ERASMUS TRAVEL DIARY

Erasmus update: How’s life in England?

I can’t believe my last blog post was published on September 11, more than two months ago! As you may know, I’m studying in England at the moment. On the fifteenth of September I arrived with a lot of suitcases, feeling nervous yet excited, in the beautiful Canterbury, where I have been spending the past two months and a half. I feel like the time has passed so quickly and so many things have happened, so I wanted to look back at it for a moment and write a blog post about how I have experienced my ‘Erasmus adventure’ so far. So if you’re curious to know how I’m doing at the moment and how I spend my time in Canterbury, keep on reading!

THE DAYS BEFORE I LEFT

It seems like ages ago since I was still in my dorm room in Ghent, studying for my resit exams at the end of August. As there were only two weeks between my last exam and the day I would leave, those days were really busy. I spent a final, really fun day with my best friends in Antwerp, visited my family a little more often than I would normally do, and cleared my dorm room in Ghent, in which my sister now stays. On the Saturday before I left, I invited my family and some of my closest friends over for a goodbye party, which was really nice! I tried not to cry but saying goodbye to my grandparents was just too much. *sad face*

I got these bracelets for my best friends and me, since we won’t see each other until the beginning of February, as a symbol of our friendship. They are from Si’Beau, make sure to check out their website! The link in the image will lead you to Si’Beau’s Facebook page.

ARRIVALS WEEKEND AND FRESHER’S WEEK

During the first days here at the University of Kent in Canterbury, the school where I am doing a term abroad, it immediately became clear to me that the university life in England is completely different from Ghent University. Most of the first years (and Erasmus students) arrive during Arrival’s Weekend (the 15th and 16th of September), which is followed by ‘Fresher’s Week’. Fresher’s Week is basically a week full of parties and social events organized to get to know each other better. I was lucky enough to meet a lot of really nice people during my first days here who I’m still seeing almost every day right now. Fresher’s Week, for me, was overwhelming but above all really exciting and fun. The downside of it: because of all the drinking and the lack of sleep, a lot of students (and then I really mean a lot) get sick during the first week or the weeks after. It’s called ‘Fresher’s Flu’, and I can confirm it’s not just a myth. 😉

University of Kent: the campus

THE SCHOOL AND MY FIRST CLASSES

I mentioned earlier that I immediately marked a big difference between university in England and university in Belgium. First of all: the campus. In Ghent, all of the school buildings are spread throughout the city and most students rent a room that is close to the building where they have most of their classes, whilst here all the school and accommodation buildings are located close to each other, like a little student village (supermarket, lots of bars and restaurant, and cinema included!). The campus here is located on a hill, a 30-minute walk away from Canterbury city centre. One of my favourite things about the campus is that it is surrounded by fields and forests. Plus, we have the nicest view over the famous cathedral in Canterbury!

During my term in England, I only have three modules! I had to pick modules that are more or less similar to those I would choose in Belgium if I would have stayed home; so I chose one English literature module, one French literature and one English linguistics module.  One of my modules focusses entirely on Charles Dickens, while for my linguistics module I’m studying language & gender, and my French module is about Paris in the 19th century. I’m really happy with the ones I chose, they require a lot of reading (around 9 novels and looooooots of secondary reading) but they’re so interesting!

HOW I MAKE THE MOST OUT OF IT

When I look back at the past two months and a half now, I’m happy to say that I feel like I have made the most out of it, so far. During the first week, I forced myself to always say ‘yes’ to invitations. I”m so glad I did that, because even though sometimes I really wanted to stay home and watch a series instead of going out, at evenings like those I met my closest friends here.  I think this would be my main advice for someone who is going on Erasmus: be open for everything! Whether it’s going on an organized trip, joining a society or just saying ‘yes’ when someone asks you to go out with them. If there’s one thing I learned in the past months, it’s that things mostly end up better than you expected them to be, and  the people who at first seem to be entirely different from yourself can turn out to be those who you spent the most time with in the end.

Apart from spending as much time as I possibly can with my new friends here, I try to do most of my schoolwork during the week so I have time in the weekends to go on trips. Before I arrived in Canterbury, I visited some nice places with my parents and sister: Rye, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Goudhurst and Brighton. Brighton was by far my favourite! If I find the time I definitely want to write a blog post about my stay here, since it must have been one of the nicest cities I have visited so far.

Of course, I spent some of my weekends in London. As a true London lover, I never get bored of this city, so I wouldn’t mind going every week! I couldn’t imagine something more wonderful than spending a Sunday in Notting Hill or looking for cute second hand bookshops around Covent Garden! Apart from London, I also went to the seaside a couple of times. And for the moment I’m planning trips to Bristol, Bath, Gloucester and Oxford for the end of December. These trips are one of the things that make Erasmus so special, but my aim for my last month here is to also spend as much time as possible in Canterbury, since I’ve really lost my heart in this beautiful city!

Although I haven’t been blogging very often lately, I promise you you can expect some more stuff coming up in the next couple of days! I’m currently working on a video about my trips to London, since I thought that would be a nice alternative for the ‘photo diaries’ I normally make when I went on a city trip. Plus, I can’t wait to show you my favourite places in Canterbury! Stay tuned xxx

love, Chloé

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