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First experiences in Sunderland


Home / Student blogs / Kristina Filkova / First experiences in Sunderland

Published: March 21, 2018

Change can be both scary and exciting at the same time. Moving from home to go to university may seem daunting... It was no different for me.

Students on bridge

Before I arrived in Sunderland, I was absolutely terrified of what was about to happen to me and how my life was going to change.

The night before my flight was unsurprisingly sleepless and I didn’t get any rest. I was eager to begin my new life and curious about my future. Throughout my whole trip to Sunderland, I hardly slept at all. I had a friend with me who was in the same boat and this helped me to feel a bit better and made me a bit braver.

Luckily, when we arrived at Newcastle airport there was a team from the University to welcome us. Coincidentally, the girl who was in charge of the team was Bulgarian just like me and my friend and she talked to us about the University and the city.

As we were travelling on the bus, I barely felt the time that passed as I was interested to see more and more of the surrounding area and then the city itself. I still didn't feel tired or sleepy at all. What was even more exciting and surprising was that close to me was a boy that was going to be on my course. And just like that, I had met one more person from the same country as me and one of my future coursemates before I even got to Sunderland. All of these initial experiences made me feel more at ease with this huge change.

Students at beach


After that, I settled into my new room and throughout my first week, I explored the city, met my lecturers and made new friends. Thankfully, I had a friendly and nice roommate in the halls of residence where I lived who offered to show me around the city and the University. We took a walk around the city centre and City Campus. I learned where to find some good shops and restaurants and I saw some of the University facilities of the University for the first time. Also, as I decided to take part in the SU Buddies scheme of the University, I met my buddie during the first week as well. As she was from Sunderland, I was able to ask her anything that I needed help with. She offered great support to me and made me feel at home really quickly. Having someone you know you can ask for information or any kind of support definitely had a positive impact on me and made the transition much easier.

I learned more about Sunderland during the next week. I was most excited to visit the beach and have fish and chips as well. The experience was quite enjoyable and satisfying except for the strong wind which kept blowing my hair into my eyes. However, as time passed, I learned that strong winds are quite common here and wearing a hat is a must.

Over the first month, I had already made some new friends and we travelled together to see the rest of the North East region. I was totally amazed by Newcastle, Durham and Edinburgh. First I travelled to Newcastle which is very lively and vibrant. I had an amazing time walking along Quayside and looking the Millennium Bridge change its colours when it got darker. Durham had a different atmosphere. It is full of history and the town feels peaceful and quiet. Visiting Edinburgh was even better than the other two trips as there was so much to see such as the Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland. Even though it's a capital, this city still appears to be quiet and inviting. It is full of history and culture and one day is certainly not enough to get to know its beauty and magnificence.

Millennium bridge


All in all, my first experiences in Sunderland proved to be better than I could have imagined. As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about and that night before my flight I could have had a sound sleep.

Moving is always full of emotions and feelings such as stress, anxiety, curiosity, fear, excitement and eagerness. As long as you end up in Sunderland, you can have a peaceful sleep the night before you arrive as there is absolutely nothing to feel anxious about.

It's important to remember that coming to University is a huge step to undertake and it isn’t always easy. However, the experience after that is unforgettable and can have a positive effect on your development in the future. As Jimmy Dean says: “I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”



Topic: Advice and tips, Student lifestyle