Postcards from the UK: The homesick phase

The homesick phase

Amanda Mitchell // columnist

Winter is in full force at the University of Hertfordshire, complete with freezing temperatures, snow and high-speed winds. As soon as snow reached a couple of centimeters above the ground, classes were out for a snow day, taxis stopped running and even school facilities ceased to operate. This seemed a little head-scratching for my friends and I, but we are Canadians after all.

Along with winter conditions came the grim cold and flu season, which swept through my flat and took me captive. Bedridden for almost a week, I started to miss home more than ever, desperately wishing to be in my own bed. It’s quite common to feel homesick when you are actually sick, especially for those who live with their families at home. As someone who still live at home, it was a shock to be bedridden without anything to help my sickness, as I’m now the one who now needs to go grocery shopping. At home, a few bowls of my mom’s secret Chinese chicken broth with tofu would make me feel instantly better, and the constant care of your mom is hard to replace. This was my first encounter with being homesick since I arrived.

I have now been in the UK for two full months, which is hard to believe. I feel as though I’ve been here forever. My classes are now halfway finished and my school workload is starting to become more substantial. At the beginning of the semester, I would often have time during the week and on the weekends to explore London and the small towns nearby Hatfield, but now I must be careful how much time I delegate to extracurricular activities. The difference between Capilano University and UHerts is that CapU assignments tend to be spread evenly throughout the course of the semester, whereas UHerts has all assignments fall at the end. Weeks of freedom and adventures have suddenly become into cramming sessions.

My classes at UHerts are very interesting, especially since I’m in some subjects that I may not get to study back in Vancouver. One of these is Interactive Media, a class that outlines the basic skills needed to create simple animations for social media and apps. I find this class quite difficult. Animation is not something that I’m familiar with, and animation and motion graphics fall under the Motion Picture Arts program at CapU. Similarly, I am taking a class called Journalism, Law and Ethics, which covers the common legal issues that take place in British journalism. This class is especially interesting, as I’m learning about law in the UK, which is exceedingly different than in Canada or the US. I’ve never thought of law as a subject of interest for me, however, I’m now looking into taking law classes as electives when I return to CapU.

Upon leaving for the UK, I planned to do all my travelling over Easter vacation – at the tail end of my experience – so as not to have travelling clash with my studies. During the last week in February, the Faculty of Humanities had a reading break, which I did not know about until I arrived. Unfortunately, I’m not someone who can make spur of the moment decisions – booking night-before flights is not my forte. Nonetheless, it was still slightly discouraging to watch my friends leave for the entire week, visiting four or five different countries while I watched from afar through social media.

At the end of March, I’m travelling to Malta, which has been on my bucket list since I saw its beautiful beaches. I also have a small weekend trip to Belfast planned, where I will spend St. Patrick’s Day among some friends in Ireland. I can’t wait to see what these next months have in store for me.


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