Can you believe it? I definitely cannot! Nine months ago I set off to Cardiff not knowing what to expect. All I knew is that I couldn’t wait to see new places, meet new people and follow dreams people had said I couldn’t.
I have learnt so many things about myself, about friendship and about the person I want to be, and the job I want to do. To say that life here is different is an understatement. To live independently is one challenge, but doing so in a place like Cardiff, in University Halls and in a course that is catered for only ten people, has made the experience more holistic somehow.
Although explaining what a genetic counsellor does was something I struggled to explain, I can now discuss it for hours, highlighting all the fields where a genetic counsellor is helpful, imperative even. I have never wanted to be a genetic counsellor more than I do now and for that I have a lot of people to thank.
It didn’t take long for people back home to notice I had changed, at least the people who mattered. Emanuel fell in love all over again with a more confident, nonchalant person who was somehow more sure of herself – knowing she had to prove herself to no one. Knowing she could simply be herself, and people could take it or leave it. So many people have taken to it.
Although I have another year to go, and people to share it with , there are people who come September will go back. Some have already started travelling back home. Being from Malta I had the opportunity to have my cake and eat it. I mean this in the sense that life was easier for me language wise, and tuition fee wise due to being part of the EU. However I got the international buzz too. This helped by being in a block of International students. This has definitely added spice to my experience here. The difference to an undergraduate is stark and obvious but fun drinks, food and laughter where always on the cards whenever we met.
I cannot write this post without thinking of Rodion Liashko, who has been my number one since I have arrived in Cardiff. Ambushing me in the Student Union on my first week there, we were immediately drawn into intellectual conversations and gossip snatching that has continued on a weekly (if not daily!) basis in Flat 28 over an assortment of teas, ice creams and chocolate.
On my noticeboard I have a lovely sign that says ‘Chance made us neighbours but your kind heart made us friends’. Amanda lives right next door and you know she is home if you smell baking. I will be seeing a lot of her next year as she is doing conservation for 2 years. Lucky me! Adorning the noticeboard as well as numerous postcards from block friends who have travelled and sent lovely messages of the places in Europe they visited. I have some beautiful Chinese images that Channy gave to me – an insight to her beautiful home. Being on the ground floor, all these friends often tap on my window on their way to lectures or events and it makes me feel so special and blessed to have come to know so many people!
Panos, Ian and Federico I group together as they do usually ‘travel’ together. This is because they live in a shared house but have come to feel like Allensbank House is their home, having been invited to potlucks, wine and cheese nights and Chinese New year parties among many other random occasions to drink and be merry.
The list will never end, but this is a simple thank you to all those international friends who will forever be remembered as adding spice to my first year!