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You step on the plane, find your seat, and finally take a deep breath. As the wheels of the plane lift off the ground, you feel your stomach rising to your throat as you whisper “goodbye” the place you’ve called home. You’re on your way to university and you’re not sure how you should feel. A mix of emotion rushes within you but you smile. You’re on your way to university.

In August 2016, I moved to the UK after living in China for 3 years, and in Sri Lanka for 15 years before that. I left my parents behind and with 1 suitcase full of clothes, shoes and my journal, I started the journey of my four-year degree in Events Management. I was nervous since I’d never been to England but once I stepped off the plane and squinted through the foggy sky, I realised how lucky I was to be here.

The thing is, I’ve realised that moving isn’t the difficult part. It’s when the rest of your life feels hazy, yet you think you know how things will turn out but you’re still hesitant to get started on that new life you’re about to live. But I’ve personally found that tightening up your laces and pushing yourself to take the first step, no matter how nervous you may be, ends up being completely worth it.

Like many other international students, my entire family is dotted around the globe. My uncle and grandmother in Sri Lanka, my parents in China, my sister in Cambodia, my other family as far as Pakistan and Canada. It gets harder the longer I spend away from them and even more so when I see most of my friends hop into their cars or a train and spend their weekends with their families. During my second year, once they were off on family time, I spent my time in the library to get prepared for any upcoming coursework. As you can imagine, the novelty of this wore off quite quickly. This is when ResLife came in.

At Bournemouth University, I had the incredible opportunity to expand my knowledge of managing events when I became a Senior Resident Assistant for ResLife; a programme built to help improve the overall student experience. I was housed with people I’d now call my closest friends and that single step turned into a confident walk. I participated in surf lessons, open mic nights, the Christmas “Ice Ball”, film nights, bike rides, and so many more. Suddenly the weight on my shoulders started to lift and my life at university drastically improved.

As I go into my final year of university, I’m not homesick because during my time here, I’ve made the most of this opportunity and it’s truly become my home away from home.

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