So this is my fifth day in the city and I must say I’m feeling somehow blessed. Seems like the good weather welcomed me to this beautiful city and so far so good.
I was worried about how friendly people were going to be and whether people would be distant towards me but it turned out I had nothing to worry about. I arrived Wednesday morning and my supervisor offered to come and get me at Gatwick and had lunch in Brighton until the other Brazilian PhD student would arrive. That was my first bump with hospitality. Incredible. Brighton is such a beautiful place! And the sun just spoiled me. Such a great welcoming. It took a while from Gatwick back to Portsmouth, but it was great to see some of the roads and landscapes heading towards the south.
A view of the sea at Brighton’s seafront
It’s kind of tricky starting a life in the UK. Many things to deal with once you get here. So, the first one was getting somewhere to stay for a few days. That was not a problem because, and again as like a ritual amongst people of SEES, I had someone giving me a roof for the first days. Not only the roof, but every tip and help I could have wished for. Wow!
Next step? Paperwork.
I have a research council bursary so I just needed to give a few more steps to complete all the needed paperwork. Get a bank account, an address and a national insurance number. For those who are living for a long time or were born in the UK it might sound weird, but those are actually big issues for international people. It is not that easy to open a bank account or dealing with all the rest. So first of all, for anyone starting, go find your supervisor and people responsible for you in Uni! Things can be much easier. Luckily, since I’m Portuguese and there are such good and friendly people in Portsmouth, I didn’t have to ask for the Uni Letter for banking or else I would have to wait a while longer to get an appointment in Lloyds, which at this time of the year is quite booked.
I also found friendly and professional staff at the “Bursary Office” who just helped out with all the other requirements. They were helpful and thoughtful. I’m just amazed. And yes, everything can be solved or adjusted with this friendly team.
Back in SEES I had the chance to meet more staff, to get to know some other students and have a tour around the building. We even had a reception party Saturday at my supervisor’s home, to meet all the group researchers. A good chance to taste UK’s curry as well.
Since I’m staying in PO4 I had the chance to stroll to the centre of the city by the seafront promenade, during this fantastic sunny day. Though the beach is made of pebbles it actually made me wonder if I could skip my duties and have a sun bath instead.
There are such interesting facts about Portsmouth, some you can catch up with by just having a walk in the seafront
A proof that you can have a warm and sunny day, with flat sea, in the UK.
This week I’m headed to Bristol for a couple of days, an opportunity to get to know ‘rocky’ freshers and a bit of UK. I know that the good weather is now leaving and that rain will catch up, but is going to be great the same.
How was your first week at Uni?