Portsmouth, The city, Uni Life

City Living!

Disclaimer: I have never been around this many people in my entire life!

I’m from a small town in the middle of the country (Yes, The Midlands, they are right between the north and the south!) which no one has heard of. Whenever I meet somebody new and they ask where I’m from I just generalise to Northampton. When really I’m from a small town called Corby in Northamptonshire. Now, I’ve already learned that nobody has heard of it but I had no idea that I would be labelled as ‘northern’. This happens nearly daily and now after a week I’ve come to the conclusion that I am nothern. Or at least northern to the people of the south.

For my enitre 18 years of existence I’ve been used to recognising nearly every face that I pass by on the streets. But since moving to Portsmouth I feel like I am in a scene from Limitless with my brain travelling at tremendous speeds, trying to take in all possible information that I can. It’s only become more evident that I am not a city native when I’m trying to cross the road. I’ll be waiting patiently at the designated crossing, and from the corner of my eye I can see groups of people just crossing at any old section of the road, and quite frankly I do not have that much courage! To think, you are taking on a 2 tonne beast known as a car on it’s home turf with all the confidence of a Spanish matadore – while I’m shying away waiting for the green man to start flashing! I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be jaywalking anytime soon!

Fresher’s Fayre

Fresher’s Fayre. That time of year when every single company, take away, sports club/society all come in one place and try to coax you into joining by offering you free stuff. The amount of leaflets and lanyards I now have means I have a personal pile of free pizza waiting to be collected – which I can assure you it will! I was also featured in a university video all about Fresher’s Fayre which you can check out below:

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University of Portsmouth Orchestra

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Music has played a huge part of my life since I was a little girl. Whether it be going to a concert, practising the many scales you have to learn for an examination or simply chilling in my room listening to some of my favourite artists, music is everywhere.

I love making music. Whether it be singing along to my ukulele or my rough guess of chords on piano or playing my violin music is a big part of my everyday life and it is through playing, learning and understanding repertoire that I have been able to further appreciate some of the greats. Composers such as Hadyn, Mozart and Mendelssohn.

The main source of me being able to appreciate this repertoire is by playing and performing in orchestras. In orchestra I play my violin and its led to me playing some beautiful orchestrations. Whether in school orchestra or in a bigger orchestra near home I enjoy the experience of playing music and meet like minded people who enjoy working together to produce some beautiful work. For me, working together with a big orchestra is not only great fun but you feel a great sense of achievement when you hear the applause at the end of a concert or your conductor gives you some words of encouragement or congratulation.

When I was accepted to the University I contacted the musical director (Colin Jagger) in order to join the orchestra that Portsmouth offered. He explained when rehearsals are (6:30-8:30 on Thursday’s) and asked me to come and play for him so he could decide weather I would play Violin 1 or Violin 2. Before the audition I was very nervous and shaking, even though I knew that the musical director was a violinist which eased my nerves ever so slightly. I have played solo before but I was very keen to be first violinist as I have aspired to be the leader of the orchestra for a long time. The audition was very successful as he said I should play first violin! I was very excited and nervous at the same time as I waited till the following thursday to meet everyone in the orchestra.

I walked into the same room I had auditioned in, but now, the split screen had been pulled back to reveal a much bigger, brighter room. Seeing the  huge size of the orchestra made me feel bit overwhelmed as I wondered what on earth I had got myself into. However I soon met some very friendly violinists and we discussed what year we were in and our names and got to know each other a little better. We were then given the music which was Symphony number 1 opus 11 by Felix Mendelssohn and we were told that we were going to have a run through. I had never played this particular piece before, neither was I very good at sight reading so I was slightly panicked. However I managed to keep up and stay with the rest of the orchestra.

The end of rehearsal soon came to a close and I was very happy to have met a lovely bunch of people. We were allowed to take the music with us to practise (which I will definitely be doing!) and we would be meeting again the following week. I would highly recommend all musicians take the opportunity to join the orchestra as it is a great way to meet likeminded musicians. I will also be deciding whether to go on tour to Czech Republic and Slovakia so I will keep you all updated with that!

