I have always imagined the experience of studying abroad as an expedition on both a completely foreign land and the mind of an individual. Solitude and independence were the inevitable and essential elements of the journey, to which the mind and the body may grow from as hardships were overcome.
This my year in Sheffield has provided. Venturing into an island I have never set foot on before was challenging, with new customs and conditions to adjust myself to. The British people were a specimen as peculiar as the weather of their land. Their shops close at six in the evening with the exception of bars and kebab shops, and they throw apologies at each other as if “sorry” was their alternative to “hello”. They despise people that cut queues but would never act upon the violators and would rather murmur in anger. They also, quite definitely, have the most rigorous standards in food compared to any other ethnic groups in the world. One would physically feel the statement when he or she encounters mashed peas or marmite sauces in a British restaurant.
Yet, the British people, especially those from Sheffield, were never hostile to foreigners such as I. Being a mere international student without the best English abilities, I have never once felt alienated by the local community. Unfamiliar to me as it is, the city has never blocked me from freely exploring and understanding its extents. The city was compact, but never lacks in fulfilling any elements of my student life. And, while it was not as splendor as metropolitans such as London, it boasts a certain sense of ease, to which one can maneuver the cityscape and find his or her own shelter in their own pace. The color of the sky in dusk, or the crowd of people in parks on a sunny afternoon were some of the most memorable and comforting scenes in Sheffield.
Studying in England was something not expected of me just a couple of years ago, but it has proved to create a fruitful result. The experiences I gained from traversing a foreign land was priceless, and I am sure it would bear me even more prizes in the future.