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International Center

University of Missouri

A new routine

by Muhamedali K.

It has been almost a month and a half since I arrived in Manchester so it would seem silly to call it home, but every day that goes by makes this place feel like home. Every day spent at the university, in my dorm and with the people I have become fast friends with brings me closer to my new home. The experiences I have had here thus far have changed me in ways that will manifest themselves as time goes on and I know that these changes couldn’t have happened at any other time and place. All of this doesn’t mean that my life back in Columbia and my family and friends there have become less important. To quote Terry Pratchett, “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too.”

Muhamedali_classworkNow that we’ve got the deep stuff covered, let’s talk about what’s actually been going on since my last post. Classes have definitely picked up since last month; I have already had graded work, but I haven’t heard back about the grade so I am “patiently” waiting to get feedback. The way the classes are structured here is similar enough to the way things are done at MU that I am not completely a fish out of water, but different enough that there are still things I need to adjust to. The lectures here are longer that what I am used to, but it isn’t as noticeable as I thought it would be because the lectures are usually conducive to discussion, which is honestly teaching me as much as the courses themselves are. Discussing everything from the lecture to hangout spots with my classmates is as interesting as it is informative. Adjusting to little quirks, like saying “crisps” instead of “chips” or “trousers” instead of “pants” (don’t make the same mistake I did), is an important part of fitting in and understanding the way things are done here. You can’t accept the big differences until you accept the little ones.

Muhamedali_Woolton HallMy living situation here is more than I could have asked for. Woolton Hall really is a special place and, at the risk of sounding sappy, it’s a place where I feel a profound sense of belonging. Of course, it wouldn’t be what it is without the people that make it up, specifically the people on my flat (floor). If you had told me before I came here that I would be making friends by the second day and that they would be kind, funny and accepting (they found the link to this blog, so bear with me), I wouldn’t have believed it. Again, at the risk of sounding sappy, quite a few times in the last few weeks I’ve found myself wondering about how strange it is that there was a chance I could not have come here and lived in this city, studied at this university and met these people who I will consider friends long after I’ve left.

Muhamedali_group dinnerWe started off on a deep and philosophical note, so it seems appropriate to end on one: Saying yes to something small today (like going to a meeting about study abroad after a day of classes) can lead to doing something as extraordinary as living in a city thousands of miles away from home and all that entails. Things don’t just fall into our laps, we have to make them happen. So attend that info session, join that club or go on that trip because you never know what “yes” will open.

About the blogger

Muhamedali K. is studying abroad at the University of Manchester in Manchester, United Kingdom.

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