall, be it from family, friends or complete strangers who are just making polite conversation, not thinking it’ll be somewhere that far away. Maybe that’s part of the reason why studying at the University of Exeter IN Cornwall lured me all the way here – it’s quite far, especially for international students like myself coming from different countries that takes hours on a stuffy airplane, followed by a long train or car journey after. The travelling can be pretty crazy, but it’s worth it once you reach campus and you’re immediately greeted with fresh air and pretty views. The campus itself is pretty modern, although some buildings such as Tremough House has a long running history with lots of character to them – in a way it’s a cool balance for most people!
During my second year here in Exeter I was given the opportunity to apply to study abroad for a year. This was something I’d always wanted to do and eventually decided that I wanted to go to Colorado, USA and study at Colorado State University. I can honestly say this turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made! (more…)
If you’re a Fresher, you’re probably taking part in a taster session, doing some shopping in the city or getting stopped in the Forum by every other person that wants you to join their societies. You’ve already been to loads of socials and taster sessions but can’t decide which ones to join, though the Activities Fair is around the corner? Wilko has run out of everything and you still don’t have forks and knives? You think you bought all the essentials and then realise you don’t have a peeler when you’re about to make some sweet potato fries? Even though you might think you’re the only one having concerns or struggling with eating a proper meal that doesn’t cost you a fortune, believe me, YOU ARE NOT!
When I applied for university last year, I couldn’t make it to an Open Day in Exeter. I tried to ask around and get as much information as I could about the campus and the area. One thing I was constantly said by friends and that was emphasised on all the websites I looked at was how beautiful the South West was and how great the weather could be here compared to other parts of the UK. As I arrived on a rather sunny weekend in September, I faced the greenest campus I could have imagined and the most amazing view I could wake up to. Even though I was yet to explore all the beauties and treasures the area had to offer, I knew instantly that I chose the right place. One year was hardly enough to discover everything I wanted and there are still dozens of places I long to go to. For now, here are some of the locations I visited and things I did during my first year, all of which I would highly recommend to anyone coming to Devon.
Though student life has kept me very busy, I have had a few chances to branch out and explore what Cornwall has to offer. Travelling around can be tricky if you don’t have a car, although most popular destinations are reachable by bus. Luckily, through a mix of friends and visiting family members, I have been able to hitch a ride to some of Cornwall’s most beautiful destinations. Going by category, here are a few of the places that I recommend most highly…
It’s always difficult to start a new school year—the stress of what’s to come, the frantic buying of textbooks, and the hopefulness for a good professor have been major stressors in my life the last few years. This year, however, was so incredibly different. Instead of gearing up for another year of studying with my friends in Florida, I packed up my bags and moved to Exeter.
As soon as I stepped foot on Exeter’s campus two years ago during a summer abroad, I knew that I’d be coming back in the future. The thrill of moving to a new country and living a glamorous, jet-setting life was all I could think about for the longest time. I was fully expecting postgrad to be some lifestyle/travel blog come to life. The thing is, those lifestyle/travel bloggers only show you the pretty bits—not the “holy crap I don’t know what I’m doing” parts.
For me, this feeling manifested itself most prominently the first time I climbed Cardiac Hill. I started strong and confident as any young adult with good health would. About halfway up, I started feeling that burn in my legs and the pressure in my chest that comes with an intensive cardio workout. By the time I reached the top I was pulling up Expedia to see how much a plane ticket back to Tampa cost. ‘Surely,’ I thought, ‘students can’t be expected to walk up this hill every day?’ A month later I’m still asking myself this question.
Though nothing else has hit me as hard as Cardiac Hill there have been so many moments in my first month here that have really shown me what it’s actually like to be living away from home for the first time. The thrill of going out to a new club with girls you just met in class the day before. The panic of going to a society event during Freshers where you know absolutely nobody. The relief when someone tells you they also have no idea how to turn on their radiator. Worst, the weird feeling in your gut when it gets a bit chilly outside and you can only think of your mom putting up the Christmas tree.
This last month has felt like a lifetime. For every bout of nostalgia or homesickness I’ve had, there have been a million more moments of excitement, new friends, and realizing just how lucky I am to be living this life. Though at times it can feel scary and lonely, I’m so excited to be here and I cannot wait to see what Exeter holds for me.
Some key tips that I think any Fresher should keep in mind are:
Year after year I would defer my admission for my postgraduate degree. I always had a very good reason, it was either I was pregnant, had just got a new job, or just couldn’t afford the fees. So when I got my offer to study at Exeter I was determined it would be the last time I would apply for a postgraduate course. Either I would go through with it, or forget about furthering my studies and focus on other things. After all, I did have a lot to focus on, a great husband, amazing children and a decent job in a top government agency; what more could a girl ask for?
As of late, I’ve found that I’m beginning to notice less the stark differences between here and home and rather, more embracing what is here that I would not have, or see, or be able to experience back home. I feel more like I’m a participatory observer versus an outsider looking in, and it’s a refreshing perspective.
Last weekend, I looked outside to see my very first lunar eclipse. I stayed up to see a part of the eclipse and then gave in to sleepiness, but I managed to wake around 3:30am when there was supposed to be the supermoon; therefore, despite my tiredness, I managed to get my eyes open and myself out of bed to look out the window. The entire spectacle happened at much more reasonable hours for my North American friends, but from what I heard, I think I had the better view so I guess you win some, you lose some.
I’ve been in Exeter for a week now and while there have been ups and downs (and I don’t mean just the hills), I’d say that things have been pretty alright for the most part.
I was greeted in Exeter last Sunday with a partly sunny, partly cloudy day by the incredible Welcome Team from the University. From making sure that all the confused faces coming out of the terminal at Heathrow found a friendly face with a smile, to ensuring that everyone found their way to their humble abodes for the next 4 or 8 months, the Welcome Team made a fantastic first impression.
I am extremely excited to be coming to the University of Exeter from Canada on exchange. I’m originally from Toronto and I study at the University of Ottawa. I’m sure being Exeter is going to be quite a change for me from but it’s one that I’m looking forward to!