Sunday, September 21, 2014

Studying Abroad at Royal Holloway: Settling In

The Flight

I left the US from Port Columbus International Airport. I was very surprised when they put my suitcase on the scale and it was actually about seven pounds under the weight limit. I was sure it was overweight (mostly because my whole life is in one suitcase, but also because I could barely lift it). The guy checking IDs at security asked if I was single and if I date 28 year-olds, to which I said no. Somehow I don't think that's part of his job description.

My first flight, to Toronto, was on a tiny propeller plane that fit about 25 people. I actually had to walk outside to enter the plane. I thought that only happened in movies, but I guess that's standard for small planes.

I had a three-hour layover in the Toronto airport, which is awesome. There are tons of tables with iPads on docks, and they let you surf the internet and check your flight status from them for free.

Unfortunately, I was stuck with a middle seat on my seven-hour flight from Toronto to London Heathrow, but I sat next to a really nice woman from Zurich, Switzerland who was on her way back home from staying in San Fransisco and Seattle for a few weeks. It was weird to me that she was traveling in the US in the same way I want to travel in Europe.


Once I arrived at London Heathrow, I had to go through customs before I could get my bags. It was slightly nerve wracking because the customs agent didn't show any facial expressions the whole time he was looking over my paperwork, so I had no idea if I'd done things right or not. But he let me in, so I guess I couldn't have gotten it too wrong!

A student representative from Royal Holloway was waiting outside the terminal for international students, which was awesome. From there we went and waited for the bus that would bring us directly to campus.

My Room

I checked in and found my room in Founder's Hall fine, but the building is huge! There are two wings, the east and west, and then the quads are the North Quad or the South Quad, and you have to leave the building to get from one wing to the other. The hall has student rooms, two dining halls, a library, the health center, a chapel, and even more that I haven't discovered yet.

In addition to a corner of the building, you can see my friends Julia and Erin!
My room is a single, and it's pretty small, but I like it! I didn't bring much stuff at all, so I have plenty of room for everything.
I had to go to Tesco (Pretty much Wal-Mart) for the sheets and duvet cover, and my friend Julia's mother offered to drive us there before she left! It was so nice of her. Since then, I've made another Tesco trip for more essentials.

I have a sink in my room, which is strange but really awesome. I wish more universities had sinks in the room in America. Super helpful. But I don't have a refrigerator, which is strange and not awesome.

The posters on my wall are from a sale at the Student's Union. I needed to buy them because my room was so bare, and they've really made the place feel more like home.

My Corridor

I seem to have gotten super lucky with my corridor, because we all spent the first afternoon sitting in the hallway talking and introducing ourselves. Many of us in the corridor pictured just sit outside in the hallway when we aren't doing anything, or we leave our doors open so we can chat with each other.

All the five floors of Founder's are all painted a different color, and because our floor is green we've named ourselves The Green Mile. It's been really awesome to have everyone be so social and willing to get to know each other, since I'm here by myself. It's been so easy to make friends this way.

So far, I've met some awesome people and have had a great time. I'm starting to get a feel for the campus and kind of know my way around my own building. Sometimes. I still have a whole week until classes start, so hopefully I'll be able to navigate better by then.

Until next time.


  1. Glad you arrived safely and are settling. Much love and best wishes. I am looking forward to following your blog. Mr. Downard

    1. Thanks Mr. Downard! It is great to hear from you, I'm glad you appreciate my posts! Hope you are doing well!

  2. I'm so glad your flight went smoothly!! And it sounds like you have a real community to live in, which will make for an easier transition--sounds like Emerson! Are most of the women you're living with under or upperclass students? --Grace

    1. No, actually they are mostly first year students! The only upperclass students are the other American's studying here for one term like I am. They have pretty limited housing here, so most students live off campus after their first year.


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