Exams and year abroad plans

Why hello there….

You guys… I’m sorry I’ve not posted in forever, life has been so hectic and over Easter I just needed the break to clear my head and get ready for my final exams (eek!).

Yup, I have 5 exams… most people only have 2 or 3. But no, language students get more. I’ve now taken 4 of those 5 exams, the last one is on the 25th, so think of me if you can between about 9.30am-11.30am!!

Aside from the fact that I’m busy cramming and revising my socks off, I’m also madly applying to work as an au pair in Spain this summer before Russia in September. I think I possibly mentioned plans to go to Mexico in a previous post, if not, then briefly; I was considering going to Mexico this summer but the plans never got off the ground, mainly due to the cost of flights etc. and how it was kinda unwise to spend so much money on that when I needed to pay for my visa and insurance etc for Russia.

Basically, I have Russia on the brain right now so be warned, I will be talking about it A LOT as of now. Hopefully you’re all interested anyway!

OK so I’ve bought my insurance, paid my deposit and admin fees…. so I am officially GOING. Which is kind of scary when you think about how a year ago it felt so far away and downright impossible.

I’m working my socks off in the Ram trying to pay for various flights and such, so that means balancing work with revision. So yeah, that’s why I’ve not been writing in a long time. I’ve been so busy! Yesterday the fire alarm went off while I was in the Ram kitchen and we all had to evacuate… something about oil leaking into the cellar and setting the alarm off. I don’t know exactly. But it was pretty exciting!

I’ve had some pretty good times meeting up with friends – went round to one friend’s house for tea and a movie the other night which was lush… she always cooks amazing food and it’s so much fun to hang out and chill. We watched The Pacifier with Vin Diesel – funny film which I used to watch a lot as a kid….

So yeah sorry this is a brief update I’m sending out there into the world… not sure if any of you remember me I haven’t posted in SO LONG. I’ll try and post more often and the plan is to post a lot while I’m on my year abroad to help future language students out.

So ’til my next post – have a great rest-of-the-week!!

 

End of term mess and Year Abroad preparation! Busy life…

March. Already?! It’ll be Easter soon and I’ll be home again revising for my exams. And preparing even more fervently for my year abroad… Life never stops when you’re a student! It’s kind of good though in a way because it never gets boring… every week is different and every day is different. Gotta think of those positives 🙂

I think I might have mentioned that my grandparents came down this week gone and they totally spoiled me rotten! We went to Ask Italian and Zizzi’s for a meal and they even bought me my weekly shop – it was so kind and I feel so happy to have seen most of my family in the space of one week.

 

 

There’s nothing like family to get you back on track and re-align your perspective when everything gets a bit stressful! A couple of weeks ago I was flooded by formatives (and not much has changed to be honest) but I was getting really down, so I decided that I needed to get away from it all. Other people I know go back home more regularly (unless they are international students) but this is the first time I’ve managed to go home for a weekend when it’s not someone’s birthday or something. It felt good. I slept in my own room – ate meals with my family instead of scoffing something quickly before a lecture… watched films, laughed and talked. These things mean a lot to me, and once I got back Sunday evening I can’t tell you how much calmer I felt.

But now I need to get my head down and work hard again – I know I go on about this a fair amount but hard work pays off (usually! – I got a good mark in both of the formatives I handed in before I went home). And this term all of my module assessments are before the holidays – which is a good thing in a way because although these next few weeks will be tense, at least I’ll have more time over my holiday to revise for my most important exams and do some work and complete my TEFL course. It just means that I now have to somehow fit all of the reading and preparation I would have had more time for during the holidays (like I did at Christmas) into my term time – so around all of my lectures and other homeworks etc. And formatives. It’s a joke – I handed one in yesterday late at night and that same day I’d been given 3 more for next week! It’s exhausting!

I managed to get onto a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) course using a coupon code so I got it cheaply and it’s just another qualification you can put on your CV so you can teach English when you go abroad. I’m hoping I have time for it now – I know it’s the holidays and I’ll ‘have more time’ but I’m one of those people that fills her holidays up so much they can sometimes not be a holiday anymore. The course is 150 hours, and I have to fit working (Deliveroo and potentially childminding), studying, and relaxing and having a real break around this. Wish me luck….

It’s going to be useful having TEFL because although I can’t really work in Russia (and get paid) on a student visa, you can kind of get away with quietly teaching English on the side, and having a qualification will help recommend you. It also gives you ideas – so if you are a language student like me and are thinking about working a bit whilst going abroad, then maybe consider doing this.

Russia. Russia, Russia, Russia. I’ve heard so many scary stories about visas, accommodation, lecturers at the uni… I’m going to try and just get it all done but it seems so huge. All the things you have to get and stuff – and all the money I’m going to need to save. It’s in these moments where I ask myself why? Why am I doing this? Why didn’t I just pick Italian, or French, or German. Something easier. Something safer.

Because… that would have been so boring! While it’s a big deal and can be stressful, I am happy with my choice. It might not make sense to all of you, but I’m doing something really different and that sets me apart a bit. And given the current tensions around the world, some initiated by Russia and some encouraged by it, I think it’s actually going to be quite useful to be able to speak Russian right now. Am I right?

