"My Dad is literally my best friend so coming here and having to say that goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do."
My Dad is someone who has worked really hard all his life, through a lot of ups and downs. His Dad passed away when he was little so he never had that father figure growing up and my Dad never wanted to be a failure for us because he never had a Dad and knew what a Dad was supposed to do so he figured it out for himself and my Dad is literally my best friend so coming here and having to say that goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. He always wanted me to do what was best for me no matter what that was and explaining to him that this is what I wanted to do he was over the moon. He was very excited to come here and drop me off and experience everything for himself and he just adored it and he loved being here and know that I’m safe and somewhere I am happy.
I was the first kid in my high school who went straight abroad and did something different and that was a big accomplishment for me and it was nice to have my parents on board with it because if they weren’t, it would have made things a lot harder.
I chose Essex because I didn’t want to go somewhere in the states. In the states they’re really big on, you’re just another application, you’re another demographic and we are only accepting you to meet that demographic market that we need and so after looking over here and getting in contact with Tim, who is the North American rep for International students, he was very one on one with me and really made me feel like I was special and I wasn’t just another application. He was in Chicago so it was nice to be able to drive down to the city with my parents and be able to see who I was talking with and see who is going to help me get in to University, answer my questions and be on Skype calls with me.
I chose Childhood Studies because I’ve worked with kids for years and it’s just something I’m very fond of. I was a swim instructor for about two years for kids who were seven months to 13 years old. I focused in on the kids who were seven months to about two years and working with the parents and the children which was my favourite part. My best friend’s little brother is autistic so working with autistic children is kind of the main focus of where I want to go with my degree but any aspect of working with children is kind of where I want to go. Whether that goes on to Childhood nursing or a therapeutic degree.
In the states everyone is very much on a time schedule and needs to be somewhere. And coming from the city of Chicago, you need to be on time to everything and so, here people take the time to talk to you and have a conversation with people they don’t know, very friendly people. I think for me it’s different, when I’m out talking to people they say, ‘oh wait, you’re not from here’ so it’s nice to be able to start a conversation about where I’m from, where have I been, why am I here. There are very friendly people and personalities, especially when it comes to my flat mates and people on my course. They are very accepting and welcoming and I really appreciate that.
It’s always a cliché, you only live once but honestly, do things that make you happy because life is so short that if you don’t do it now, you’re never gonna do it. If I never did this now, I would never have done it. I would never have had the guts to do it and so to be able to push myself and say even though there were days when it was really hard and it was like, ‘what am I doing, why am I doing this? This so difficult, I’m overwhelmed with what I have to do with VISAs and stuff’. I kept telling myself that this is what I want and I’m going to do anything I can and willing to do to be here so really you only have so many opportunities in life to do things and this was such an amazing opportunity and experience that I’m going to be able to do for the next 3 – 4 years and life’s all about making moments, memories and experiences. So, do it while you can and don’t let anything hold you back.
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