Moving away from everything you’ve ever known is a daunting task. Even if it’s only for a year, that’s 365 days of being away and in a completely foreign environment. And the only way to describe it is — nerve wracking.

I moved from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Sheffield, United Kingdom to pursue my Masters in Occupational Psychology at the University of Sheffield. It’s been exactly 10 days since, and it still feels like a holiday more than a new home/life/settlement. But I’ve been trying to make my matchbox of a room (it’s really not that bad) into home (ah, but is it not where the heart is?) and making myself comfortable in this whole new city.

To commemorate 10 days, here’s 10 insights I’ve gained since:

  1. Fresher’s week in the UK University scene is such an interesting cultural difference compared to the university scene in Malaysia (not sure about public universities, though) — it’s like chock full of activities, freebies and parties.
  2. When your fridge and cupboard are full of food, you instantly feel more relieved and more at home. It’s always nice to know you aren’t going to starve.
  3. So much gratitude for all the things I had set up and going for me back home that I never knew to miss until I had to start from scratch. Cooking with only basic utensils and stuff is quite an interesting task.
  4. There is a positive correlation between the coldness of the temperature in your environment and the frequency of needing to pee.
  5. Not all Europeans are native English speakers, and they struggle just as much as many Asians do when coming to an all-English environment.
  6. The United Kingdom has way too many types of coins. I mean, two pence? Why is that even necessary?
  7. Dressing for a cold climate is an art of its own. I’ve seen people wearing nothing but a short dress and sandals in the same weather as someone wearing a full-on parka. But also, the stark difference in temperatures within buildings and outside of buildings means that I am constantly needing to peel off clothes and putting them back on. My body is very confused by all these temperature changes
  8. Chicken is a surprisingly expensive meat. I’ve been spoiled by how cheap it is back in Malaysia.
  9. Accidental (or not, I’m still not sure) segregation is completely possible. I was sitting in a lecture theatre and realised that for some reason, all asians were sitting at one side and all non-asians were sitting at another. Another observation was that the asian side was extremely quiet, and the non-asian side was chattering away.
  10. Being part of an international student body means that you suddenly gain a whole new level of knowledge on world geography as you meet people from countries you’ve barely heard off and have zero idea where they sit on the map.

At the end of the day, the past 10 days have certainly been an upward curve of learning and adjusting, as well as an upward curve for the amount of walking I have to do because most roads in Sheffield are literally — an upward curve.

Let’s see what the rest of the month, year and semester bring forth.

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