Choosing to study abroad can be one of the biggest most life-changing decision a person can make. For me it was completely random. As a Norwegian I had no intention to study abroad (or in England), it sort of just happened. One day I was browsing through the internet, as you do, and suddenly found myself looking at universities abroad. I knew I wanted to study Chinese and quickly discovered that at University of Portsmouth I was able to study International Relations AND Chinese. I applied, and a few weeks later a lovely woman phoned me saying I had been accepted. I was moving to England!
When I stepped off the airplane in September 2012 it was actually my first time in the UK. I spent a few days exploring London before heading down to Portsmouth. The first thing that struck me was how flat it is! And I love the cute brick houses, we don’t have those in Norway. I was very shy to speak English at first, but quickly adapted to a very English accent and people could no longer tell that I am Norwegian. My first year in university was exciting. I lived in Margaret Rule Halls, met some amazing people, joined some societies… It was a lot to take in, so many new impressions, but I never regretted my decision of moving abroad.
My second year was even better, if possible. As you can’t live in Halls second year I moved into a student house in Southsea with four of my friends. I became the Vice President of the Cinema Society, and kept myself busy arranging socials every week, keeping up with my friends, and, of course, studying hard towards my degree. I met so many amazing people in my second year, much thanks to my involvement with the Students’ Union! At the end of the year I really didn’t want to leave.
And now I’m in my third year. Yet again I have moved countries because this year I am on my year abroad in Wuhan, China. I’m here for one year studying a very intensive Chinese course at Central China Normal University. So far it’s all good. I live in the International Students’ Dormitory with students from all over the world. My Chinese is improving rapidly and it’s great to be so close to the Chinese people and culture. One thing is learning a language in your home country, but learning in the country of its origin is a whole other experience.
Having lived in Portsmouth for two years and now in China I have experienced both cultures and been able to travel a lot and learning so much. I believe I may have some interesting stories to tell and I want to share my tips and tricks about university as an international student with all of you new (and recurring) students at University of Portsmouth. I hope you will enjoy your year!
Here are some pictures from my time in uni so far: