A love yee Toon! [Northern England Geordie accent: “I love you Newcastle!”]
I stepped out of the aeroplane in Newcastle, Northern England to begin my semester abroad equipped with an umbrella, instant coffee and a 5kg edition of the Oxford Dictionary. It gradually dawned on me that I wouldn’t be needing it!
“Today, rain with squally winds of up to 70 km/h”. My umbrella was of very little use during my sightseeing and after a short stroll through the city’s diverse architecture, the well-heated museums and pubs start to feel much more inviting! Sunny days are essentially spent by the sea.
An exact science
Anyone wanting to stay awake does not drink coffee here. Tea is the national drink and the brews are as dark as the humour! Making the perfect cup of tea is an exact science – like my lectures at the university. Fascinating classes were held in journalism, advertising and English and independent working was encouraged. And with Earl Grey as my trusty companion, I made it through many a night at the library.
I never used my dictionary. English quickly became my everyday language thanks to the friendships I made with locals. But there was no shortage of international networking either. Cookery evenings with students from all over the world, traditional British ‘Ceilidh’ dancing, fish and chips and ice-cream broke down the cultural, language and geographical barriers. Next time, I will travel much lighter!