It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’m sitting in my dorm room in England writing this blog post. But after an almost year-long application process and having my emotions range from excited to terrified at least 3 times a day, I can now officially say that I’m on exchange!
Before you get further into the post, I should introduce myself. My name is Karishma and I’m a third year Business student at Ryerson, and I’ll be spending this semester studying at the University of Leeds in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Throughout the semester I’ll be writing all about my study abroad experience for RU Abroad. Reading some of the posts from last year’s bloggers was a big part of my pre-arrival preparation, so I’m excited to share my experience with you! Plus, writing this blog will help me continue to feel part of the Ryerson community while I’m so far away. Considering I’m writing this while wearing my Ryerson hoodie, I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t leave my school spirit behind in Toronto.
When I told people that I would be going to school in Leeds, most people were unfamiliar with the city and usually walked away from the conversation convinced that I was travelling to London (both London, England and London, Ontario. But that’s a story for another time). Leeds is a city in the north part of England, about 4 or 5 hours away from London. So while I’m not exactly next door, it’s possible to get there on a bus or train, which I’m hoping to do very soon.
So far, Leeds has definitely been the complete opposite of Toronto in almost every way, from the architecture, the overall vibe of the city, and especially the education system. I’ve started to warm up to this new environment, but my first week here was plagued with homesickness. This is my first time living away from home, and add that with being in a completely different city, this has all been a huge adjustment. But now that it’s been a few weeks, I’ve finally able to settle in to my new surroundings and appreciate some of the amazing things Leeds has to offer.
Meeting local students has been a little easy thanks to the Residence Council in my accommodation. I’m staying in Devonshire Hall, an amazing accommodation building run by the University. It’s on a hill about 25 minutes away by foot from the campus, and can’t be found on any of the University’s campus maps. Despite having gotten lost for about an hour and a half on my first day while trying to find the building, I really love it so far! I definitely won’t be switching rooms anytime soon. Unless I collapse from walking up that hill with all of my groceries…
I’ve also been able to meet a ton of other study abroad students through the Welcome Week program we had last month, and there are a surprisingly large number of Canadian students studying here for the semester (#CanadianPride all the way). Getting to meet students who are in the same state of confusion and wonderment as I am definitely helped ease some of my nerves. While I’m still getting the hang of things around here, my experience so far has been a lot more fun than I had anticipated!
It was a little tough writing this first post because introductions are usually a challenge to get through, and there’s a lot more I want to share that I have to hold on to for now. I need to save some things for my next post!
Here’s to an incredible experience for the new year!
Until next time!