Dreaming about this one stage in my life for the past few years and having it come to fruition as I arrived in London, this was a new beginning and chapter of my life. I know, it sounds pretty climatic and it was (I’d like to think so). While saying goodbyes to my family and friends was difficult, the biggest challenge in moving countries was surprisingly not obtaining the visa or the first few days at university – it was about my outlook on this new move. Personally, moving to London was more than just an educational decision, I wanted to study abroad for the memories and new experiences that it would entail. As such, I learned that you have to be genuinely excited and open for this new change!
As a Canadian, obtaining my visa was a fairly simple process. From applying through the government website and paying the fees (less than 30 minutes) to attending my interview appointment (appointment lasted around 30-40 minutes), the last thing left to do was to wait for the notification that my passport was being mailed back to me. As I received a late acceptance, I had to apply for my visa later than I had originally planned. The extended timeline in applying for my visa led to me having to pay an additional fee for faster processing time of the visa itself. I highly recommend that students (unlike me) apply for their visa the moment they receive their acceptance from the school that they plan on attending. Upon arrival, the commute from the airport to the hotel was seamless since I had booked a taxi to secure a method of transportation – I had two large suitcases and two carry-on luggage. Given the amount of luggage I had and the fact that my flight was delayed twice, taking a bus or train would not have been an option.
At last, I made it to Hogwarts to study in a 3 year LLB program! Jokes aside, Royal Holloway has been known to be to one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK and there is no contesting that (check out the pictures below). The first few days consisted of setting up my bank account and going back and forth to potential private accommodations around the university campus area. Once I secured a room, I gave myself a few days to do touristy things (eat lots of food at local markets) and buy the essentials for my bedroom and the kitchen. I do recommend that students arriving the next Autumn to frequently check Spare Room and or Rightmove to have an idea of what rent would look like and whether or not it would make more sense to live in the school provided accommodations.
Although this is the beginning to my experience in the UK, I am grateful for the continuing support that I received from my advisors at Across The Pond. As a result of their guidance and resources, I did not once feel worried, nervous, or anxious about the application process. The entire process was as seamless as it could have been. My parting message of this blog to future students – no matter how many checklists you may create, you will not 100% prepared for moving to another country but that is OK! Enjoy this new adventure!
Here are the links I mentioned: