Resolution January

12576287_10207063440239005_1682826333_nTraditionally my January has been filled with anxiety driven thoughts of the unfortunately placed mid-year exams that are cruelly brought upon my lazy person. I am always impressed with my ability to procrastinate over Christmas and the New Year, whether that be having ‘one’ pint at Falmer Bar for a much-needed revision break, or eating three Co-Op Meal Deals whilst rounding off-season two of ‘Orange is the New Black’. With only two episodes left I must finish it because you know, symmetry. Then BAM, it is one week until my first exam and I have an existential experience, my eyes dilate and I realize that in seven meager days something bigger than me will occur in the sports centre hall. Panic ensues. Continue reading

5 things I wish someone had told me before my year abroad

1) Culture shock is a very real thing – even in Americapoint 1

I (somewhat naively) thought before I arrived in the US that it probably wouldn’t be very different to the UK. Because we speak the same language, and because I’ve been very exposed to America through popular culture, I presumed it wouldn’t be a big deal. I was wrong! Obviously it depends where you go. NYC, for example, is somewhat similar to London, but if you go from home in Edinburgh to Colorado, there’s many a difference! Everything in the US is SO, SO, BIG. I’m talking supermarkets way bigger than Tesco Extra, with offers like 10 for $10. Walking from one end of the store to the other is a workout in itself. Also, (now I don’t wish to generalise here but it’s just the truth) Americans tend to have a bit of a different sense of humour. Be prepared for favourite TV shows like Peep Show to be under-appreciated and misunderstood. Continue reading

The Perks of Being an International Student

First off: If you caught the reference in this title, ten points to your Hogwarts house of choice. [Slytherin represent!]

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In all seriousness, over the five months I’ve spent here, several people have asked me questions about being away from Texas. I actually expected them to ask international students here for the full three years, but I’m not complaining. Free topic of conversation, right? As someone who often struggles to know exactly what to bring up since our cultures are so different, I’ve actually really loved having my new friends ask about home. It does get difficult, being away so long, but it’s nothing compared to those who are going to be gone for three years or more. Continue reading

Christmas beats Stress

My name is Josie. I’m a second year English student studying abroad in Germany. I decided to take a year away from Sussex and bring myself to the exotic tropics of Munich, Upper Bavaria, surrounded by lederhosen and mountains.

As this blog for the University of Sussex starts in January, I thought I’d start my first post with reflections on Christmas. My friend Emma and I decided to get away for a weekend to explore the Christmas markets in Berlin – and boy, were they worth it. Christmas lights twinkling everywhere, glühwein, and just that Christmassy feeling of giddiness was everywhere.

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But then I returned to Munich and the reality of deadlines that seep into every student’s life until suddenly you find yourself blinking in tired confusion at the pile of work you need to sift through. It got me thinking, is there any way that Christmas can somehow cure stress? (Yes, yes there is indeed.) Continue reading

My Struggle: Learning Chinese whilst Studying Abroad

‘Imagine that you are on life support’, our lăoshī (teacher) at National Taiwan University (NTU) begins, a petit and fiery bespectacled woman in her early thirties, who immediately grabs the class’s attention with her alarming announcement. ‘And your heart stops. The ”beeeep“ sound of the heart monitor is very similar to the elongated, high-pitched first tone in Mandarin. Repeat after me… ’ My crash course in the musical nature of Chinese is at first lighthearted and jovial; the noises I make in the classroom are usually reserved for my Kate Bush impersonations in the shower.  Our lăoshī continues, ’Think of the second tone figuratively, as rising confusion, like ”huuuh?“ The class responds by repeating her ‘huuuh?’, I believe out of literal confusion than anything else. ‘The third tone is perhaps the most difficult to learn, as the sound quickly moves down and up, similar to a gut wrenching stomach pain followed by throwing up, as displayed in the diagram.’

A comical, yet confusing, introduction to Chinese tones.

A comical, yet confusing, introduction to Chinese tones.

Continue reading

Sympathy for the Deadline Warrior

“Two weeks,” The Procrastinator scoffs, “I know this girl who wrote a three thousand word essay in twelve hours whilst on two hours sleep, a day after the deadline. I’ve got plenty of time.”

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You wake up in a sweat. A nightmare. You were sat in the exam hall. Alone staring at the blank sheet of paper. No intelligent answers coming to the surface. It’s okay. It was just a dream. The days are ticking away but that won’t stop you. After all, there’s the kitchen to clean, X’s birthday card to write, Mum to call, Dostoevsky to read, your demo mix-tape to finish recording. Continue reading

The list on my fridge translating for a baffled Briton in the USA

JHvgmQbd18WDyeaDSydZG2KvbWZ7GFlkQY7QqY81kloStudying abroad is a wonderful, exciting and challenging thing. In this first entry I will to tell you about some of the unexpected challenges that I have faced so far whilst on exchange at the University of California Santa Barbara, in particular with regard to linguistic differences.

We all know that in America there are some minor and downright entertaining language differences. When my roommate is wondering around the flat and blurts out “Oh, I forgot to put my pants on again!” I still find myself chuckling even though I know she is referring to her trousers. Continue reading