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Meg during her internship in Leicester

Meg from Melbourne, Australia, studied Fashion Design and did a Masters in the UK. After living abroad in Amsterdam, she moved to Leicester, smack in the middle of England!

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Meg in Leicester: “I was never made to feel awkward or unwanted.”

I've been to London many times - so let’s start with stepping of the train in Leicester. It felt remote... I felt like there was most likely nothing going on there and that every weekend I'd be escaping to London. Though I did love feeling like I was in a University town with Halls and big campuses -just like in the movies-  as we don't do uni in the same way in Australia.

Really inactive lifestyle

The whole living indoors thing was very different. The weather was rubbish and as a result I felt like the whole lifestyle was really inactive. That was at first - I found ways around it and new things to do as a result. Food will always be different too. The British know how to make ALL foods more convenient (so many boxed sandwiches..) - but will never make coffee as nice as my pretentious Melbournian palate requires. The differences in ways of life within all the little communities was immense for the small area that Leicester took up -  it was so diverse and it made me appreciate it so much more than I expected. 

Stop living on Skype

I cried for the first 3 weeks with no shame! It's always a shock to your system. I think I got to a point where I thought 'right - I've got to stop living on Skype and live here properly'. So I got a bar job -  and it was a welcome distraction despite the huge workload of the MA program.. I'm a bit older than the rest of the uni crowd and it wasn't super keen on bar crawls every week so I found myself looking forward to this instead at times.. it allowed me to break down mental barriers and meet locals whilst I was there too - weirdly one of the best decisions I made. 

Say yes to everything

I felt at home in Leicester. I was interested in it.. and it seemed interested in me because of that. Once you get into going to events for the hell of it - saying yes to everything you can - you relax into it pretty quickly. It's scary at first and there were a few regretful interactions but nothing I can't honestly laugh about now. 

Internationals

Befriend Germans for a great bit of banter. I always find them to be hilariously harsh in delivery but they're able to really understand how to 'take the piss' to the next level and are a good shout. The Scandinavian crew always threw the best parties though I never saw them in the daytime.. and I have to say I met the most beautiful Egyptian lady who is one of my best friends now.. But honestly.. nationalities stand out more when you have a crew from the same country so I guess the English are alright too. The ability of these girls to rick a bandage dress and platforms in the ice and snow is next level...

Food

I couldn’t handle processed meat products (Pork Pies, Blood Sausage) and Full English Breakfasts.

The kind of coming together

There is such a pride in a small city like Leicester. Amongst other things - I was lucky to experience the massive celebration of their football team's victory (a massive underdog story!) - the whole town was partying for weeks - and at this stage I was still working in a bar celebrating alongside them. The kind of coming together that you would never find in London or Melbourne. Living costs were so much lower than the big cities, and the nightlife was small in terms of places to go but could still get crazy. 

I never expected to make lifelong friends in the way that I did. People were so welcoming.. I realise that I was never once made to feel awkward or unwanted.. or as the 'random foreign chick'. I put it down to being genuinely interested in getting to know where I was and what it was all about than comparing it to my home country, which is an easy trap to fall into.

I met my partner here after some time - and I was lucky as he was really involved in the local music and art scene, which took my experience of the city to the next level. Of course then .. his home felt like my own in the end. I live in Amsterdam with him now but I cannot wait to go home to Leicester for Christmas (Awwwwwwwww!)

Brits in three words:

Puns. Banter. 'British Politeness'