Something NEW I tried in Cheltenham

They say, ‘Time flies so fast’ and it is true…

I am currently doing my final year and I have only just noticed that 6 months have already passed and I am very close to finishing my degree. This means that in another 6 months’ time, I will be going home and it means less time to add new things to my bank of UK experience.

While I am trying to seek new things, a friend of mine has invited me to try a salsa dance class. I said, ‘No’ for two months, with excuses like ‘I know nothing about it’, ‘I won’t be able to do it well’, ‘People already know how to dance, so they will laugh at me’ and many others. However, after two months of constant pressure from my salsa-dancing peers, I decided to try it.  And you know what? I enjoyed it a lot. I am in love with salsa now! I still cannot do it well but that does not matter to me because I am enjoying it. I have done three classes now and I can’t wait to go to more classes.

They have Beginner classes every Friday at Copa, which is in Cheltenham and making it easy to access for Park/ FCH/ Hardwick students, Monday’s class is at Bishop’s Cleeve and Tuesday’s at Gloucester. Instructors and other learners are very friendly and supportive and they start teaching everything slowly like ABC, so it is very easy and enjoyable to learn. Attending these classes give, you the opportunity to make new friends and it allows you to escape the atmosphere of just study and work. I love it because I am learning a new thing and at the same time, I am enjoying it and making new friends, it’s like killing three birds with one stone, not even two birds. I would recommend it if you are looking for something new and cool!

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A special visit and Christmas’ break.

Missing my family has been my biggest challenge since I arrived here. But I was lucky that while I go to university in England, my boyfriend goes to university in Portugal, which has been very positive for us since we are both going through the same experiences as international students and we get to see each other more often than if he was in Brazil for his studies.

Two weeks ago, he surprised me by coming to Cheltenham without telling me anything about it, it was a shock for me and I couldn’t be happier. He stayed here for 5 days and he was amused at Cheltenham’s beauty.

This is us enjoying the coldest day here in Cheltenham:

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On the other hand, it is almost Christmas, and not everyone is going home to stay with their family, just like me. If that’s the case for you too, then I suggest you to keep yourself entertained with your friends or classmates so you don’t feel alone. There are a lot of international students going through the same situation as you, that’s why you can always find someone to be friends with.

A good option to have fun with your friends in the Christmas’ break is to cook together. I’ve always loved baking and I decided to bake some cookies with my friend Camila, from Colombia.

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I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a happy new year!

Arrival & Settling In

I arrived at Park Campus on my move-in date, picked up all the necessary information and went to my accommodation afterwards. It was all pretty straight forward. I moved into halls of residence at the same time as all the UK students and therefore missed the introduction for international students , which was a week earlier. I regretted missing the chance to connect with them at first, but luckily there were enough people on my course and in halls to make friends with anyway.

Connecting with your fellow flatmates is very simple as long as you participate in conversations, socialise in common areas and don’t stick to your own room all the time, especially Freshers Week – your first week at university. Everyone is looking to meet new friends and you will therefore have no problem finding some. The accommodation is decent and halls of residence are probably the best way to connect with fellow students, next to societies, sport clubs and your course!

I also signed up to join the rowing team as a total rookie but the team is great! Next to training, we also have differently themed socials at a bar around the corner every Wednesday. It is loads of fun although I have to admit that it is hard to compete with the British drinking culture when I have a 9.15am lecture the next day… So I went from attending weekly at the beginning to just a few times to manage my studies and save some money.

Small city vs Big city

Hello everyone! This is my first blog post and I’m very excited about that. I would like to talk about the noticeable differences between living in a small city and in a big city.

I’ve been in Cheltenham (in the county of Gloucestershire) for 2 months now, so I could say that I’m already familiar with this lovely city. One of my favourite things about Cheltenham is that it is a small city but at the same time it has a lot of different supermarkets, shops, and events. The State that I come from in Brazil is the size of the entire UK, so it has been very different for me to live in a small city as I’m used to living surrounded by high buildings, a city that doesn’t sleep and the worst part: the traffic.

When I arrived in Cheltenham I was enchanted by the nature here. You can see trees and flowers surrounding the entire city, different from the big city that I used to live in, which is grey and there are more cars than trees. I’m pretty sure that my lungs are feeling very happy to finally have a break from the polluted air from the big city. So in this case it is definitely a point for the small city.

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When it comes to going out at night, going to restaurants and doing different activities, Cheltenham is not behind the big cities. Here you can find clubs, pubs, restaurants from all over the world, and there are a lot of festivals throughout the year. An example of the main difference between Cheltenham and a big city is that everyone here knows the exactly places to go at night, because there aren’t as much options as in a big city so you are most likely to meet all your friends in the club. In Cheltenham it is pretty easy to get where you want just by walking as almost everything here is close, but in the big city you’ll probably have to take a bus, metro or go by car. So in this case I think the small city and the big city are winning, and the reason for this is that in the big city you have more options for activities but in the small city it is easier to go to the places that you want to.

I had the opportunity to visit Gloucester, which is a city that is 30 minutes away from Cheltenham if you go by bus. It was different for me because I’m used to take 30 minutes to go to a different neighbourhood in the big city, and to go to the nearest city it would take about 2 hours. But this is definitely a positive thing about Cheltenham as it doesn’t take much time to go to different cities so you can always visit different places when you want to.

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(Gloucester Cathedral, where they filmed some of Harry Potter)

If you ask to any citizen of a big city at what time they usually go to the supermarket, they’re probably going to say that they go at night after they come back from work. But this is not the case here in Cheltenham where all the supermarkets and shops close early, around 6pm everything is closed already. I was aware of that before coming to Cheltenham because normally everything here in the UK closes early, so be careful about the time if you need to go for example, to the post office or shopping.

To sum up, I’ve enjoyed living in a small city and to be honest I don’t have a preference. Cheltenham has been a really cool place to study and live, and it has definitely exceeded my expectations!