Opinion: My chaotic first three days on study abroad in the United Kingdom – The Reveille, LSU's student newspaper

A car rushes down a cloud-framed street in Manchester, U.K.
A telephone booth sits in the street light on a rainy night in Manchester, U.K.

I’ve wanted to study abroad since I was 18 and attended LSU’s STRIPES orientation, where incoming freshman learn more about their new home and the opportunities available to them at the university.
Finally, in Spring 2022, enough things went right in my life that I could afford a plane ticket, the international programs abroad fee, rent for housing and living expenses for a semester in England. 
The biggest lesson I learned along the way was that people are people, words are words and life won’t always go the way you plan. My first few days in my host country illuminated some of those lessons quickly.
I chose the school Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England, and I registered for four journalism classes, which were transferred onto my LSU transcript as 12 hours of mass communication electives. 
A car rushes down a cloud-framed street in Manchester, U.K.
At 5 A.M. on Jan. 9, 2022, my dad drove me from my hometown of Patterson, Louisiana, to Houston, Texas.
It was a four-hour drive, and I had everything I needed for the next five months of my life packed in a bookbag and two suitcases. 
The flight was scheduled to leave on time from the Houston International Airport, which gave me plenty of cushion time.
I flew a direct flight on Singapore Airlines to Manchester, U.K. 
The plane left at 6:50 P.M., and I arrived at the Manchester airport at 9:30 A.M. the next morning.
My first housing option was a word-of-mouth deal with someone I had talked to through Facebook Messenger. 
When I arrived at the address he provided me, the office receptionist told me that I would have to pay more rent per week than I was told online. I freaked out but realized I was still registered for student housing.
It took me a long time to find the residential life office. My phone didn’t have an international plan set up yet, so I had borrowed the receptionist’s phone to look up the address. I took a picture of his phone with mine and used that as a map. I left one of my suitcases with the first office then tried to find the next one.
Once I found it, I explained my situation, signed a couple forms and was able to secure a student flat that was cheaper than the one from Facebook Messenger. 
The school receptionist walked me to my new flat. It was on the fourth floor, so bringing up my big suitcase was more gruesome than I planned for.
She asked if I needed help with anything else, but I was embarrassed to admit that I had a suitcase at another flat’s office. I said no, and I waited until she left my flat to go get my first suitcase—still using the screenshot map on my phone.
A telephone booth sits in the street light on a rainy night in Manchester, U.K.
 I took a different route coming home out of fear that she would see me walking with another suitcase and judge me. Once I got back with my second suitcase, I took out my travel blanket and slept for the whole day through the next night. 
I was awakened by an 18-year-old British teenager who came into my room. I didn’t realize that I didn’t lock the door, and my flatmates didn’t realize they had a new flatmate.
Long story short, I ended up meeting 11 British teenagers who I would live with for the next five months, two helpful receptionists and many strangers with British accents—all in my first three days of being in a new country for the first time.
Kathryn Craddock is a 22-year-old mass communication senior from Patterson.
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A clear sky. Low 71F. Winds light and variable.
A clear sky. Low 71F. Winds light and variable.
Sunshine. Hot. High 97F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.
Chance of Rain: 7%
Sunrise: 06:52:07 AM
Sunset: 07:03:38 PM
Humidity: 77%
Wind: NW @ 4 mph
UV Index: 0 Low
A clear sky. Low 71F. Winds light and variable.
Chance of Rain: 7%
Sunrise: 06:52:40 AM
Sunset: 07:02:23 PM
Humidity: 55%
Wind: NNE @ 7 mph
UV Index: 9 Very High
Clear skies. Low 73F. Winds light and variable.
Chance of Rain: 7%
Sunrise: 06:53:13 AM
Sunset: 07:01:09 PM
Humidity: 54%
Wind: NNE @ 6 mph
UV Index: 9 Very High
A mostly clear sky. Low 73F. Winds light and variable.
Chance of Rain: 4%
Sunrise: 06:53:47 AM
Sunset: 06:59:55 PM
Humidity: 55%
Wind: NE @ 8 mph
UV Index: 9 Very High
Clear skies. Low 72F. Winds light and variable.
Chance of Rain: 5%
Sunrise: 06:54:20 AM
Sunset: 06:58:41 PM
Humidity: 54%
Wind: NE @ 5 mph
UV Index: 9 Very High
Clear skies. Low 73F. Winds light and variable.
Chance of Rain: 20%
Sunrise: 06:54:54 AM
Sunset: 06:57:27 PM
Humidity: 59%
Wind: WNW @ 5 mph
UV Index: 8 Very High
Clear to partly cloudy. Low 71F. Winds light and variable.
Chance of Rain: 15%
Sunrise: 06:55:27 AM
Sunset: 06:56:13 PM
Humidity: 56%
Wind: N @ 8 mph
UV Index: 9 Very High
A few clouds. Low 66F. Winds light and variable.

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