Newcastle. Exchange. 2014-2015
“So, how many languages do you speak?”. If they had given me a penny every time I spoke with someone about languages I’d be rich by now. Or, since that may be a bit of an overstatement, at least I’d have enough money for a couple of those nice ciders they drink here so much. It seems that British people do have some sort of national trauma about their incapability of learning languages. Newcastle University tries its best to change this, and therefore there is an amazing place on campus called the Language Research Centre where there are many facilities where students can learn almost any language for free.
Besides this language centre, there are many other facilities the university offers for free in order to help their students in many different ways. So, in the International welcome week there were many sessions where information was provided about all sorts of things: sport centre, lectures, library… The university also offers sessions where you can further improve your English. Although neither those extra English seminars, after all our Proficiency classes, nor the information sessions in the welcome week proved to be very helpful in the end, it shows how committed they are in helping, and that helped me to find my way around campus and the university stuff really quickly.
So, my first thought when I woke up the day I was going to travel to Newcastle, which was not really about how excited I was, but more ‘Oh, why did I want this so badly?’, quickly disappeared once I came here. On that September morning I suddenly dreaded all the things I had to get arranged and getting used to everything in Newcastle looked much more difficult then than when I was planning everything.
However, now, after two months in Newcastle, I notice that I have fallen in love with this city. That probably started on that very first day in the city. Coming from the airport I stepped out of the metro and saw Monument and the very centre of Newcastle, which is beautiful, with many old, grand buildings. Another absolute must-see is Quayside. The locals are proud of the bridges there, and that’s totally legitimate; whether by day or by night when they are illuminated, the Millennium Bridge, the Tyne Bridge, and the other bridges are absolutely stunning! In addition, you have nice views over the city and the river depending on which bridge you stand, which makes for another reason why I like them so much.
The city and university have so much to offer that the idea of already leaving in little more than two more months makes me a bit sad. I’ve joined a few different societies, including the probably most British society possible, the Socie-Tea, and yes, that is about tea and eating cakes! As an Erasmus student it’s really easy to meet many different people and to keep entertained through the many trips, parties, and events that the university organises especially for international students, but a good thing about the societies is that it makes it easier to see people on a regular basis, instead of having a great time with people and then never seeing them again. Not all societies are equally time-consuming as others, so that allows you to enjoy the vast diversity of existing societies and join a few different ones!
I’ve briefly tried to transmit a bit of the already mentioned love that I feel for Newcastle in this text. If you’re considering coming to the best city of the North East, you’re more than welcome to ask me all your questions about more specific things like finding accommodation, modules, how to move around the city, or whatever you want to know! I’m sure that I’ll be delighted to talk about this canny toon!