The first entry into the lives of KSC students studying abroad Spring 2013

Junior Jake Miller, York, England 


As I packed my life into two duffle bags and a backpack two nights before my flight, I thought to myself, “I’m going to be living in England for four months.”

It just then hit me that I was about to embark on one of the most coveted journeys of my life, studying abroad in a foreign country.

I grabbed all of my bags, checked that I had my passport, twice, picked up my Canon dSLR, and was on my way.   As soon as I arrived at the airport, I met up with my fellow 93.1 WKNH general manager, Tim Gagnon.

We were waiting for our first flight to depart to Philadelphia International Airport shortly.

At the terminal we sat, glaring at the screen above that read “Boston to Philadelphia Delayed.”

“Great start to the trip,” I thought to myself.

jake miller / Contributed Photo Jake, center, is studying in York, England, for the spring semester.

jake miller / Contributed Photo
Jake, center, is studying in York, England, for the spring semester.

As soon as my pessimism was about to kick in, a nice man from the airline asked Tim and I if we were supposed to be on the postponed flight.  We answered yes, as the man then told us he could fit us on another flight leaving right away.

Tim and I jumped up, thanking the man, and rushed over to our new terminal.  Just before we boarded, I saw the sunset and told Tim to take a picture.

It was one of those purple, orange-skied sunsets.

I thought to myself just 15 minutes after I was full of negativity, “This is going to be a great trip.”

After a short flight to Philadelphia, Tim and I decided to grab some dinner at the airport and watch the Patriots lose their playoff game to the Baltimore Ravens.  A couple hours later, we found ourselves boarding our flight, onward to Manchester International Airport, U.K.

Eight or so hours after that, we were wheels down in the United Kingdom. A few hours bus ride later and we were here.  York St. John University.  The first three things that popped into my head were, “I’m exhausted, it’s snowing, and this place looks like Harry Potter.”

We then hurled our luggage out from underneath the bus and went to settle in our dorms.

My first impression of the room was, “This is twice the size of a Keene State [College] single.”  Although the room is set up differently than rooms in America, obviously, nothing about it bothered me.  I started to unpack when I heard voices in the next room over.

Usually this would be normal, yes, but we all arrived a week earlier than everyone else for orientation.  I decided to walk over and introduce myself.  I there met my neighbor, Ellie, and her four friends, Pat, Rob, Alex and Joe.

They are all from England and decided to move in early.

As I returned to my room, they came over and asked if I had wanted to go sledging.

My first though was, “Sledging? Could either be a violent act with a sledgehammer or could possibly be sledding!”  I chose to tag along anyways.

We went to a few stores looking for “sledges” until we came across a store called, Pound Land, an English dollar store.  We ended up buying turkey roaster trays for one pound, running up the far side of the hill adjacent to the school, and sliding down.

It was great fun until you hit the bottom. Later that night, my new friends and I went to the Student Union, or the SU, for my first legal drink in England.

Not knowing any of the brands they had on tap, I decided to wing it.  I asked for a pint of Strongbow, it sounded cool.

It ended up being hard cider, on tap!  Apparently cider is very popular over here.

A couple of us played some pool.  Well it was almost the same as American pool, although they call it Snooker.

The balls are only red and yellow with a black 8-ball and the pockets are smaller than the ones in the US.

After that I decided to go to sleep and recover from the last 24 hours.

Since then I have gone to various places in the city such as Keystone’s, a pub with a great fish and chips burger and they always have the soccer game on.  I mean, football.

I also stopped in at Café Rox, where I had the most delicious maple syrup covered Belgian waffle dessert.

When I wanted to pick up some groceries for the room, I went to a local supermarket called Sainsbury’s.

I’ve done a lot of exploring in the first two weeks, such as visiting the gargantuan York Minster, but my favorite place so far was called York Chocolate Story.  A few of us took a tour there as they took us through how York makes the Kit-Kat bar!  They produce anywhere between 3-5 million Kit-Kats per day.

We were given samples of all sorts of chocolate and at the end I decided to indulge in a slice of double chocolate frosted cake with Kit-Kat crust.

I am about to take a trip to Liverpool to explore with the rest of the students here that are studying abroad, but I am thoroughly enjoying seeing all of this new architecture and making new friends.

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