Category: 2014/15 Fernanda O. (Brazil)

It is so extraordinary to see how one’s life can change exponentially from the moment he decides to leave home. I never thought I would say that but I cannot even think of how my life used to be before I came here and how narrow minded I was comparing to now. So many things happened this month that I had hardly any time to rest. And it feels so good to be able to say that because all the time I am indeed enjoying my stay here.

I’ve started to go out with my friends more often, mainly on Saturday nights, and I’ve been having a lovely time with them. I am also getting on so well with my host family that I almost consider them as my own family: they are so caring and we have so many good chats everyday.

Right before the half-term, we had a House Cross Country in my school. We are separated in houses (like we see on Harry Potter movies) and we seldom have House competitions in order to get house points. This time we have to run for about an hour in the mud, first in a huge field and then in the woods. Of course I ended up walking half way through but it was unexpectedly funny to get involved in this activity, mainly because we don’t have Cross Country as a main activity in Brazil.

The following week was half-term, and although everyone was dying for it to come, I was feeling quite sad because most of my friends would go back to their home countries or go on holidays with their families whilst I would stay at home, doing nothing really exciting. However, the week ended up being one of the best since I arrived: I went out with some friends that sing in a choir in town, I went to have lunch with two other friends, and I have a lovely walk along the beach in a city nearby called Whitstable, with my host mother. But the highlight was in fact travelling on my own for the first time. I had heard that there where remaining tunnels from the Second World War and a very famous Medieval Castle in Dover (a city about an hour and a half from my town), and as I am madly keen on History I immediately decided to go. I woke up the next day and too the train, but I had not idea about how to actually get to the castle. In the end I managed to find it and I felt a really unique feeling of freedom as I was completely on my own. Thus, I loved the castle and the tunnels and I learnt so much

Still during half term, I woke up one day and I realised how sunny it was, being that in Britain you learn how to value the sunny days as there as so many rainy and cloudy ones, so I decided to go to a nearby city, Margate, on my own again, as all my friends were either busy or travelling. I took the train again and I went to Turner’s Contemporary Museum over there, which was very interesting and I also walked all over the beach, for about two hours having the most lovely view, and eventually I also had some very tasty fish and chips watching the sea. It is so good to be able to explore new places and do all sorts of things here, and in a much safer way that I would do in Brazil.

I also went to a Halloween party with only day students and I had a really good time over there, although I didn’t know many people over there. I guess one of the good things about being from abroad is that you always have a topic to start a conversation on, what includes anything from the World Cup and Carnival to ‘do you miss your family?”.

Last week we had a bonfire night, which is very traditional in Britain and although I almost froze because of the cold, I had a lovely time there. It was the “non-uniform” day at school too, and it was so interesting (but quite weird) to see everyone wearing their normal clothes. It is funny too see that although I don’t see myself as a serious person, when I am wearing the school uniform I look much more serious, and the same happens to everyone else, so we never get the same impression of people when they are dressing smartly.

At the moment I am planning myself for a National Debating Competition that I’ve been invited to take part in. I am also going to London next week to a lecture on Economics. Sadly, I am getting more and more aware of what a short time still remains for me to enjoy this amazing place.

In fact, I guess enjoyable is the key word to describe my last months. I am so pleased I’ve came here, really. And what’s more, I am starting to fall deeply in love with the kind of life I am having here: always doing different things, learning, having fun… I cannot take this bloody smile out of my face, apart from when I wonder about leaving Canterbury.

I’ve just got back from Switzerland. I went there with Kent College to visit CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. It was just mind-blowing, in all the possible senses. We had a life-changing lecture on anti-matter and matter, and on the Universe, and on many theories of dimensions and so many other things that just completely changed my way of seeing the world. We also walked around the city, we saw the lake and went to the old town to have a lovely lunch, with hot chocolate and many laughs. The group I was in was incredibly special: we had such a great time together and we now have lots of very funny stories to tell about the trip.

The weather is getting worse and worse but I don’t mind that much: never have I been so happy and in peace with my own self in my whole life as I am now. I guess sometimes you just have to get away from the comfortable zone you’ve been living in since you were born so that you can really find out who you are and what you want for your life.