Today is a very special day for me, it has been exactly one year since my first entry to the UK! After university application, high school graduation and visa process, I finally moved to London on 16th August 2012. On time for the rest of the British Summer and one month ahead of university kick off.
One year later, I can say that living in London has been an amazing experience that I enjoy every day. This city is awesome and the impact that it has on my life is huge. I love London and on this article, I’ll say what I’ve done in 12 months.
- August 2012: Start of a new life
16th August 2012, I enter the UK for the first time with my mother after more than 5 years not visiting and for the first time as a resident! The process at the airport was quite simple, few questions, health check all with the magic ‘CAS’ acceptance letter from university. This first month was about getting familiar with the british life, the city itself and the accent. I stayed for over 2 weeks in Finchley at my uncle’s flat the time to find a suitable room near my university. Finchley is a nice area with a high concentration of jewish families. The streets are clean and calm but it is far from the centre of London and from my university so I couldn’t stay there longer… In august also, I attended Notting Hill Carnival and The Paralympics. I’ve also started volunteering at an art exhibition for Focallocal, a community I’m still connected to.
- September 2012: Settling down in London
This month was more about university! I was excited to start my first year and I was still discovering more and more. On the first week of september, I moved to a new place in Ealing Common. My university starts at the end of the month but for a week it was ‘Freshers event’! I attended some events such as Barn Dance, visits of Windsor and Eton, Day trip to Brighton and some parties where I made some good friends who I kept meeting all over the year. Concerning my studies, I was confronted to essay writing which was hard at the very beginning. By the end of september, I think I fully settled down with a new flat, new friends,…etc.
- October 2012: British Autumn
I actually forgot about this month… but I remember well, that I’ve visited Oxford and Cambridge. Two nice cities to get the most of the British Life. Temperatures started to cool down and a feeling of autumn was definitely present. I’ve also visited Bath and Stonehenge as part of a student’s tour trips… which at the end I found a little bit expensive than organising it myself! I started looking for jobs and I’ve done mystery shopping, student sales agent and kept volunteering every now and then.
- November 2012: Some glitter and sparkle…
This month was about getting into the movies industry by being an actor and extra for any type of footages. I started with an appearance in a music video where I played an Arab guy… easy as that’s who I really am. Another time, I played in Green Street 3 as a hooligan in a fight scene and one of my highlight was playing a teenager in a house party caught by police. All great experiences in front of a camera which I didn’t continue as it takes a lot of time. The same month, I was lucky enough to win invitations to Rihanna’s private 777 Tour concert in London. It is one of my highlights of my stay in London and also a great coincidence as it’s the second time I win concert tickets for Rihanna’s concerts. On 18th November, I started Free Hugs with couchsurfers in Trafalgar Square, since then… it’s still happening!
- December 2012: Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…
December is well know as the Christmas month. London streets were shining by all decorations and several ice skating rings in every main spot! This month was also about the biggest Free Hugs I’ve ever organised. The event made a huge buzz with an article on the newspaper and a great video. For christmas break, I left for 2 weeks in Morocco and returned right on time for fireworks of New Year’s Eve!
- January 2013: New Year, New Resolutions!
For the new year I’ve decided to make this as my new resolution: keep organising Free Hugs in London and travel more! This was partly accomplished as I’ve been travelling much more in 2013 but during my trips I couldn’t organise Free Hugs… A bit contradictory but I managed to do it in other places! This month was also about exams at university which I passed with success.
- February 2013: Europe, here I am!
I’ve finally got my Schengen Visa in February so I was able to visit nearby countries and travel more. Since February, I’ve travelled every month to a new place in Europe. On 22nd february, I’ve been to Lille in north of France where I met a great crowd of people at the Free Hugs I’ve organised myself. It was great to go out of the United Kingdom. This month has also known some heavy snow for over a week.
- March 2013: Happy birthday Me!
On 11h March, I’ve travelled to Poland for a week-end. It was my first time flying with low-cost airline Ryanair. I’ve stayed in Warsaw only with my friend. On 16th March, we’ve celebrated St Patrick’s (on a rainy) Day. The same month, I’ve organised my birthday party at Walkabout, my favourite party venue! At the end of March, I unexpectedly moved to a new place.
- April 2013: Moving to Chelsea
On the first week of April, I left Ealing for another neighbourhood of London: Chelsea. I live now in Central London, in a classy and snobby area that gives me the surname of ‘Posh’ among my friends… but my neighbours obviously see that I’m not when I leave for uni in the morning in my jeans, my dirty sneakers and my old backpack. I was lucky to find a room in such a great place. I felt like a new life started from this place… I discovered where I live Chelsea and Kensington and I experience more british scenes as inhabitants are mostly british and some french. The same month, I travelled to Manchester for a huge event and Malmo in Sweden, followed by Copenhagen in Denmark.
- May 2013: Let’s just call it Spring!
Between April and May, we had some sunny days reminding spring… so it was time to enjoy London outdoor activities. One of them was a Rugby match I’ve attended, the annual Army VS Navy battle. It was definitely the most british thing, I’ve ever done so far as the whole stadium was absolutely made of a british crowd, me and my friend felt like the only strangers around… May is also the end of my first year so I had to revise a lot for exams and prepare some essay questions. Even though, I travelled to Morocco for a week-end.
- June 2013: Work Hard, Play Hard!
The first week of June, was mainly about exams. On 7th June, I officially ended my first year exams. I left for France then Morocco for one month. Summer holidays started!
- July 2013: Travels
This month was absolutely amazing as I’ve travelled from London to Bratislava to start a 2 weeks trip. Meanwhile preparing for the trip, I spent around 6 days catching up with friends and attending cool events such as British Summer Festival. Those days were very hot!
- August 2013: Here, I am!
On 12th august, I return back to my favourite city London. I’m here to enjoy the rest of my holidays before university starts again. This is where I am. To be continued…