From Convent Garden Market to the river Thames, London’s a gentle echo of home for third-year sociology student, Aaron Seres. Not because he’s been here before, but because his journey started in another London — London, England.
While coming to a university itself can be a daunting notion, the culture shock that exchange students experience can add to the pressure. Aaron, who spent two years at Warwick University, chose Western for the same reason he chose Warwick — for the sense of community the campus offered.
“I didn’t like the idea of being in a big city,” he says. “My secondary school was quite small, so it was nice to go from something small to something slightly bigger.”
Aaron is quick to acknowledge that he wasn’t always as outgoing or open to new experiences.
“I used to be quite shy and I think university back home really changed me as a person — it really made me so much more outgoing and I think it’s the best opportunity for finding who you are,” Aaron confesses.
Now, in his attempt to understand the difference between crisps and chips, Aaron writes in his travel blog From Warwick to Western. He plans on documenting the life of a young North Londoner exploring the North American version — where aubergines are referred to as eggplant, loo’s are bathrooms, and O-Week is incomparable to the UK’s Fresher’s week.
“[O-week is] an experience like I’ve never had before — it’s so overwhelming and there’s so much going on the whole time and everyone is making you do these different things you never think you’d do before.”
For Aaron, his trip to Western is intertwined with his passion for new experiences and pushing his boundaries. This meant being a part of the first round of students to come to Western from Warwick since it’s a new exchange partnership between the universities.
For students who are thinking about exchange, Warwick says they should simply go for it.
“Whether you’re at Western going to somewhere in Europe or coming from England to Canada, go for it and throw yourself into everything that comes up whilst you’re here because that’s the only way you’ll fully enjoy it,” Aaron says.
But it hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing. Homesickness is a struggle that both Canadian and international students face, and for Aaron it’s been all too real.
“On the first day that I got here, I had just shut the door of my room, and I was the first one who had moved into my flat,” he says. “It was quiet, and no one was around, and I just thought ‘oh my goodness, what am I doing here?’ ”
Today, Aaron feels more settled in. It wasn’t long before Western’s pride soon made him feel at home.
“My favourite part — and it might sound cheesy — but I genuinely think it’s the pride and the atmosphere you get here,” Aaron says. “Everyone absolutely loves going here. Back home, everyone enjoys uni — but you don’t get that same pride.”
Although Aaron has only been here for just over two weeks, he plans on spending the next year getting pissed with the Western community and having a piff time — and hopes that everything else doesn’t get lost in translation.