…by Paula / from Argentina / studied MA Economic and Social History / Graduate
When I decided to move to Edinburgh four years ago, leaving my family and friends behind to travel thousands of kilometres to study Economic and Social History at University, no one ever told me how hard it would be. No one mentioned how difficult it would be to spend birthdays without my loved ones, to have to adapt to new routines, new foods, new music, new ways of teaching, of learning, of living.
No one ever said that at times, I would feel so lonely that I would cry myself to sleep, or that I would have dinners alone just staring at the wall. No one told me that I would have to wake up at 6 in the morning and spend more than twelve hours in the library to make it through exams. Or that I would have to learn how to cook, clean and wash from one day to the next one.
No one said that I would have to go flat hunting and sign a lease on my own, or that it would get dark and cold at four in the afternoon. No one told me that I would miss my sister’s high school graduation or my dad’s fiftieth birthday, and no one mentioned how few people from my own country I would meet here. Before I made the decision of drastically changing countries, I had not thought about any of these things, and no one told me how fast I would have to grow up and become more independent.
But no one ever told me about the good things either. No one said how I would meet my best friends during my first night out in the city. Friends that I know I’ll have for life. No one told me that I would get to travel the world and explore new cultures and get to know people from different countries. No one told me that late-night study sessions were actually not that bad if you were surrounded by people you liked, or that if the sun was shining, it meant eating lunch outside surrounded by hundreds of other students. No one told me that I would get to have sleepovers at friends’ houses as if we were kids again, or that I would have people supporting me all the way through university.
No one said that I would get so many of my friends and family to visit Edinburgh all the way from Argentina. No one told me how great Edinburgh was, how many cafes and restaurants I would try, and how many hours I would spend wandering around its interesting alleys. No one told me that being independent and getting a job to pay for my nights out would make me feel so responsible.
No one mentioned the satisfaction I would feel after (successfully) cooking my first risotto, or setting up an account for energy to pay for my bills. No one told me that missing my family would make the time being at home so special and unique. And no one told me how proud I would feel when I held my degree certificate at graduation last July.
All the sacrifices my family and I made will always feel like the best decision of my life, because I got to experience thousands of moments as a student at the University of Edinburgh, and this is something that I would not change. Looking back on the four last years of my life, happiness is the first emotion that I can think of, and I hope that everyone’s university experience is as good as mine was.