Studying abroad, my experience

This blog post was firstly writtten to celebrate my graduation. However, I figured the post went into another direction. I decided to make this a trip into my three years of studying abroad instead.

You will notice that this post is very personal and contains a lot of ‘bad news’. Just have in mind that I also had a lot of good memories going along the way. While one thing described was happening, ten different good things were rooting for me too.  Hope this helps you if you are thinking of studying or living abroad and doesn’t scare you off. I love being abroad and I am sure you will too. Home is where your heart is.

Let’s start…

My first day in England.

I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity than to go study in the UK. Although many people thought I would come back to Portugal in just a couple of days, I followed my gut feeling and I can believe where it got me!

First year was the year I was doing everything out of adrenaline. So many things went wrong before even the course started. I didn’t have a house ready so I had to stay a week in hotels and my anxiety was making me eat one sandwich a day at max. I lost a lot of weight that first month.

I eventually met everyone from my house and we formed a family. Movies at night, loads of popcorn and laughs. Life was great.

The family eventually grew apart and each started staying more in their bedrooms. I started relying more on my classmates to socialise and my friends in Portugal. I was very depressed but I just decided to swim through and understand that it would pass.

The course was going great and I loved what I was doing. Especially because it was this year that we had a unit on graphic design and I realised how much I would like to persue that in the future.

Matthew and Constance being very proud of our brainstorming for a project.

Although this was a rocky year, I cherish it immensly. I loved everything about it. I learned a lot about how to deal with others and how to be nicer with myself, how I should pay closer attention to my mental health and prioritise it at all times.

In 2017 a lot happened. I went home for Christmas and a few weeks after my grandmother went to the hospital and passed away. This was really hard for me as she was/is a huge part of my life. She was like a mother to me and I love her and miss her tremendously. Also, being in another country, I couldn’t be there for my family which was rough.

I still remember receiving that message, missing my morning class and then going to the radio lesson later on. I really didn’t want to be there but I thought it was worse to isolate myself. Also, I decided to not tell anyone what was going on only the ones that needed to know. That kind of backfired on me as I wasn’t ready to engage on a normal conversation and people started to be weird with me.

I chose to laugh and mourn in silence. More to make people happy other than myself but I still think it was for the best.

Then, I went to Portugal for Easter. My grandfather had been really debilitated as something was happening to him that doctors couldn’t put name on it. The last time I saw him he was going to a care center and about a month after I left Portugal he also passed away.

I was always thinking about how only a few years ago I had my four grandparents and now I have one grandmother alive. Crazy how things happen so quickly.

The summer came and so did my first job. I worked at a shoe shop on the weekends and binged the rest of the week. Not very healthy may I add. Nonetheless, I enjoyed that summer. I later got another job at a clothing store where I saw a different reality in retail. I also got to work with one of my housemates which was fun.

Summer in Portugal was one of the best ones. I had so much fun and travelled a lot and believe me, after the year I had I really needed that.

Eventually, second year started and this was a very hard one to get through. Mostly because of the course. I dare to say that second year is much worse than third year and don’t forget we have to write a dissertation on the third year.

I worked really hard this year. I had a job at TkMaxx and loved it but I had too many hours as the course was very demanding. I was finantially independent but my mental health was very low. I was very tired and anxious. I couldn’t go home for Christmas because I had to work and everytime I did something for an assignment, I was told it wasn’t good enough.

I had so much pressure on my shoulders that I would cry everyday as I would go home. I was tired, very tired. I eventually went to Portugal after nine months of being away from my family and friends. Again, I really needed that holiday.

I also went to Brussels with Matthew for a uni trip. ‘International marketing week’ was amazing. A small town with a lot of different nationalities. I made so many friends that week from all over the world and even though the trip was nothing as we expected it…I loved it! Hope to go on more adventures with Matthew to laugh at everything bad life throws at us.

On my third year I wanted everything to change. My mental health was my priority. I told my parents how I was feeling and they helped me more so I wouldn’t have to work so much. It felt horrible admiting it but it was necessary and I needed this to happen.

I paid rent and food and the course was going great. I actually really enjoyed writing my dissertation and so, I later started putting ideas on the side for a book!

It was on my last year of uni that we started going out. We are not ‘night out’ people so this was a revelation. It was on these night outs that we created the best memories. I love these guys.

Finally, I learnt so much… I love the memories and friends I have here and I wouldn’t change anything if I could.

Also, exciting things are around the corner…

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