Hello, my name is Aglaia Stavridou, I am from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and I stayed for five months in Norwich as an Erasmus student. I am studying English Language and Literature, so I had the chance to attend three modules from the Literature, Drama and Creative Writing department at UEA. My modules concerned Shakespeare and Gender Studies, which I found very inspiring and enriching. From the very beginning I felt so happy that I had the chance to have a fresh start, not only in a country that I always wanted to visit, but also in such an important and inspiring university. UEA amazed me from the first time I visited the friendly and welcoming campus.
First of all, UEA was even better than what I had imagined. The staff were extremely helpful and made me feel welcome and comfortable from the first time I met them. The professors were very skillful and experienced and treated us all equally, providing help whenever I needed it, as well as feedback in order to understand my weaknesses as well as my strong points. At the beginning I was very nervous and I felt intimidated to be in a classroom with native speakers of English, but my teachers made me feel comfortable participating and ensured that I always understood what I had to do. As the lessons went by, I felt very lucky to be able to attend fascinating and engaging modules in a very different way than what I was used to. Even though the modules were challenging and sometimes demanding, they were very illuminating and rewarding. I feel that I gained valuable knowledge that helped me mature academically and even boosted my confidence as in the end, after hard work, I was very pleased to succeed in such stimulating classes. Apart from the modules, UEA had state-of-the-art facilities: from the warm and the cozy atmosphere of the library, that allowed me to work comfortably having everything that I needed around me, to the student friendly places, like the UNIO or the Red Bar, that were perfect to grab a coffee or relax after the classes. Of course, I cannot forget The Square where it was lovely to sit back and unwind when the weather was nice and sunny, or the very enjoyable strolls around the lake.
The beautiful and charming city of Norwich added up to the wonderful and unforgettable experience. Norwich was so typically “English” and it did not fail to live up to my expectations as it offered a variety of cozy and intimate coffee shops and pubs. I will never forget walking among the picturesque lanes, shopping in the busy city centre and chilling in the parks when the weather was nice. Even though Norwich is small, it is so lovely and it made it easy to feel like home from day one.
Living abroad even for a small period of time was the hardest and the most challenging- but at the same time- the most wonderful and fulfilling experience I have ever had. I always dreamed about living abroad, especially in England and I was so grateful for my opportunity to live in Norwich and study at UEA as it was beyond what I had dreamed of. This experience changed me and helped me a great deal to realize who I am as a person and to become more independent, mature and self-confident. Even now I think about my experience every day and I wish I could have the chance to relive all of it again. I feel incredibly lucky that I had the opportunity to have this life even for a brief period of time and I will never forget living in Norwich, which is indeed a fine city, or studying at UEA, that is truly amazing!