Bushra Web diary
March 17th 2008
So, I am back.
I realised that the last time I wrote my web diary was on May 22nd of 2007! Ages….. I am not quite if I have ever mentioned the fact that my course gives you the opportunity to study abroad for a term or not but it does and I have spent a jolly 6 months of my life in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
From September, 2007 till the end of January, 2008 I experienced what is called a "European lifestyle". Now, for those who have never attempted to change their life styles DO IT! I really really really recommend it. Utrecht for those who do not know (I knew squat about Holland when I first went…) is the 4th largest city of the Netherlands and is only 20 minutes away by train from Amsterdam.
The appeal of doing an exchange or an Erasmus in a European country for Jordanians is that you get a Schengen Visa at the beginning then a residence permit if you are staying for more than 4 months or so in that particular country. The benefit of that is that you have visa hassle-free access to any European country that you wish to visit. Now this will be an awesome thing when you are looking for cheap tickets and you find one on say ryanair.com that is for next week… just book the ticket and off you go! You feel every bit like Iben Batoota in his glorious days.
Now, from experience, if you are ever presented with a chance to study abroad (while you are abroad...) do not hesitate to take it. You will meet awesome people that are so different and yet so similar to you that will make your time abroad worthwhile. You will try new food; you might like it and you might hate it but at the end of the day you still get to say (proudly too!) that you tried new cuisines but you still think your mom´s cooking is the best. You might get to buy a bike and use it as your daily method of transportation and become quite the expert on bike `lingo´ (yep yep…) and believe it or not, you will know much does cucumber cost at home, England and wherever you are at the moment!!
To put it simply, I loved every minute of my exchange term and I believe this time away helped me mature because now that I am back in Sheffield for my last term, I feel I am ready to face phase two of my life.
In any case, there isn´t much time left on my degree. I will be graduating in July Inshallah so wish me luck !! But for now, everybody has gone home for Easter holidays and Sheffield is all nice and quiet. However, the best part is that my flat is all empty so whatever I cook that turns into a major disaster will NOT be witnessed so hurraaayyy for mankind!
1. So apparently Holland is not the official name of The Netherlands, the Netherlands is. Holland is the name of a region in the Western part of the Netherlands.
May 22nd 2007
"The end of an era…" This is how I perceive being almost done with my second year at University of Sheffield. It does not hit you until the end of the year when you realise that next year will be your last when last year was only your first! You start thinking about degree classifications, internships, career prospects, what to do next in life … and the list goes on! However, if you flip the coin you also realise that when you graduate you will only be 20 or 21 and young enough to contemplate more options and choices.
So yes, Inshallah same time next year I will be a proper adult (I hope) looking for a job. How cool is that (…..)? Meanwhile, Carnival is on 8th of June in which seems to be one big massive party going on from 4pm-4am that a lot of people intend to check out. So it seems to me that adulthood needs to wait a bit longer for now…
Second year over and out. Till next year!
April 20th 2007
Ding Dong… who is knocking? This is honestly how I perceive exams season to be like. It comes unannounced at the worst of times… exactly just like an unwanted guest. In our final academic weeks here at uni everybody is jostling and bustling around and about. You see massive numbers of students in the parks, beer gardens or just walking off to God knows where. For it seems to me that everybody is trying to do it all: lounge around, study and work.
Since the weather is so nice outside it seems slightly unfair to be at the library all the time. You´d think that since good weather is a rarity in the UK, you would not have to waste it preparing for the summer exams session but nooooo..
On the bright side though, The Information Commons got turned into this one big massive social scene where you can combine your love to procrastinate with your need to be productive…. Until next time
April 11th 2007
Sun, bright blue skies and warmth are back in season ladies and gentlemen. For those who are not winter´s biggest fan, you will be delighted to know that spring is back in town making yours sincerely very happy. So for the past two weeks that I have spent in Sheffield during the holidays I was able to make use of our lovely garden (that is, the one in our house). That would essentially include: me and friends, our neighbour´s cat (God knows why it´s always on our side…) all in a fantastic state of vegetable like laziness. The music was provided by our guitarist wanna be- neighbour (I´d give him a 6/10).
Sheffield was quite empty really for the past 3 weeks (Easter holiday that is), as everybody went back home to spend some time with their family and friends. Or as others have done, been on the BUMMIT trip (students hitchhiking to Belgrade, Serbia using only £15 to raise money for charity). However, you can also tell that whoever stayed in Sheffield ended up having fun as well by just enjoying the weather and catch up on whatever activities they wanted to do but could not do during term time.
