A life in two years

To reassure some, before leaving for England, I did not speak English fluently at all. My level was that of someone coming out of high school. You don’t have to be bilingual in English, but you still need to know how to speak at a minimum. Having already spent a year and a half in England, I can assure you that I am bilingual in English.

The university campus
September 2019: the big start. I’m only 18 years old, but it’s off on a big adventure: to live in England alone for two years. At the English university I’m at. We need to have on-campus accommodation for the first year. In the second year, housing must be off-campus unless, by luck, you manage to get accommodation on campus. The university is an hour from London by train, so you can often go on an outing to discover England. England is known for its weather, which varies very quickly from hour to hour. I confirm this stereotype! But if you get used to it quickly, don’t worry about it 😉. The worst is when it gets dark at 4 p.m. in winter. It’s a little depressing.
Living in another country alone without your family can seem complicated, but the friends I made in England are my family. We are all in the same situation, far from our families, so we support each other when morale is low. Before leaving for England, I had never left the “family cocoon” for a long time. The first month is psychologically tricky because it is time to adjust to your new life, meet new people, and miss family.
With the health situation, my experience abroad was very disturbing. I had to return prematurely in March 2020 to confine myself to France and not be stranded in England. From that point on, I only had online classes. My second year is therefore also strongly affected by the cold. It is more complicated to meet people, so I joined student associations.

The famous ice cream truck in England
At my university in England, there are over 120 student associations, a vast selection. In September 2020, I was appointed president of a student association for the defense of human rights. Through this association, we organize conferences and debates. Everything is online, but it allows you to meet people virtually and build relationships. Student associations are the best way to meet people with the same passions, even without being in a time of health crisis. If you are at a university that has student associations that interest you, sign up!
I have not returned home to France for good when writing this article, as I still have five months of classes left. I can tell you, however, that the final return to the family after an experience abroad is very complicated psychologically. This adventure allows us to be autonomous and independent, and when we return to live with our family, we have the impression that we are no longer accessible. In England, it happened to me going for walks with friends on the university campus at midnight. With our family, we rarely go for a walk in the neighborhood at midnight. Although the return may be difficult, the experience is worth living!
Brexit may hold some of you back from England, but remember, universities offer scholarships or grants. Don’t give up on your dream!
Personally and professionally, this experience is incredible. It allows you to discover a new culture and enrich your CV by having experience abroad and being fluent in the country’s language! To give you an idea, this experience allowed me to obtain an internship in a law firm in the second year of law studies, which is usually not possible.

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