Greetings from across the pond! For those of you who don’t know, I am studying abroad for the fall term!

Despite being a couple of days late on my blogging (thank you very much, jetlag!) I can officially say that I have settled into life in York, England! After almost 24 straight hours of traveling, we finally made it to the university two nights ago and I have been loving it ever since.

On Thursday night, I flew from Logan Airport in Boston with the other kids on the trip from Massachusetts – Emily, Davis, Jenna and Christina – to London and from there to Manchester. From Manchester, we took a coach bus from the airport to York, which took about two hours. Though we were supposed to have arrived in town around 4, other international students had missed their flight, which pushed back our departure from Manchester by two hours…we didn’t leave until 4, aka when we were supposed to have arrived. Yikes. Luckily, I slept through the entire debacle, which was a blessing considering I didn’t get any sleep at all on our flights. Sleeping upright is no easy feat. When we finally arrived on campus, we then had to wait in line for what seemed like hours to register with the university, get our keys and receive welcome packets. Finally, around 7, we headed back on a shuttle to the Grange!

The Grange is off campus housing for York St. John University, located about 10 minutes away from campus. It is an easy walk, with plenty of beautiful houses to look at on the way…so far, I have no complaints! Comprised of various houses, the Grange breaks up each respective house into numbered town houses. I live in Welch House 3 with three other roommates, though it can live five people in total. Extra bedroom for anyone who wants to visit! I totally lucked out with my accommodation assignment, as Kim, one of my friends on the trip lives with me! Not to mention the fact that we have two wonderful other girls living with us, Cathryn and Maggie. Living in Welch House 2 and Welch House 4 are Davis and Joe, two of our other friends, and Max, Emily and Allie all live in other Grange houses close by. I would post a picture of our house, but surprisingly, I haven’t actually taken a picture yet! We each have our own bedrooms split between the two levels, as well as a common kitchen, bathroom and shower. Our individual rooms are spacious, and we even get our own sinks which are beyond convenient.

The first night we got here, Allie, Kim, Emily, Davis and I headed into town to explore a bit and grab a bite to eat. We settled on wagamama, which wasn’t exactly out of our comfort zone considering they have them in the States, but it was good nonetheless. Exhausted, we all then headed back home to unpack and go to bed early as Davis, Emily and I hadn’t slept in what felt like days. The next morning, the five of us and Max – who had just arrived – headed back into town to take care of a few errands. We grabbed brunch at an adorable spot, Cafe Luca. After eating, we took our time really exploring the city, walking all the way down the water and down every side street we could find. The city square literally has everything you could possibly need – including and Urban Outfitters! We also took care of our international phones, opting for a pay as you go option with a carrier called 02. The man who helped us was absurdly nice, taking the time to be patient with all of our ignorant questions and the fact that we are obnoxious Americans. Surprisingly, the British are just as fascinated with us as we are with them! After hitting a few other stores to take care of some basic necessities that none of us had packed with us, such as bedding, food, toiletries, etc, we were all beat and headed back to take naps.

There was a big paint party hosted by the university at a club in the city going on last night, which the boys were all very excited about. Us girls on the other hand…well, considering we all overpacked in the first place, we also didn’t bring any clothing we were particularly happy about ruining. Not to mention the fact that I had zero intention of doing laundry during my first week! So instead, the boys headed off to Tokyo, a nightclub, while us girls had a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant, Caesar’s. After that, we headed through the streets and landed on a bar called the Stone Roses, apparently named for a British band…go figure! It wasn’t packed, which was nice, so we got to have great conversations with some of the locals, and learned some valuable lessons. Most importantly was that we had been tipping an exorbitant amount on every meal. Apparently, British custom is that you only tip if you feel the waiter or waitress deserves it, and there is no percentage that is necessary, as waiters/waitresses make a reasonable hourly wage, equivalent to about $9/hr., and the tips go right into his or her own pocket, unlike in the States. In fact, most people don’t tip at all if the service is not above and beyond. Whoops. Oh well, ya win some and ya lose some! Lesson learned.

We’ve all just come back from a meeting with Professor Oxley, who came on the trip with us, as well as an orientation-like meeting with all of the international students, and after grabbing a sandwich across from campus at an adorable cafe called Nicky’s Kitchen – run by a very sweet woman, Nicky, and her mother – we are all now back in our rooms resting before heading back into town with one of my housemates, Cathryn!

I know I don’t have many pictures yet, but I promise they will be uploaded in due time! Cheers! x