I, personally, was in Dublin for the first week with 3 of my house mates. It is a city worth visiting really. For those who do not know Dublin; Dublin is the Capital of the Republic of Ireland ( EIRE) and by the way, there is Northern Ireland and the Republic or Ireland ( the latter is not part of the UK so you will need a visa). There is a lot to check out there, especially if you venture outside of Dublin. I enjoyed it immensely as it had a distinctive both Irish and European feel to it.
As for the last 2 weeks, as you can tell by now, Sheffield was my scene. At one point, it was just me in the house (as all the others were home) so I had it all to myself for 4 days transforming it to my one big room, it was loads of fun!
Anyways, I have to go and get some work done so I am going try our new and fabulous state of the art Library – The Information Commons (I am not a geek, so the excitement is not mainly about the concept of a tech library as much as its about a wicked colourful building with a great view @:- )
March 22nd 2007
This week is week 7 of the 2nd semester of the academic year 2007/08 which means it´s the last week before Easter Holidays! We are going to have 3 weeks off starting Saturday the 24th of March. I am hoping that the weather will be nice enough for us to enjoy our vacation in Dublin then hopefully beautiful Chester?
Last week I went to visit a friend who studies in Nottingham. It was good fun! We attended this Greek social where I noticed that a lot of their music is a copy off ours! But that´s besides the point... Anyways, I enjoyed it immensely as I am currently kind of missing the Arabic feeling to things. So the food, music and the general (Mediterranean look) to people lifted up my spirits up a bit.
We only spent the night over in Nottingham and we came back on Saturday afternoon, to be welcomed by the massive groups of Sheffield residents partying up St. Patrick´s Day. People were wearing big green hats that look wicked. (I wanted one…) and ladies with head bands that say "kiss me, I´m Irish".
City centre was very vibrant and colourful, the church bells were ringing and the Saturday market was selling all sorts of yummy stuff.
To sum it, I have to say that I cannot wait for Easter Holiday to start and just chill out (and try to finish all those essays), I am going to miss home especially since everybody is going back but at least I got friends who are staying here as well, and who knows what kind of havoc can we reek in 3 weeks time! Muhaha.
March 13th 2007
This week has been a random one really; it kicked start (or rather finished off last week) with a weekend in Manchester. I went with a house mate there on a Friday afternoon after lectures for 3 days. I´ve been to Manchester before like a couple of times but this was the first we actually meet up with more friends there and explore the city properly. Now, that city is quite interesting. In some parts it can be very English and in others you think you are back the Middle East/ Asian area. If you happen to visit there someday, go check the Curry Mile and you´ll know what I mean.
On another note, the clubbing note that is, I´ve been to Juice ( which is a student union night) for the first time ever in my life despite the fact that this is my 2nd year here – sad I know-. It was FUN… they actually play good music. Some people were wearing Hawaiian outfits and I still cannot figure out why. It was not meant to be a night with a theme… mmm.
It´s the Student Union Elections 07 last day and the results to who will become our next year´s officers should be known either by tonight or tomorrow. It is interesting to see how people our age become so motivated to win at any cost (proven by all those good/weird/random outfits, flyers and posters you see around during the campaigning time). Two of my friends are running for the same position so it was a bit awkward observing the campaigning process really… We´ll see how it goes tonight I guess.
February 22nd 2007
Welcome to my web diary! Here I will try and keep you updated with my life in Sheffield and offer advice if you are considering studying at the University of Sheffield.
If I could offer advice to you if you are thinking of coming to Sheffield I would say:
- Do bring a camera; you will be taking a lot of photos. Especially in your first year.
- Work on your English language skills. You will be speaking in English for 3 years.
- Work on your cultural and musical knowledge, current issues and any other topic you can read on. You will be surprised conversation here is different from back home.
- Do attend the International orientation week and ask for the meet and greet service. Trust me; you will appreciate it later on.
- Try to avoid using the roaming service for your mobile phone. It costs a lot. Get a calling card or skype your parents ASAP.
- If your parents come with you or just one parent, make sure you buy everything you need while they are still here. Their help is priceless when it comes to buying bedding, a proper jacket, cooking utensils and so on.
- Open a bank account as soon as possible as it takes time to open a bank account for international students.
- Girls - having a hair straightener will help you immensely.
- Pack sensibly. Have what you think will be satisfactory for whatever occasion and be creative. Don’t bring a 50 kgs heavy bag. You will have to pay extra, carry it on your own to later realise you won’t wear most of the stuff you packed. They do have shops here.
- Do not be shy or refrain from trying new activities and what not. University time is the time to explore your horizons.
- Do travel whenever you can. This reminds me, read more on how you can get the schengen visa so you can travel around Europe when you are here.
That's it for now. I will posting regularly so please come back and check it out.