For those that lived in a dorm, do you remember how nerve racking it was meeting your floor mates for the first time? That feeling of excitedness mixed with terror. You had no idea what was going to happen. How is your roommate going to be? How are your floormates going to react towards me? How am I gonna get this mini fridge up those stairs? Yea, all these pressuring thoughts running through your head all at the same time. Study abroad is exactly like that.
One thing people may not tell you about study abroad is the fact that you get really close with other exchange students. That is in no way a problem because they are always the coolest people ever, but it is harder to make friends with the locals. I was on an exchange in Singapore for five months before I came on this exchange and I only talked to the exchange students, but I don’t regret that at all. Those friends I made will be friends with me for the rest of my life and I would never change a thing about that, but I can’t tell you a single Singaporean I talk to.
I bring this up because that surprisingly is not the case here at York. Story time!
After what felt like an eternity and a half of no human interaction (in a previous blog I stated that I barely saw any living specimen on campus), I finally met one of my floormates! I was just walking out of my door when my next-door neighbor was locking his up.
“Finally, I get to meet you!” Demo said enthusiastically.
“Same! I haven’t seen anyone in like three days!” I said in response.
“That’s oolrite! (some British way of saying “alright”) It’s exam week so everybody has been revising (some British way of saying “studying”) every day. Come to breakfast and meet the rest?” Demo asked.
I had nothing better to do so I jumped at the opportunity! Demo and I walked to breakfast, got food, and then he led me to this one table with about ten people. Unanimously, they all scooted over to make room for us and just started talking to me like they have known me since the start of the school year. They asked all about the US, talked about where they are from, gave me suggestions on what British comedies to watch, stuff they will take me to go see, and so much more! They actually told me that they were all emailed that I was moving in and would, as a group, come knock on my door to say hello (thank goodness I wasn’t there! Can you imagine eight strangers standing outside your door all saying hi while you awkwardly stand there? Yea me neither). Almost forty minutes later, we finally realized that we’ve been sitting there for waaaaay too long and returned to our dorm.
I cannot explain to you how that made me feel. Any negative thought I had of them not liking “The American” was thrown straight out the window in less than five minutes. They will probably never know how thankful I am for that.
Now we are inseparable! I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with them every single day. When I’m bored, I go to the kitchen and there everyone is just chatting with each other. We go out every Thursday together, come back, and eat too much pizza, but my all-time favorite thing we do is on Sunday. Every Sunday, the whole squad goes to a restaurant (we are not catered on the weekends) for dinner. We always get the biggest table the place fits and just sit and chat for hours. After, we go home, we change, and drag our mattresses into one of the girl’s, Ellie’s, room for movie night.
I find it funny when the other exchange students tell me all about the traveling they have been doing since being here because I haven’t even left York! Although I was in Singapore for longer, I went to Indonesia (twice), Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia! I did loads of travel over there and truthfully enjoy traveling, but I realized that I don’t really want to travel out of this exchange. I want to spend my few short months with these people that I have already grown such an attachment with. Time spent in my dorm’s old, grimy, and freezingly cold kitchen on plastic chairs with these people are the memories I can’t wait to remember for the rest of my life.
In the end, I don’t care that I am not seeing the beauties that all of Europe has to offer. I only care about what movie we are watching this Sunday. Floormates=Life-long Friends.
P.S. They read the blog and got personally offended that I did not mention all of them. So, shout out to Ari, Ollie, Alex, Charlie, Joe, and Niamh (Pronounced like Eve but with an N in front).