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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

The Official Start of New Chapter

I am just wrapping up day 3 of my "International Student Welcome Programme"

I have been really impressed with the Student Affairs office. There have been around 600+ International Students that have shuffled through here these last few days, and while of course there has been hiccups, over all the program(me) - [I haven't decided yet, if I am going to try and adopt the British spelling of words], has run really smoothly and more important has been REALLY helpful

First things first - ITEMS I HAVE LEARNED TODAY

British people "love to queue" - I have heard this phrase at least 3 times in the last two days.

Queue = line. British folks also tend to have a very dry sense humor, might be part of the reason why I love this place so much.

Jump the Queue - cut the line. Apparently this can lead to lethal repercussions if attempted.

Banger = a really good song. The DJ's here talk about playing "a really big banger" I was all sorts of confused.

So DAY ONE of the Program(me) consisted of:

-Showing up at a set time so you could pre-enroll in your program. I was in the third group. There was a slight delay and a bit of confusion upon arrival on where to go and what number/reference to provide, I was still impressed with the tiered approach (and it made it so we only had to queue for 1 hour as opposed to 4)

-I recently switched from the full-time program to the part-time program (as I will start a full-time job on Monday). I needed to have a form printed out in order to officially "enroll" - however the form I had printed was prior to my getting a job over here. So I needed to wait to use a printer, while waiting in the "queue" I met Ashley from NY- who is also in my MBA program. We proceeded to become attached for the next two days. I kind of adore her. I also got to introduce myself to Anuradha - my admissions contact - one of the many people at the University of Westminster who has had to deal with 5 million emails from Maria (yes, I did just refer to myself in third person, and no, I'm not exaggerating, haha).

-I got my student ID card - and I actually like my picture. That could also be because I have really great hair at the moment compliments of being a hair model for Hari's.

(Hair picture below... I literally woke up like that, haha. But it was all because of a "Turkish Blow Out" - that lasted through the night)


I learned about LOADS of really cool organizations that I want to get involved with (and by loads, I mean two)

-The International Student House - The University of Westminster is affiliated with them which means I will have the opportunity to do all kinds of really cool things, even though I don't physically live there

-HOST UK - Where you can do all of these really cool day trips/weekends away with local families. I literally wanted to book one every weekend.

That's what I'm running into at the moment - I am making all of these really amazing discoveries and I want to do them ALL. But my crazy life hasn't fully started here yet (full time work, part time MBA program) - so my time isn't going to be as available as it currently is. It will all work out in the end though. I know that.

I also managed to win the human bingo contest by being very typically American. Literally marching around the room and demanding to know if someone "has two sisters" or "spoke more than 3 languages" or has had "fish and chips." I'm sure I wasn't annoying AT ALL. lol. Doesn't matter, I walked away with a top shop gift certificate, so that HOPEFULLY I can find something other than skinny jeans and freaking jeggings to wear.

Followed by drinks at the local pub where I got the chance to gush and share my love and appreciation of the program with Kirsty and Helena (who organized it).

And today brought us DAY THREE

Where we had Miller from the Metropolitan Police come and talk about safety in London. You wouldn't think that would be the highlight for me, but it really kind of was. He actually graduated from the University of Westminster in 1999, but is a police officer because "he chooses to be." He said that his primary concern was making sure that we were all safe.

What I really loved about his "speech" was he made a point to say that we should wear our parents love as a mantel. That the protection and safety they want for us, we should want for ourselves - that we are worth the value our parents carry for us. I loved that. Plus, it was really cool to feel a bit more connected to the police here, especially as I literally live right across the street from their headquarters.

I also made the trek to the Student Funding Office located in another University of Westminster campus to sort out my studio loans. I was also informed that I am not actually eligible for the student oyster (travel) card or exempt from council tax (the utilities over here) as I am now a part time student. At first, I was a bit disappointed, but then I thought about the fact that I will have income and be working in Publishing in a Project Manager capacity and I was alright, haha.

And now we are back to the present moment. It's my mothers birthday tomorrow. And it's nice because I don't actually have any obligations other than finding a coffee shop to skype with her in the afternoon. Friday I will start the enrollment portion of my actual MBA program, and Monday, I will start my job.

So, it's all coming together. It's crazy. It's exciting and terrifying but so great at the exact same time. I just need to make a point to be mindful and focus on the moment right now.



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