We have one more preparation session this coming Wednesday to talk about things, and then it’s up to us. Well, mostly, because you can’t really apply for a visa or anything until you have an invitation from the uni you’ve applied to, and while this is pretty much guaranteed (surprisingly there isn’t a lot of competition to go to Russian unis), you could receive this up to 10 days before you need to get on your plane and fly out there – so we’ve been told we can’t leave the country in August. Maybe I’ll do a post that goes into it in more detail, and I’ll probably blog it as it happens this summer for anyone else thinking about going to Russia who wants to know more about the process.

So yeah – it’s really happening now. Scary right? I’ve been writing about it for 2 years and now it’s actually happening. We’re being prepped on the culture and everything, but I don’t think any of it will really prepare us for what it’s truly going to be like. The culture shock and everything. I shouldn’t really be that worried; after all, I moved to Spain and lived there for a couple of years when I was eight, and back then I didn’t know any Spanish or Catalan at all before going, so at least for Russia I’ll know a little bit of Russian beforehand. But this time I’m moving out there alone. And, to be quite honest… My vocab and grammar still need some work.

It’s interesting because the other day we were learning about Russian traditions re flowers – if you give someone flowers, they mustn’t be yellow, because the colour means ‘treason’ or ‘treachery’. Red flowers mean bravery and victory and are used on Victory Day and given to men on their birthdays. White flowers mean purity. And if you give flowers, you can’t give an even number, because an even number is for funerals, so it has to be an odd number more than 3 – so 3, 5, 7 etc.

Maybe I’ll do a post on that too. I think for now I’ll just post whenever I can snatch some time, because I’m not kidding when I say it’s really busy at my end!

I’d be interested to know if you or your family have any traditions… comment down below!

 

 

The Year Abroad madness begins!

Hello again – golly I need to be more regular with my posts huh?

Here are some pictures taken outside my accommodation one morning this week when it was really misty… we live right by the railway line which I think is so cool because you can watch trains go by!

I think the mist makes it look really atmospheric

I messed around with a grunge filter on this pic to make it look creepier!


Sorry I’m always aware that I go off on a tangent before I actually talk about anything to do with uni or whatever. Oops! So as the title suggests I’m planning my year abroad. I have to have chosen and planned it all by December the 9th and I can’t change it after that – the part involving me going to Russia anyway. So the pressure is on (on top of everything else!)

Right now I’m curled up on my bed having a rest because my group has finally finished its website ready for the presentations we have to do today and tomorrow! I was heavily involved in the editing so I feel like I need the break. I’m also packing before heading home tomorrow for reading week and my dad’s birthday bash on Saturday.

But yeah – where do I even start with the Year Abroad thing? I know I want to go to Russia and study – I will take all the help I can get with the grammar!!! It tends to work out that you have to study anyway because it’s tricky to get work and then get Russian companies etc to sign the paper work saying they’ll take full responsibility for you so internships are usually off the charts. And actually I kind of want to study cos I want to meet people my own age and make friends that way!

I will need a visa and I also have to be tested for HIV apparently… there might be other vaccinations I need too so I’m not looking forward to those!

And although I really want to visit St. Petersburg and Moscow they are more expensive to live in so I might go elsewhere….

You see what I mean… so much to decide – and I need to look at flight costs, insurance and scholarships and things to help get a rough idea of how much I need to save! It’s a lot of work but I hope it’ll be worth it.

Being vegan in Russia will be interesting – I think they aren’t as aware of this kind of thing and meat dairy and eggs and fish are a big part of their diet – especially in the winter when the temperature is -20 degrees Celsius! But from reading other blogs and things I think I can manage it – you can usually get potatoes and beans and nuts and veggies everywhere! And in big cities there will be supermarkets selling stuff too so fingers crossed! I will probably blog while I’m away as it’s recommended to try and keep touch with your writing and things so watch this space if you’ve ever wondered what it must be like to live in Russia – especially right now with the tensions and things.

Life is generally going well at the moment despite lots of work (I know I’m always going on about it but seriously the struggle is real!) and a couple of formative assessments due the week I get back from reading week (so the week after next). Formatices dont count (might have mentioned this before) but they are good indicators of where you’re at and what areas you should work on before the summative exams which do count. So I try and do my best in them, and this year I’ve managed to read a lot more so I feel like I can do this – so pumped! Just as long as my family don’t all try and drag me out to various events then I’ll have time to do this stuff!!

Yesterday I made potstickers and here is a picture to prove it!

They didn’t turn out as good as I’d hoped but I thought it was worth a try making them 🙂 that red stuff is tomato purée which I use like ketchup because I find ketchup is too sweet (and more expensive). I’m one of those people that likes more bitter/blander tastes (except when it comes to ripe bananas made into ice cream or medjoul dates!!) but I will pick a green granny smith apple any day or have black coffee or 90% cocoa chocolate any day hands down. In my opinion tomato purée is just as delicious and my fave go to meal is beans, rice and tomato purée mixed together when I’m in a hurry or need to pack my lunch!

I made an aubergine curry recipe that I’ll have to share with you at some point soon as well 🙂 Actually that’s what I’m all full up on right now, along with the leftover filling for my pot stickers – it was made from cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, garlic, onion and tahini and ginger. It’s a good combo and it meant I had a kind of salad already prepped so I just had that with my main meal – rice and the curry sauce!!

But anyway, I guess I need to start saving because visas are about £100 and I have no idea how much flights to Russia will cost!! I also need to plan if I want to go to Spain/South America during the summer before or after Russia (I think I’ll need it after surviving the winter months in Россия!!

So yeah lots of planning and dreaming. ‘Til next time 😉 пока пока!