Whitby

Hello, everyone! This time the post is about another Student Union-organised trip we took last month, to the city called Whitby. It is to the North East of York and famous for being the inspiration for Dracula, after Irish author Bram Stoker lived there and was taken by the Gothic feel of buildings such as Whitby Abbey.

That’s where we started our trip. The bus parked up high and we had a walk down, about 30 or 45 minutes, to get to the city centre. Great because it meant we could look at the city and take in the views.

Collective picture taking of the view.

The view being pictured collectively. 🙂

When we got to City Centre we walked around as a group for a while then took a boat trip together, followed by a good 3 hours to our own before we needed to head back to York. My friends and I decided on fish and chips for lunch (I mean you gotta, right?!) and The Magpie Café is what we were recommended. I’m passing that recommendation forward because it was great!

After lunch we found a beach and hung around there for the whole two and half hours we had. Not much was done, but the good soul cleansing earned as a result was well worth it.:) 

And that’s it! we headed back to York in a bus full of knocked-out people who were too tired to even chat to one another on the bus. a day well spent!

Thank you, Whitby! You are beautiful.

Mafaz

x

Liverpool

Our trip to Liverpool was on Feb 2nd. It snowed the day before in York and the next day we had remnants that made for a beautiful journey on the bus. Everyone was asked to be at Uni at 8.00 am and it took us around two and half hours to get to Liverpool.

Our first stop was the Liverpool Cathedral

Such a stunning building. It was spacious with great attention to detail, beautiful stained glass and a very peaceful atmosphere inside.

Next we had about 2 hours for ourselves which we took to walk around a little and have some lunch. We went to a burger place and enjoyed some Chinese New Year celebrations on the street.

After that we were on to the main event; The Beatles museum (any Beatles fans?) :

Aptly called The Beatles Story, it’s designed in a great storytelling-as-you-walk way where we got headphones and mini devices (remember walkie talkies? They resembled them a little. Nostalgia: check.) and got to hear different clips with every room we entered into.

This is how the studio looked when the members would record an album. It’s amazing how such a small space can produce great works of art which topped charts for months!

This is the stage in the cafe the band played in for the last time before they exploded into a worldwide phenomena; the picture above to the right is how the tickets looked like. It immediately makes you think of the memories the people who attended it must have..

THE yellow submarine, guys! 🙂

John Lennon’s “White Room” where he wrote few songs. Gorgeous crisp white!

And that was it! A short but sweet trip. My friend and I took some time in between events to rush and see the Titanic memorial and the Yoko Ono section in Liverpool’s museum, but by that point it was so cold my phone decided to conserve battery and switch off. iPhones! Haha.. I managed to switch it back on in the bus just in time to get this picture on the way back to York 🙂

The tour guides were amazing and we wouldn’t have been able to organise such a trip without them; I feel grateful that the experience has been nothing short of great.

Mafaz x

Student Union activities

For the past month or so now, the Student Union here at York St John has been taking care of us in the best way possible. Mingling events, quizzes, food hospitality, trips to other parts of England, you name it. I’ll put some of the events here that took place over the past few weeks. I love going to the Student Union cafe because it’s always fun.

To start with, we had a welcome party for all the international students at the end of the Introduction week. We had dinner together and got to know each other more.

There are students from so many places in the world it’s amazing. We played Bingo and the mission was to find people in the room who fit the descriptions we had on our papers, and we couldn’t repeat a name twice. Really got us to chat to each other!

During the night we also pinned our names to where we came from, on a world map. Hello, Sweden! 🙂

Then we were quizzed on everything British, with a  pretty good prize; tickets to a trip to Liverpool the Student Union was arranging. Pleased to announce, my team won 🙂 (post about the trip here).

On  feb 4th we celebrated Chinese new year with a quiz about Chinese traditions and a lantern-making activity

I had to leave early so I didn’t get to finish my lantern, but wish I had.

Then just couple of days ago we had a Viking event because it is Viking week at the time of me writing this. We had pizza (doesn’t fit the theme but I think the Vikings missed out) then watched a video about Ragnarok and what it is in Norse mythology (if you haven’t heard of it you can watch the documentary Thor: Ragnarok by Marvel Studios. Not too dissimilar 🙂 ).

Then we got to make our own Viking shields; we felt like small kids painting again and it kept us very present. York was populated by the Vikings around 1400 and the city still carries traces to this day, so it was very fitting to celebrate this week.

Next up, Liverpool!

Mafaz x

 

 

 

Hello from York!

Hello everyone, welcome to my first post 🙂 my name is Mafaz; I study English Studies at Malmö University and currently in York, England for the first semester of my two semesters with elective courses. Has anyone been to York before? I’m studying at York St John’s University or, as it’s been dubbed, Hogwarts.

On the first day I got to meet new friends from many countries who were also here for the semester, and we had a mini tour of our own around campus. The university is big! And really beautiful. These are some pictures that I took.

This one is from one of the accommodation buildings, but how nice is the greenery?

