Starting a new life abroad…Ingrid Ouedraogo, ENSAI, France.

My name is Ingrid, I’m French and I’m studying at Queen Mary for my spring semester as a part of the Erasmus+ Programme and as part of my postgraduate studies at ENSAI. I think the scariest thing about studying abroad is leaving our current lives, especially our little everyday habits.

We are used to living in our comfort zones, in our homes where we are used to living, where we’re used to calling our friends and family as and when we like and to seeing them throughout the day. We know where to go, who to call in any situation. And so when the question of leaving to study abroad comes along, we could very well ask ourselves ‘Why?’ Why leave everything that we know behind, to start again in a new city, with new housing arrangements, with people that we don’t know? And sometimes we can be stopped by this fear of a new life, of the unknown.

However, now that I’ve been in London for more than a month, I can tell you that you have nothing to be afraid of. Studying abroad isn’t about leaving our lives behind, but more about putting our current life on hold for a little while and just seeing what we can learn and discover in a different place and from different people. I have to admit that the first few days in London weren’t easy, as I didn’t know anyone. I was a bit lost in this new environment, but it has started to get better once I met some people and started to discover the country.

But what really makes me feel good is creating new habits and I think that this is what can help you too. Indeed, in my school back in France, I was used to having classes all day from 9am to 5pm, and then spending the rest of the day working with friends or going out. And when I came here, I just didn’t know what to do – especially as we have a lot more time off within our academic schedules. As a result, I started to find activities to fit in to my lighter class schedule, such as doing some sports after classes just to have something that helps to set the pace of my daily life. Step-by-step, this has become a real routine between and after classes; both the activities and of
course my discovering of London. And believe me, once you have found your own routine, you start feeling like you’re at home.

So, this is my advice if you are not feeling particularly well settled – create a new weekly routine for yourself, where you can add activities that you like between classes and you’ll start to set a new regular pace, for your new everyday life.

Studying along the canal

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