Exeter, Devon UK • Jul 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home International Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello

Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello

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Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello

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Saying goodbye to friends and not knowing when you’ll see them again is always tough. Georgia Irving explains how she dealt with doing exactly that and what the next step was when new people came in.

While living abroad, I was surprised to discover that there are many things unique to the UK university experience compared to other parts of the world: the weird student societies covering interests from Harry Potter to Taylor Swift to Tolkein, how many of us deliberately choose a university on the other side of the country to our parents, the remarkably high domestic uni fees (in Denmark, students are paid by the government for pursuing higher education!). To add to this list, I rarely met anyone from outside the UK staying here for longer than a semester. This made for a strange experience of suddenly saying goodbye to all my new friends, and almost immediately having to start the befriending process all over again as new exchange students arrived.

A kind of ennui settled in the air as I missed my flatmates more and more

There was a transition period between semester 1 and semester 2 in late January. Half of my flatmates were hosting parties and gatherings, returning to the flat late at night, totally hammered but only burdened memories that will last a lifetime. The other half were frantically studying for exams, typing up their final essays, and cramming reading in before classes would start again. People who were strangers mere months ago were now tearfully saying goodbye around every corner as they headed off to the airport. I had the inconvenience of having my birthday timed right around the day everyone’s rent contracts ended, and so finding friends who were available to celebrate with on the day proved to be a trickier task than expected.

Suddenly, before I knew it, the number of tenants in my flat halved. Things were quiet again. I could actually do laundry without waiting for a whole day for the machine to be free. Slowly, all the group chats from my courses became less and less active. A kind of ennui settled in the air as I missed my flatmates more and more.

I realised that this was an opportunity: how many of us get to experience Freshers’ week, with entirely new people, twice in one year?

Then, just as quickly as the old ones left, new ones arrived. Admittedly, the idea of meeting so many new people, having to learn their names, ask the same questions of where they are from and what courses they are taking over and over again, repeating everything I had done in August, felt a little exhausting. But then, I realised that this was an opportunity: how many of us get to experience Freshers’ week with entirely new people twice in one year? Especially since so much of the first one was spent quarantining.

My new flatmates are incredibly lovely. It is an amazing opportunity to be able to meet so many people from all around the world, from Ukraine to Australia to Singapore to France – and so many other places. We’ve bonded already over drinks, tales of woe of how covid has (almost) ruined travel over the last two years, and what we miss from home. While it’s such a shame having to say goodbye to the old flatmates who befriended one another so easily, I have no doubt that this new group will become just as familiar and friendly.

Edited by Ryan Gerrett

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