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Reader,

It has almost been a week since I’ve left Pennsylvania and made my trip to Colchester, England. It is incredible how much I’ve done and experienced in that time. I’ve met so many people and seen so much in such a short period of time and I really hope the rest of my stay continues on this way.

To start from the beginning, I was very anxious about the trip as a whole; in fact, I still am. I was anxious about the plane ride, customs, and getting to the university, but after going through with the whole of it, it became clear to me that I was making a much bigger deal out of it than I should have. Even though it was the first time in my life that I’d ever traveled alone, everything worked out better than I had expected.

The plane ride here was no trouble, but that wasn’t exactly what I was worried about. The things that gave me the most trouble were customs and getting to the university after touching down in Heathrow. Customs turned out to be nothing short of a breeze. Some important things to know about it is that if you are staying for six months or less, you only need a short term student visa which you can get at the customs desk at the airport. The few things you need for it are a passport, proof of stay at the university (this will be mailed to you from the university), and proof that you can sustain yourself while staying (a parent’s pay stub or bank account will suffice). You can apply for it ahead of time, but it seems like a much larger hassle that way.

Once through customs, the next step had seemed the hardest for me: getting from the airport to Uni. Buses, trains, and taxis can be pretty confusing and expensive at times, but they don’t have to be. If you’re doing the Fall term, there will most likely be a specific coach from the airport to Essex. If not, you’ll have to get there on your own. It may seem a little daunting, but with a little planning it will be easy and straightforward. It is best to get a coach by National Express to Colchester town center and then nab a taxi from there to the university. Buy the bus ticket in advance and have it printed out and ready to go for easiest travel. A word of caution: delayed flights can happen and often do, so the best defense is buying the protection package that they offer. It’s only a little bit extra and it’s worth the peace of mind.

Once I arrived on campus, things seemed to even out so to speak. Most of my anxiety dispersed and I was mostly just tired. I went and got all of the necessary items from the designated areas and took my bags to my room. Luckily, I met a friend from the university that helped me find my way. One would think that a nap would be in order after a long travel, but that’s actually the last thing you’d want to do. It will make the jet lag even worse. Just try to stay up until it is actually time to sleep in England time. As for me, I went with my friend to one of the bars on campus and met some of her friends and got something to eat. We all stuck around for a few hours and chatted over a few drinks until about 8 p.m. I headed back to my room to unpack my things and set up my room. Then came some much needed sleep, as I was pretty exhausted.

That’s all for this post. Look for more posts describing my flat, my new friends, and my new adventures later on this week. Thank you for reading, and I hope you liked it. Feel free to leave any thoughts, questions, or comments you have for me or anyone else.

-Shane

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