Exeter is a charming, lovely place, full of beauty, history and welcoming people. It is definitely a wonderful experience being able to live here for a year and it’s not one I will ever forget. But having lived in the UAE for a while, there are some things about Exeter that surprised me! So, here are some of the things that I personally found really different from where I’ve lived before.
1. The flowers
While we have some greenery back home, most flowering plants have to be carefully grown. I was excited to find that once summer rolls around, there are flowers everywhere here! The whole place is filled with splashes of colour and amazing fragrances. The University campus is especially gorgeous with flowers everywhere! It is really cheering to see the colourful flowers brightening up the environment.
2. The bunnies!
I was astounded to see that there are lots of bunnies on campus! Those adorable little guys are hopping around, munching on grass and generally, making the campus a lot prettier! It’s definitely a treat in spring to see the baby bunnies!
3. The rain!
I love rain! After not seeing much of it in the UAE, I was really excited for all the rain I would get to see here. But very soon I came to realise why people complain about the rain! It’s cold (sometimes icy in winter), sharp and somehow always manages to bypass even the best umbrellas or parkas to get to you. In winter especially, the rainfall is almost horizontal (as opposed to the rain back home that always falls straight down) and blows in your face. But in spite of all this, I always find myself loving the fresh feel of the air and fresh smell of the Earth after a shower!
4. The friendly lecturers
Being used to the norm back home where lecturers and teachers tend to be very formal, it threw me to find my lecturers and supervisor be very friendly and informal with me. It took me a little getting used to but I love the casual atmosphere and being able to talk with my lecturers freely and actually have discussions, instead of them just talking at me!
5. The insects
I don’t have a lot of experience of dealing with bugs. So it was a mild shock when I realised that spiders, flies, bees, moths and other insects I cannot name would enter my room, kitchen and even the bathroom. Just a tip – leaving food open is like an all you can eat buffet for insects. So if you’ve accidentally left your lunch open for a while, be prepared to see a lot of uninvited guests sitting on your food! Don’t worry though, insects in the UK are mostly harmless.
Back home, it is usual to jump into a car and drive everywhere, even to the nearest supermarket. I was astonished by the sheer amount of walking people do here! To uni, to shops and even for relaxation, people prefer walking or cycling for short distances, rather than using a car. To be honest, I struggled with all the walking initially but after nearly a year here, I have to admit that I really enjoy walking across Exeter, enjoying the scenic beauty.
There you have it! A few of the things that really surprised me about Exeter. While some things have astonished me, scared me or thrilled me, I’ve come to enjoy every aspect of Exeter. Living here is definitely is a new, challenging and rewarding experience!