It may be only 1:45 am in my body but my mind is buzzing awake watching the sunrise out of the window on the plane. There’s a scene from my favorite childhood movie, The Parent Trap, where Halle looks out of her window as her plane approaches London as the song “There She Goes” by the La’s plays in the background. And that surreal feeling she experienced in that moment is exactly how I’m feeling while I quietly hum the tune to myself.
View from my flight window
The rest of this post was written after arriving at my accommodation at the University of Bristol.
What I expected to be a long flight turned out to fly by (pun intended). It was the check-in process, security, and waiting at the gate that seemed to take forever, most likely in anticipation. I came prepared with printed out versions of my COVID-19 molecular test, and a Passenger Locator Form required by the UK government. These forms helped the check-in process go much smoother, as I had them readily available.
A little more information on the Passenger Locator Form. This is a required document mandated by the UK government so that they are able to view your Day 2 and Day 8 COVID test based on an identification number. I was asked to show this at check-In at the Newark airport before leaving, and in Heathrow once I arrived. My biggest tip would be to continuously check the UK government’s website as the rules are constantly changing.
I also made sure to have any bulky items I might need pre-ordered and delivered to my dorm room at the University of Bristol. The University recommends using a website called Patterson’s to order dorm needs such as cleaning supplies, bedding, and kitchen supplies to be directly delivered to your room, making it easier for international students to travel. This is why I was able to travel with only one checked bag, and carry-on, and my backpack. In terms of clothes, I tried to severely limit what I brought. I researched the weather, and no surprise, it’s cold and rainy from September to December. I ditched the shorts and t-shirts and mainly packed sweaters and clothing items that are easy to layer. I also made sure to pack my winter jacket, a rain jacket, and a pair of rain boots.
Because I’ve landed in London and the University of Bristol is 2.5 hours west, I opted for a university arranged transportation service. The group picked up internationally arriving UoB students and dropped them off directly at their dorm. This service was provided over the course of multiple days, which meant that I was able to book my flight to London at a time that was convenient for me that fell within these days.
The English Countryside
After unpacking all my things I got to meet a few of the girls who had already moved into my flat. I’m staying at Wills Hall which is made up of about 15 flats, each one holding about 13 people. We have our own set of shared bathrooms and a kitchen per flat too. This is a fully catered accommodation too, meaning that meals are provided.
So far I’ve only met people who’ve lived in England their whole life, so it’s been so fun learning about what their life experiences have been like. But it’s the accents that I’ve been mesmerized over. They all sound like Peppa Pig to me, and I think I’ve started to pick up some slang as well! I’m looking forward to meeting some other international and study abroad students this week at the Welcome Week events too!
Wills Hall, University of Bristol
The jet lag has definitely caught up to me, so “cheers” for now!
A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:
The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.