Some of us had been to York before but others not. I had absolutely no expectations; I hadn’t heard much about the city, which actually worked in my favor because I felt very present when I arrived as I was seeing something completely new. Official arrival date was 24th January and the first week was all about helping us get settled. We had a 2-hour walking tour that was really enjoyable. We got to know the city and wrote down some tips for places to check out and eat at. Walking around the city made me feel like I was transferred back to the 1400s, very unique.

Apparently this place has one of the best afternoon tea options; I have it on my list of places to visit; I’ll let you know how it goes!

This is one of my personal favourite places in the city, The Shambles street. It deserves a dedicated post, but note the “shop that must not be named” logo. The street is the inspiration behind Diagon Alley and how it looked in Harry Potter. Actually this little street alone has around 4 Harry Potter-themed shops. Pretty cool, right? 🙂

This is where you can start a city-walls walk, we simply passed by it but definitely one to check out, maybe around Spring when the weather is slightly gentler!

The tour ended near the York Minster, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city (and there are a lot).

The details are mesmerizing!

After that we went home and got ready for another day. The Student Union team hosts many events and consists of a bunch of lovely people. The next post will be about some of those events they organised for us as newbies 🙂 Have a lovely time until then!

Mafaz x

 

 

Greetings from Newcastle, United Kingdom.

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Newcastle University. King Edward VII building.

Today I have been in England for one week and three days. I travelled to Newcastle filled with fears, hopes, dreams, and big plans, all in one suitcase and body. I wanted to write my first post Tuesday, when I was in England for exactly one week but sometimes it’s not that easy. I tried my very best to write something but I kept deleting everything after only a couple of paragraphs. I wanted my post here to be smart, witty, funny, and inspirational. Instead, I think I will just go with honest. So here we go…what I honestly did in my first week in England (ever).

My flight went well and uneventful. Upon arrival, while waiting for my luggage to appear,  I kept repeating the words “ please don’t lose my stuff, please don’t lose my stuff, please don’t lose my stuff” like a mantra. I guess it worked since they didn’t lose my stuff. They lost my colleague’s.

That day I also learned that I should always read the fine print. The Meet & Greet service that promised me someone from the University would come and pick me up was apparently available only for the students who arranged accommodation in the University owned rooms and houses. That, as you may have guessed by now, was not my case. Fortunately, I have the best housemate and landlord ever, and she was more than happy to come pick me up from the airport. When we got home she told me I had mail waiting for me. “Well, that’s weird” I said. But weird was not the right word to describe it, since amazing is a much better fit.

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My letters and cookies that helped me through my first (cold) night in England.

The mail was a small package from my best friends in Sweden, in which they each wrote a letter with all their good wishes for me as well as baked me 4 cookies. I’ve read the letters my first night in England thinking I have the best friends ever. I will miss them terribly but I was happy to know they were glad for me and thought it was a good idea to spend a semester abroad. This small package made of paper, cookies, and good thoughts, is a memory I will always have of my first night in England, when freezing in my bed, I learned how much I am loved and missed at home. Oh, and the cookies are gone. Yum!

Last week was just filled with introductory meetings meant to give us, international students, an idea of what to expect, where to go if we need help, etc. I can honestly say I can find my way around the campus with ease. Everything seemed overwhelming the first few days but after a while you see the logic in things and start to function just like any other student. There are maps of the campus and signs everywhere; and, if that fails, the people are more than happy to give you directions. Which leads me to my next point….

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View over the South Africa War Memorial and St.Thomas Church.

Geordies! Geordies are the people of Newcastle, the friendliest on Earth, the most funny, the best. They speak a very distinct dialect of English called Geordie. It’s Scandinavian influenced (those Vikings…), which makes any Swedish speaker go crazy about it (Ok maybe not every Swedish speaker but it sure interests me).It’s frankly quite fascinating and I hope I will have time to learn more Geordie and write something about it here. The people here are very proud of their heritage and I think they should. Geordies are very funny and welcoming. As a matter of fact, this region is well known for the hospitality of the people here and I sense this every day: when I shop, when I ask for directions, or when I go to a lecture. It’s just a natural wittiness and friendliness they have about them that I love. Sure, people are very nice in Sweden also, but this is another kind of nice- this is a funny, cracking jokes kind of nice. Lovely!

I got to go a bit in the toon, as Geordies affectionately call the town. Newcastle is extraordinary. There is something for everyone and I have a long list of things I want to do. The Millennium Bridge and the Tyne Bridge are amazing, and I want to go see them at night, since they apparently give a spectacular view. Tons of lovely shops and pubs everywhere, and I like to take  a walk before going home through the main street, Northumberland Street, and just window browse or go in and take a look inside a bookshop.

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The Millenium Bridge and The Sage music hall.

Teaching starts next week and I am looking forward to start my classes. Being a tourist is very nice, but I didn’t forget why I’m here in the first place and I’m so excited to see my teachers, hear the first lectures, attend the first seminars, and generally get into the skin of a student abroad.

 

 

Looking at this page, it seems my student-abroad-writer’s-block thing passed, so I am looking forward to report back from the lovely Newcastle Upon Tyne. See you soon!

P.S: My colleague’s luggage has been found and sent back to her. We both have winter clothes now and are having a terrific time.