On the 20th August 2016 my moment was finally here; I was moving to America for my third year of university. After months of waiting (and plenty of paperwork), I was off to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to study Political Science. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t even a little bit nervous, but I was mainly extremely excited to begin my once in a lifetime adventure!
After a 10 hour flight (which of course was delayed!) myself and a few other people from Essex, who I had met at Essex’s pre-departure conference, landed in Phoenix, Arizona. We were welcomed by dust storms and 40 degree heat – I definitely wasn’t in Essex anymore!
To get to Flagstaff we had to get on a shuttle from the airport, where we met some other people heading to NAU, and after yet another 2 hours travelling I was finally at my new home for the next nine months. All I wanted to do was sleep but there was no time for a lie in as orientation was the next day at 7:30am!
At orientation we were given a tour around NAU’s campus. Compared to Essex it is huge; it’s over a mile long and we had to get buses from one end to the other. Our guides were current university students and they were strangely enthusiastic for such an early time of the day! I have now learnt though that this is the case with a lot of Americans, they are just naturally friendly and want to help out as much as they can, especially when they hear a British accent.
During our tour I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful scenery. NAU is located just below some amazing mountains, I don’t think it’s a view that I will ever tire of.
I can’t believe I get to wake up to this view everyday!
After our compulsory orientation events we set out to explore campus and downtown Flagstaff a bit more. Flagstaff is a small tow,n but there’s some really cool independent shops and no shortage of food to eat. We’ve made sure to try somewhere different to eat everyday. So far, an Italian restaurant called Olive Garden has been my favourite, they give you unlimited free breadsticks!
Although during our first few days at NAU we were enjoying ourselves in the sunshine, it soon began to turn into thunderstorms and we later learnt that it was monsoon season, something our tour guides forgot to mention. But a bit of rain never stopped anyone and fortunately we were given some eye catching cagoules at orientation so we could continue exploring!
Modelling NAU’s trendy cagoules
My first week at NAU was amazing and it was topped off with a free concert on campus by New Politics, a band who I’d never heard of before but I had such a fun time. Everyone here has been so welcoming and already I’ve met some great friends and people from all over the world. I may have eaten slightly too much food but hey, who doesn’t love an all you can eat free barbecue?!
At the New Politics concert with my new friends
I still can’t quite believe I’m lucky enough to be here, but I would definitely recommend any other Essex students to do the same with the Study Abroad opportunity. What’ve you got to lose?!