Mariya “Masha” Alimova is a junior UCSC psychology student currently studying abroad at in the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. Her blog, Happy Travels, features alluring photographs of her adventures through Europe, along with some great insights into pubs, castles and other local attractions. I personally enjoy that each entry is addressed “Dear Blog…” and that the posts are named in same manner as Friends episodes (i.e. “The One With the Planes“).
Masha chose to study abroad in the UK because she had always wanted to go there. She thought living and studying in Canterbury would be much more rewarding than just visiting for a week or so. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to new places like Paris, London and Scotland.
The One About My Home
I’ve been in Canterbury for almost a week and I finally have a second to calm down. I finally got to get out and explore the town and have some fully awake downtime and realize just how unbelievable lucky I am to be here. I am among so much history and beauty and everything I could ever want. It’s unbelievable that I haven’t had any time to take in all in. Everything has been so crazy! It’s like freshmen year all over again except for being completely on my own and instead of being 350 miles away from home, I’m 5,500 miles away. If it wasn’t so beautiful here, I might even think about fact that more. As it is, Canterbury is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in. It’s a bizarre mix of medieval and modern. The school itself is very new, everything is electronic and opens with a fob key. Everything is automatic (except ALL the cars which are stick-shifts). You can’t even exit my building without pressing a button. It’s a little insane and too futuristic. And it makes me terrified about power outages. But as soon as you leave the school everything looks different. The city is filled with castles and cathedrals and the views are absolutely brilliant. Rivers run through the entire city and everything looks old, possibly because it is. For example, one of the oldest pubs in the city is called The Unicorn Inn, and it was built in 1593 in 35th year of Elizabeth I. Everything is also TINY. The streets are narrow and the cars are smaller, except for the GIANT double-decker busses which make me terrified for my life. Even things you buy are smaller, from bread to shampoo. It’s not giant and bulky like it is in America. It’s meant to serve one person rather than a family of 5, which is how it seems to be in the US. It reduces a lot of waste.
I’ve met so many interesting people since I got here. The international community here is HUGE! 25% of the entire student population, which is about 17,000 people. I’ve definitely met more international students that those native to the UK. I met people from France, India, Spain, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, China, Vietnam, Peru, South Africa, Nigeria and so many others. I live with girls from Cyprus, Florence, Hong Kong, Leeds (originally from Zimbabwe), Kent, and guys from Canada and London. We are certainly diverse.
My accommodation is really nice in general, I have my own (fairly large) room, but so does everyone else, so it’s not special. The nice part is that I have an en-suite bathroom, which is a dream come true.
This first week has been NUTS. The first week of term is called Freshers week, so there are parties EVERYWHERE and it’s getting exhausting so I’ve stayed in the last two nights.There are pub crawls almost every night and the people here don’t take a break. Also, a PINT of beer here is 16oz in the US and 20oz in UK. So it’s MUCH bigger. It’s also cheaper. Basically, the whole drinking culture is very intimidating.
Well, I’m off to the pub, so wish me luck!
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