So, Spring term began a couple of weeks ago. Looking back, time seems to pass by so quickly. It’s my first time living abroad. I remember just after a month of living in York, the whole experience started to feel like less of an extended holiday and more of “Oh hey, I’m really living here now”. And culture shock, in particular, is definitely one of the things that affected me the most since moving here. There are a few different stages to Culture Shock:
I still recall the thrill of wandering around York aimlessly, simply admiring the historical architecture and enjoying the city’s bustling atmosphere. It’s certainly an escape from Hong Kong’s hectic lifestyle, where everyone is always busy working and constantly rushing somewhere. A lot of the people I met were also very friendly, which eased much of my anxiety.
Losing my independence
One of the most frustrating things about moving abroad that I hadn’t considered was losing my independence. Because I knew nothing about living in the UK, in the beginning, even tiny mundane things like where to buy groceries or how to take the train, I had to rely on someone to guide me. And although everyone was extremely helpful, being a fiercely independent person myself who doesn’t like asking anyone for help, it was really not that fun. Furthermore, given how the lifestyle here is so much slower than in Hong Kong, I often found myself stressed out simply because I had nothing productive to do.
But gradually, my anxiety died off and I began adjusting to my new surroundings. To be honest, I still think I haven’t completely moved out of this phase. There are days when I’m quite carefree, maybe because there’s a film screening from a module that I look forward to, but there are also days when I feel lonely, despite the fact that I’m used to being alone. Whilst having the super-duper wonder technology that is video chat makes it easier for me to chat with my friends and family back home, you can’t escape the times when you’re just left alone with your thoughts for hours.
But I never regretted moving here. I’m still glad that I dived into the deep end and decided to move to the UK. At the end of the day, I feel like I’ve already accomplished something monumental by challenging and pushing myself to start a new life here on the other side of the world.