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Sometimes I wonder if it is possible to call two places your home at the same time.
I still vaguely remember my first time visiting London years ago. I was eighteen and just graduated from high school. Finally given the freedom and independence that I longed for, I spent a month roaming the cobble streets in Covent Garden, watching spectacular musicals in the West Ends, and learning history in the British Museum. I was not only awed by the Gothic and Victorian architecture around the city, but I was amazed by the diversity of cultures that the city had to offer. Never would my 18-year-old expect to call this enchanting city my home one day.
Moving to a new city is indeed exciting and intimidating, not to mention the constantly changing pandemic restrictions across countries. Before coming to the UK, there were a lot to plan - visa application, hotel and flight reservation, long term accommodation and so on. I was constantly worried about my new life in London. Will I be able to find a place to stay? Will it be able to make friends? Will I spend the next two months completely on my own?
As I walked along the River Thames last week, I realised that my worries were gone. Only the excitement remains. Once I got to the UK, I immediately reconnected with friends who I have lost in touch for years. They shared the tips and tricks with me for living in London and even showed me around the neighbourhood. At the same time, with a great diversity of people, I have met new friends not only from the UK but also around the world. They are so friendly and helpful that they helped me with every single question I had such as the documents needed for opening a bank account as a foreigner. Their friendliness has unquestionably made it much easier for me to adapt to my new life in London
Recounting my experience this past week, I am truly thankful not only to my friends and family, but to myself for having the courage to move miles away from Hong Kong by myself, and to London for being my home away home.
By Kathleen Law
Student Services Officer at EP London Canary Wharf