The University of East Anglia may be 35 hours away from Sydney, but for the last two and a half months it has felt like home. Being a city girl, I was both excited and nervous about moving to Norwich, a small city in the northeast of England. Although it’s classified as a city, Norwich feels much more like a town, with a slow pace of life and a lot of green. But don’t be fooled, country life in no way means quiet. There is always something to do, ranging from a drink at one of the city’s 300 pubs, a play at one of the many theatres or a gig in town. In the last 10 days alone I have done all three of those things.
A very dodgy photo of Haim, playing at the club on campus.
Norwich has also proved itself to be a great base for travel, the highlight being an impromptu road trip to Manchester and Liverpool at the end of the third week. On Wednesday we booked a car and on Friday five new friends and I set out for a casual drive across England. Words cannot do the trip justice, but I would highly recommend driving through the Peak District at sunset, gaping open mouthed at the beauty of the John Ryland’s Library in Manchester and bracing the freezing cold winds at Albert Dock in Liverpool. London is only two and a half hours away and much time has been spent there, including one memorable weekend where ten of us ate until our hearts were content at Borough Market and danced until 6 in the morning at the Ministry of Sound. Future travel plans include Ireland and Scotland, as well as heading over to the continent to practice my Spanish and visit friends in Germany.
Albert Dock, Liverpool. The Peak District. Borough Market.
In order to appease my parents and faculty, I have to say that it hasn’t all been fun and games. UEA has a strong arts faculty and I have really enjoyed taking a break from law to learn about British history, global politics and Spanish. The teaching staff are lovely and it’s been fun adding ‘an Australian perspective’ to everything. I’m also blessed with a wicked view of UEA’s broad and parklands from my bedroom window, which makes studying just a little bit easier.
Speaking of which, living on campus is one of the coolest experiences of the whole exchange. Not only can you roll out of bed 10 minutes before class and still be on time, but you have an instant family. The freshers provide endless hours of amusement and ‘thank god I’m not 18’ moments and the internationals, who make up half my flat, never shy away from an opportunity to try something new or chat about the weird English quirks we just don’t understand. Flat living also brings with it movie nights, Wine Wednesday, communal cooking and a 5 minute walk to the campus club – really what is there not to love?
Last but not least, exchange has introduced me to some awesome people. I’ve got to stop there, otherwise I’ll get soppy, but my time at UEA wouldn’t have been this awesome if it weren’t for them. Luckily, half of them are Australian –because we really are everywhere – but I look forward to visiting the rest in future travels. As if I needed another excuse!