“Things don’t change. We change.”
By Sabrina Amran, Third Year Biomedical Sciences student
The UK was a lot different in my childhood memories compared to how I see it as of now.
Sure, ‘Wilkinsons’ became ‘Wilko’, and everything was a couple pounds cheaper 7 years ago. The weather now seemed sunnier and hotter as well…but I’m not sure how long this will last.
I was born in Blackburn, raised in Manchester, then moved to Malaysia (my home country 🇲🇾 ! ) during my teens.
Sunrise on a beach in Terengganu, east of Malaysia 😍
Finally at the age of 20, I had the opportunity to come back to the UK for my final year of Biomedical Sciences! Flying over and prepping for the year was quite stressful, but worth the effort.
First Impressions 🤔
When I first arrived in Newcastle, everything in my memory was there. The cold wind, the constant bustle of shoppers in town, the green and red man on the traffic lights, the strong British accents. I had been nervous about coming back, worrying about hating the weather or the lifestyle here.
Green and red man on at the same time?! Source: Reddit
Those worries have proven false, instead I feel comfort in coming back. The food, although bland, is fresh and very satisfying. The colder weather is a relief after roasting in humidity for the past couple years. The people and environment are wholesome and welcoming. My accommodation in the middle of town is conveniently placed next to the mall and the markets!
Me and the girls stocking up for groceries 😆 Source: GIPHY
And most importantly, a new adventure was about to start!
Enjoying the bright sun before winter hits 😎
Coming from a tiny, but brilliant university (think of cutting a section off the Dental School like a cake and serving it on Malaysia), I was so excited to see and do more things. Joining clubs, attending lectures, experiencing the city, it truly has been overwhelming for me and my cohort. There are some culture shocks, such as having shops close really early (we were used to shops closing at 10pm…) and the toilets not having bidet showers next to them!
Newcastle’s Castle Isn’t so New…
There are positive ‘shocks’ too. I love and appreciate how beautiful and well preserved the university buildings and the city structures are. The feeling of being in Newcastle Castle constructed with stone concrete in 1177, walking along Tyne Bridge held sturdy for over 90 years, and soaking up the atmosphere in uni halls, seeing paintings displaying ancient teachers – people – from hundreds of years ago is awe-inspiring. We seldom get that in Malaysia, where every building is made brand new with rapid construction.
Picture of a picture of the opening of Tyne Bridge in 1925, and a normal picture of the Tyne Bridge in 2019. ) (Top) Taken in Discovery Museum (Bottom) Taken on top of Newcastle Castle
I visited the Castle where I could contemplate being in a parallel universe where I was Henry II…
Seated in the Great Hall of Newcastle Castle
The University life
Lectures are presented by active researchers and has ignited a new spark in my ever-glowing interest in biomed. After learning of the foundations that make textbook knowledge, it’s incredibly exciting to hear how those facts came to be proven! Support from staff, especially the Careers Services, is ample. From recruitment fairs to CV checking, the opportunities are endless!
There are also soooo many more people on our course now! We went from 35 people doing Biomed to over 400 people; more than 10 times our group! We’ve all been split up from being a teeny, close bunch to being put separately with huge groups of students we’ve never met before.
The students here are lovely and very friendly. I have had a great time interacting and getting to know new people in my year, albeit it’s a bit nerve wracking to initiate some conversations!
Grateful for the present, hopeful for the future.
My cohort posing in the last NUMed ball
Finishing our degree here is both an immense yet rewarding feat to take on. We are incredibly grateful to be given this experience, from the dedicated support of lecturers and staff, to the amazing bunch of students that make uni a place worth getting out of bed for.
Here’s to the last, and probably the best year of our course!
Thank you for reading!