The Impact Of Orientation Week
Sandra Brown, Jamaica
Arriving at Gatwick Airport from Jamaica on Saturday afternoon, I had missed the connecting flight that would have taken me to Manchester Airport where I would have chartered a taxi to take me to Sheffield. However, a coach was provided for me and others to Heathrow Airport where we got a connecting flight to Manchester Airport. It was getting late and I was becoming worried as I did not know the area that I was travelling to. With the help of a fellow passenger and her friends who came to greet her, I was able to call one of the taxi services recommended by the University to take me to Sheffield. It was now approximately 11 pm.
A kind young taxi driver appeared within ten minutes of my call and assisted me with my luggage into the car. I was now worried that no-one might be able to greet me when I arrived at Sorby Hall of Residence but the kind taxi driver offered to call and was reassured by the two porters (Steve and John, names I will never forget as a result of their kindness) that they would be awaiting my arrival. The porters were also very helpful in giving us directions to the hall. I must add here that the taxi driver stopped for petrol and offered to get me something to eat, but I refused his kind offer. However, he insisted on me having something so he bought me a bottle of water which I accepted thankfully. We arrived at Sorby Hall at approximately 12.15 am Sunday morning. The porters greeted me as promised and I later thanked the taxi driver and wished him a safe journey back to Manchester.
The porters and a member of the orientation committee helped me to my room with my luggage; the only energy I had then was to change and go to bed. I woke up hours later to the sound of people moving about. I took a bath and was now ready to meet Sheffield. I missed breakfast so I was hungry and with the help of some members of the orientation committee went in search of food. We did eventually find a place to sit and eat. What was interesting was the conversation that we had. Here I was seated around a table with students who represented various countries. The experience was awesome. This is what led to my unforgetable experience of being present at the orientation programme. Each morning or afternoon when I sat down to have a meal, I would be seated among people from different countries; we would talk about our cultures and various aspects of our societies. There was a form of unity and fellowship. It was fun!
The programme that had been planned was also interesting. The `treasure hunt´ was fun and a good way of knowing how to find our way around the city. Our visits to places of interest also allowed us to get an insight into the historical sites of Sheffield. We were also directed to where our various departments were located which was very useful to me because during that same week I went for a visit in my department.
To top off orientation week we had a dinner which was excellent. Many students from the different countries wore their traditional dresses. This was a spectacular sight for the eyes to behold: it was all so lovely. Friendships have been developed and maintained as a result of my experience during orientation week and even now sometimes when I meet with someone who was a part of the programme you would still hear these words: `I wish we could do it all over again!´ I am truly grateful that I was part of the programme and to the members of the orientation week and all those who helped to make it a success. I salute you!
Sandra Brown, Jamaica