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Travels

Still on my way to get to Portsmouth

Preparing to start your graduate studies? What would you say if not only that but moving away from your home country? Well… that’s me! I’m Inês – yes, with that awful ^ – coming from Portugal and hoping to stay for the next 3 years. It is not my first time moving while studying, but this is definitely more challenging. First of all I have to move much further away; having gone to Madrid due to ERASMUS was much easier. Portugal and Spain share almost the same language, life style and so on.  Starting in Portsmouth it will be just another level of life change. In second, I’m coming for my PhD in Geology. So much more responsibilities and research challenges as well. For that I’m truly excited. Third… packing! Yes… packing in such conditions must be the hardest thing. Because, and most definitely the most important, what kind of clothing will I need?!

Let me present the climate of Portugal… most precisely Lisbon, the capital, and usually where I live.  Average temperature is 21 ⁰C, reaching 42 ⁰C during summer months and 13 ⁰C in winter months. During a year it might rain something like 774mm, concentrated in about 3 to 4 months. So I could say Lisbon has mild to hot weather during most of the year. Dress code: thin jeans, skirts, dresses, blouses to thin sweaters. Most of the time there is no need for thick coats, though it is much more interesting to wear nice coats in winter time. Let me just compare with what we might find in Portsmouth. So average high temperature is about 14.5 ⁰C while the average low temperature goes for 8.2 ⁰C (is this true?! If so, not so bad). In a year it might rain around 700mm/year. So that’s really interesting, because usually we see the UK as a rainy-day country. I find this discover very refreshing (and dry!). I do not like rain very much. It keeps us out of the street. It keeps us off of the sky.

Several questions pop my mind. For instance, will I need to bring my bed clothing? Will I need to bring blankets? Will I have to use thick and really warm clothes? Will there be need to wear gloves all the time? Those questions come with… I do not have any more space on my luggage! Winter clothing takes lot of space and… there are some restrictions on my flight about number of bags. I can only bring 1 bag of about 23kg. Luckily for me, since I am a student I’m allowed to bring another bag (YES!) but only of 10kg. That’s life changing, really! Because while I was packing my first bag I saw my jeans, my sweaters and most of my underwear out of it… it was already full! So I was… “Good thing that I’m not going as a professional!”

Packing

There is no easy way while packing

Will it close?

Hopefully it closed

Coats

To go or not to go

The other interesting thing of packing your whole life for about 3 years (I know I’m being dramatic, because I can take more things later!) is that you find yourself looking at things and understanding their importance or relevance. There are so many things that we don’t really need! This takes me to other obvious ideas like how life turned out to be of consumption and the need for buying unnecessary things. There are otherwise things we really need. So I’m bringing my books. I cannot bring them all now, but I will bring my seventh book of The Wheel of Time saga. I’ve been reading this saga for the past 5 years now, and though I keep reading other things in the meanwhile, I am fond of this saga and of Robert Jordan’s literature.

If you asked me what is the most precious thing that I will bring with me… I could be divided! I think my coat will save from the harsh UK’s winter (and you know that “winter is coming!”)… but my laptop is of utter importance. Yes, I am that kind of person! But with my laptop I can connect with most of my memories and connect with my friends and family.

Are you moving or did you move from a far place outside the UK to study in Portsmouth? Could you share what was the most important thing you brought with you?

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Lisbon is connected with Portsmouth by the sea 🙂

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Coming Back

I always find it rather unsettling, change. I love my life here in Portsmouth and couldn’t be happier but there’s something hardwired into me which tells me change is bad and so moving back here after 3 months at home again unnerved me. I always get like this. I remember at the end of the Easter holidays bursting into floods of irrational tears to my boyfriend (who is at university in Portsmouth!) because as much as I wanted to go back, I didn’t want things to change. It sounds silly, I know but it’s my instinct to panic.

Settling back in and moving into my new home couldn’t have seemed more normal and I’m now, sat in my new double bed (I’ve never had one before, this is amazing!) typing away like I’ve lived here all my life. The house feels like home now. I’m living with four boys which is certainly going to make for some interesting blog posts. So far so good, despite a lack of nail-varnish remover and sanitary products in the house when I need them! I haven’t even had to tell them off for leaving the seat up – yet!

