By Aye-Oritse Ikomi (The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA).
Despite my despair over the broken entertainment system on my flight to Chicago, the journey was a smooth and easy process; however, 9 hours without films was nothing compared to American border control which took a painstaking 2.5 hours! Luckily, I had booked my coach to UIUC for 3 hours after my arrival time so I didn’t miss my bus! Another 2 hours later, I arrived in Champaign to beautiful weather, an incredible campus and a friendly dorm RA to pick me up from the bus!
The next 15 hours weren’t the most pleasant, as I was the only person who had as yet moved into my dorms. It was a little lonely and a bit daunting due to the scale of the campus, however, by 4 o’clock the next day, the dorm was filled. The Americans were cooing over my accent and I’d almost recovered from the jetlag!
Welcome Weekend was filled with orientations, check-ins, meetings and activities organised by the University, which culminated in Quad Day which put our Freshers Fair to shame. I’ve never received so much free stuff in my life as I have this weekend – so far I’m on my 6th free t-shirt! I signed up for tennis, volleyball, softball, Spanish speaking and the International Society! So I have a busy time ahead! “Sights and Sounds” was my favourite event of the weekend where new students went to the football stadium and got our own showing of the show that accompanies the sports here, including the entire marching band, the cheerleaders, dancers, baton-twirlers and flag girls! It was incredible, I felt like I’d wandered onto a film set!
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my first blog post. Finally, here’s a bit of advice for anyone considering coming to Illinois: Despite the fact that everyone tells you how cold it gets here, BRING SHORTS! Since I’ve arrived it’s stayed at a constant 35 degrees and humid, but luckily the sports centre’s huge amazing outdoor swimming pool is the hangout spot for students and right across the road from the dorms!