Choosing to study in England in a small city called Leicester without ever having been to the British Isles is crazy to the core. The first day was hard, especially with the flat in Grange Court. I shared a flat with three or four Chinese students who barely managed to tell me what they were studying. Fortunately, I was able to change accommodation and move in above another German student, Hanna. From then on, everything seemed easy, happy and fun. We even persuaded another German student, Anne, to join us in Victoria Hall. Cooking and sharing brilliant recipes was one of our major doings, for the International Pre-Sessional course offered many opportunities. Thus, we met the Greek Chris, Spanish Louis, Chilean Montse and Christian, as well as others from all around the world, but mainly FIFA master students.
It took only a couple of days until we were known throughout the residence as “Hell’s Angels”. It is unbelievable how many other folks needed our help. One Japanese girl was not allowed to enter her room (some administrative issues), next we assumed to have a swine flu case in Anne and Hanna's flat, and on top of that we spend a whole night correcting an Arabian friend’s essay. It took until 4 in the morning, so I did not even bother going to bed.
I have to say teamwork is highly appreciated here; we always study with teamwork, proof-read others papers and help wherever we can. It is a very nice atmosphere. Now that I moved into Bede Hall, I visit Anne and Hanna's place at Kingfisher frequently; there, we watch all sorts of films on the projector in the kitchen, which is terrific. Thus, we also came across Alex, Sophie and Max, some people I have really bonded to and would not want to miss anymore. Especially with their British cooking skills!
Leicester is a wonderful city, although the rural touch might not suit everybody. The city centre has a great walking-shopping area with many cheap shops. The huge shopping centre is built into the preserved old faces of buildings and opens up at the other side of the centre to a modern palace with cinema and exclusive cafés and restaurants. The best is probably the roofed open food market; fruit and vegetable stalls align over a wide market square, where sellers shout incessantly “now every bowl one ‘pound’”; “50 ‘peee’, every bowl 50p now!” It is hilarious to watch, but as Anni found out, they are able to speak in a normal way. I’m living here for several months now and it sill stuns me how much you can get for two or three pounds at that market (normally food is quite expensive in England, and not only because of the exchange rate). For 50p you get a bag full of bananas or three-four mangos, two or three cauliflowers or broccolis, a bowl of apples, sometimes lots of carrots or mushrooms and once I even managed to get about 3 or 4 kg of grapes. Mostly things cost one pound, though, unless you get there shortly before closing. A fish, cheese and meat market is there as well, but I have not seen extraordinary prices.
There will be more information about Leicester soon, but to get a better impression of my beginning here, it would be best to look at my pictures on Picasa (profile/leyno89) and read the next post about my first moments, which we wrote for the course.
I totally agree with you. Especially living in halls is so much better than a private flat. There are so many cultural differences to explore and the best way to do this is living together. Regarding the market I have to say: I think I will never get used to this "selling concept". Although I really appreciate the low prices, I sometimes wish they stop with their shouting just for five minutes. It kind of disturbs my "shoppingconcentration" ;-) and one day I bought bad fruits just because I wanted to get out asap. Anyhow, Leicester is not to bad to live, but to be honest...it is people like you that makes it a good place to be and I look forward remembering more of our little "history" we had so far by reading your blog. Your´s Hanna