I’ve written myself a little ‘bucket-list’ for year 2. I want to keep adding to it for the next few weeks and use it to push myself further this year. It’s still quite short. As for how I’ve been keeping myself busy, I’ve actually been up to a lot considering I’ve been back for two weeks now and had next-to-no lectures. I bought a bike, which I am enjoying immensely. There’s nothing quite like cycling down along the seafront. I’ve spent a lot of time decorating my room (blog posts on this bound to follow!). I’ve played my guitar a lot and written a new song. I’ve already worked 6 shifts at my old job at Costa Coffee and I’ve even befriended a neighbour from the house opposite. It’s been a very fun and productive couple of weeks.

I had my first lecture back yesterday and it was so lovely to see some familiar faces and especially to catch up with my tutor. I’m nervous but excited to start lectures properly on Monday. There’s a whole amazing year ahead of me now and I can’t wait to see what it holds.

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The Beginning of Something New :)

Hello!

First of all, I need to introduce myself, my name is Ntina Rotsidi, 24 years old and I am a postgraduate student in MA Digital Marketing, with an undergraduate degree in BSc Business Management from the University of Essex. I am so excited and thrilled about being chosen to blog for such a great university with other fellow students as well as being able to share my experiences with all of you!

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I have visited Portsmouth twice before when I was on vacation with my family in the UK so I pretty much knew the whereabouts of the city, but never actually seen the University first-hand, so being a student at such an amazing and educational place with people all over the world makes this experience much more worthwhile. I have met the loveliest people so far, everyone is so welcoming and helpful.

To be honest, it was a bit stressful during the first days in Portsmouth, trying to get everything ready and sorted out with my course registration and accommodation at Trafalgar Halls, but fortunately everything went smoothly and I had an incredible first week , going out to all the freshers’ events,  clubbing, and getting to know my classmates at induction week. I have also signed up for the gym, since they had a great all-around-year offer , so it was a chance for me to get fit and healthier while I’m studying. What better combination?

Overall this has been an fascinating experience so far and I can’t wait for the next weeks! So keep an eye for the next blog post 🙂

XOXO Ntina

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The first week at University…

So today marks the end of a week at University. I cannot believe this time last week I was moving in and getting used to the idea that I would be living, eating, sleeping and most importantly working at the University of Portsmouth.

First, a little about me! My name is Rhiannon and I am studying Television and Broadcasting with my dream to be a children’s TV presenter and eventually have my own show. I chose Portsmouth because of the location, the atmosphere in and around the campus and the course, which I will formally commence on Monday.

The first week at University is probably the most anticipated for any new and upcoming University Student. Freshers. For me personally I do not like to drink so the thought of  going out  every night really scared me. However, I have used this week to just get to know everyone from chatting with my flat mates (who are really really lovely!!) and meeting the people who I have been talking to online before exams even started.

Some people are a bit sceptical about meeting people online but I was invited to a Facebook group which then turned into a huge Facebook chat and Skype chat which allowed me to make friends and contacts before University even began. I would strongly suggest to any University student that they also do this because it means that when you actually get to university it eases some of the worry of not knowing anyone.

Having moved in I met some of my flat mates and then spent the rest of the day with my parents buying the last bits and pieces and having a final goodbye Wagamama’s! Then came the very emotional goodbye and tears were shed. I was very overwhelmed, frightened and even felt slightly unprepared, my main issue being that I didn’t know how to ‘adult’, a long running joke between me and several of my now uni friends because you have to become so independent so quickly!

Looking back now induction week at University was actually a lot more calmer than I originally expected with lectures on course content, fire drills and an intriguing video on how to use ladders. I also learnt the importance of grabbing my key when the fire alarm goes off as I managed to lock myself out of my flat (luckily my flat mates saved the day and let me in!!) I spent the weekend with my new found friends and flat mates and am looking forward to starting my course for real on Monday.

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