Coming to university in the UK means having a plethora of new experiences. But for me, as an Indian who had been living in Abu Dhabi for several years before coming here, one of the most exciting things has been the lovely scenic views in Exeter, especially at the Streatham Campus, where I’m based. My first thought on seeing the Streatham campus was ‘It’s beautiful!”. It wasn’t just the lovely green spaces around campus. It is the whole atmosphere of vibrancy and liveliness that’s always present. While meeting loads of people, learning the ropes and grappling with homesickness was exhilarating, it felt liberating to get away from the bustle once in a while. It was in those instances that I discovered the true beauty of the Streatham Campus.
I remember the first time I entered Exeter. I was on the university bus that had picked me up from the airport and I was stuck to the window for my first look of the place I was going to call home for the next year. I loved the look of the city but I was truly delighted when I got off at the campus. It was drizzling mildly and the air was fresh and crisp with the smell of earth. As I walked around later that day, I was fascinated by the greenery I saw around campus.
Autumn daysNow, after being in Exeter for over 6 months, I keep waiting to see the fresh changes that appear as the seasons change! From autumn to winter snow and spring and summer, it has been incredible to watch the gradual shifts. My favorite pastime has become to go rambling around the grounds and I always find beautiful new spots.
I’d read that the campus was a Botanical Garden, but actually seeing it made me realize how wonderful it really is. There are plants from all over the world and standing by the towering pines or Eucalyptus trees, it’s difficult to feel anything but pleasure. As a postgraduate student, the assignments do tend to start piling up. But all the stress and worries seem to melt away and I feel refreshed after walking for a few minutes along the trees. Maybe it’s the oxygen from all the trees that’s clearing my head, or maybe it’s just watching nature at its most harmonious form that’s so calming. But I wouldn’t trade the feeling for anything in the world. It’s so much better to get back to work with a fresher perspective after an invigorating walk.
It’s easy to stumble into a little thicket or a wooded area around campus. There’s loads of them! And in this instance, the more is definitely the merrier! And the variety of plants found is astounding! Not to mention the small rabbits and squirrels which are always running around.
Around Reed Hall, you can find Californian Nutmeg, some Magnolia, Chile Pine and the stump of what used to be a massive Redwood tree. Near the Old Library, there is a Chinese palm, Cedar of Lebanon and a Gingko tree! Did you know that the Ginkgo is known as a living fossil because it’s the same as its ancestors from the Jurassic? That really excited me!
A most amazing sight was the Cherry Orchard near Washington Singer in spring when all the plants produce blossoms. If you keep walking along Rennes Drive, past the Business School, the view there is amazing! There are little ponds, which are apparently biodiversity hotspots. Walking through the trees is like walking through an actual forest, with lots of exotic trees and the occasional pond with cute little ducks swimming around. A list of all the places to see can be found on the University’s website.
I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more places to explore and lots of exotic sights to behold. University of Exeter isn’t just a place. It’s a whole ecosystem, supporting not just us students, but a whole variety of plants and animals. Lots of living beings have made this place their home away from home, much like a lot of us here. And I couldn’t be more excited to share my university experience with all of them!