International Student Orientation

We are now international students. It’s such a strange thing to say, because it feels like we couldn’t possibly be. Studying abroad in a country where everyone speaks the same language takes away from the feeling of being international. Although everyone can tell instantly that we’re American. I still think back to my meeting with a young man in which he asked me where I was from. I quickly blurted out America, not really thinking about it one bit. He just looked at me blankly and said “Well duh, I meant where in the states.” Boy, did I feel like a bonehead. We are currently at the Welcome Programme for international students at Nottingham Uni. We've been sleeping, eating and exploring campus while slowly getting to know some of the other international students as well. Today for some of us it really hit that we really are international students. We’re spending the day in the library. A library that is not Preus, which we are all so use to now. Looking around I see the bathrooms titled ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gents’ and a recycling bin titled ‘beer’ and I’m instantly reminded that I am not in Luther-land anymore. Things are very similar on first look, it’s when you look really close that you realize that many things are very different. For example, I’m still trying to get used to being addressed as ‘duck,’ ‘darling’ or ‘love’ by perfect strangers, and I’m still trying to get used to not having milk with every meal. This whole squash thing is getting out of control. (Squash is a watered down juice that is served with all meals.) But on the more positive side, I’m really enjoying the adventure in it all. There’s some kind of adrenaline that comes with the unknown. We’re basically done with international student orientation at this point. We’ve been here a total of four days and are not ‘allowed’ to leave until tomorrow morning. We’ve been staying in a single person dorm rooms (so lonely), eating in a big cafeteria a short walk away, and attending lectures about almost everything under the sun. Today all we had to do was register with the university. A short process that for us Luther students was a lot more stressful than it should have been. We waited in the long ‘queue’ and then handed over passports and student ID cards. We waited patiently as they scanned our visas… and then were told that our codes were INCORRECT! You should have seen the looks on our faces as panic ran through our beings. One girl in the group even asked “Am I illegal then?” In the end it was just a simple fix that took about two seconds after waiting in a much shorter queue. Uf da. The rest of our day is very uneventful however. We’ll surely be sitting in the library or in our little single person rooms working on our reflection paper about our first trip or reading for our trip to London that we leave for on Sunday. It feels good to be a student again especially since we are starting more than a month later than we’re use to. Well that’s all for now. Cheerio, ladies and gents.

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