In a foreign land: experiencing Brighton as an international student

The first time I came to Brighton was also the first time I came to visit the UK. It was a rainy day (what else could I have expected) in February of 2018. I took the train from Gatwick and walked to my hostel. Despite the dark rain clouds and the cold I immediately liked the city. There was a  feeling of coziness behind the warmly lit shop windows and carefully decorated restaurants. When I returned to Brighton 7 months later I vividly remember being almost overwhelmed by the array of cafe options and boutiques to dine and splurge in. 

In Brighton you can find crystal shops and gay clubs, pubs brewing their own beer, established galleries and a beach. And while maybe not being the most serene and untouched one you’ve come across it boasts surprisingly spectacular sunsets.

I chose Brighton not only for the opportunity to study the unique combination of Geography and Media but also for its location. In close proximity to the bustling capital with hundreds of galleries and events (I made it a habit to go to London at leats three times a month), Brighton is simply a great place to live and study. Especially, when your lifestyle is somewhat “alternative”. I rarely came across a place with as many vegan and vegetarian options. From mouth-watering pizza topped with home-made vegan cheese, over plant based donuts and croissants to heavenly Mexican food and sushi burritos. There is something for everyone. Brighton also has a ton of charity shops and vintage stores which makes shopping consciously so much easier. A month into the semester I bought myself a second hand bike and use it daily to get to Uni, the beach or around town. 

While we’re at it, living in Brighton means not having an excuse anymore to spend money on wrapped vegetables. You can shop plastic and guilt free at places like Hisbe, Infinity Foods or the Open Market. As you can tell I’m really into all things sustainable which brings me to the next topic. Finding other eco warrior freaks like you i.e. friends. Let me tell you, that will be the least of your concerns. Because MEC is a rather small course all of us are very likeminded. We share many of the same interests (that go beyond the environment…) so becoming friends was effortless.

As I mentioned briefly at the beginning, I wasn’t born nor bred within the realms of Her Majesty’s empire but in fact had only seen this island once before deciding to live here. Being a foreigner is another one of my aforementioned non-concerns (at least until October 31) and fitting in within Brighton’s eclectic mix of inhabitants was seamless. Not only will you see representatives of many different countries, cultures and beliefs wandering the Lanes, Brighton Uni is likewise a diverse and multicultural place. Many of our lecturers have an international background and I rarely get asked about my faint but still acknowledgeable accent.

Between the occasional 9 am lecture and midnight library session, studying Media and Environmental Communication has been a joyful experience so far. This course gives me the chance to combine my interests, it does not ask me to choose between science and art but rather rewards me for doing both. This may sound….nerdish but hearing your Geography lecturer speak about something you just discussed in your Media seminar is weirdly exciting because suddenly you realise, everything is connected. 



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