I am Zoie Roberson, sophomore/senior student at the University of Massachusetts Boston
political science and my pre-law major. This fall, I will be studying foreign policy at the University of
Oxford. I’m beyond excited and can’t wait for this semester to begin, which is quite late compared to
as we begin our college semesters in the United States. Oxford University begins its
semester in October – all the way in October. Nevertheless, I have already arrived in the UK
after a nine-hour flight across the pond and a forty-five-minute drive from Heathrow Airport
in London at a hotel in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. I know, “county”. To all my fellow Tolkien fans,
I, too, thought of The Hobbit (note: Tolkien is an Oxford University alumnus).
Anyway, I’m incredibly tired – the jet lag kicked into full gear and I’m traveling from the US
getting here was quite a headache. Let me tell you how I packed. Two months ago I took some
time to record exactly what I needed to get by each day. As I was going throughout the day, I
took note of everything I used that day. If I turned on my lamp to work at my desk,
I made sure to add this lamp to my list of necessities. If I used my toothbrush to brush my teeth, I
made sure to add a toothbrush to my list of necessities. I recorded everything – toiletries,
cosmetics, body and skin care, clothing and footwear, jewelry, accessories, vitamins and
prescriptions, laptops and mobile devices, hair products, cleaning and sanitary products,
perfumes, a steamer, a blanket, masks, umbrellas, and more. Yes, I had an incredibly long list, and
my mom stretched it out with items I didn’t know I needed, like a small compact portable washing machine
machine. After writing down everything I needed, I went to Amazon and ordered everything.
Then I started making another list of necessities, but this time I wrote down what I needed
I may not have had one before, like a plug adapter – yes, a plug adapter. Here in the UK their
plugs and cords are incredibly different from those in the US. On my new list of necessities, I
checked in everything I needed in terms of safety items, clothing suitable for the weather in the
UK cordless battery to keep my phone going all day new duvet set small
decorative items for where I will say, and more. Watch YouTube videos of people
discussing what is needed for a long stay in the UK was helpful. After taking note of all
items I needed to stay in the UK, I went to Amazon and ordered everything.
After buying all the items I needed on Amazon, I went to AT&T, my service provider, and
informed them that I will be traveling to the UK. They informed me of everything I had to do
and purchase in order to maintain my overseas service privileges. Therefore, I – not me, but my
dad—has to pay ten dollars a day, per device I use to get unlimited data abroad. Then I
went to my local bank to let them know I would be leaving the US for a while – yes, if
you didn’t know it, now you know that if you use your credit card while traveling, you risk being
charged international fees per transaction. Although it depends on where you are going, do
plan to spend a few coins when traveling abroad.
Nevertheless, after collecting all my things to go to England, I jumped on the plane with
my mother accompanying me and headed for England. While I was at the airport during my layover in
Atlanta, Georgia, I went to the currency exchange stand to get some pounds, which is the
UK currency. This was perhaps my biggest mistake to date, as the transfer fee was
astronomically high. Learn from my mistake and don’t transfer money at the airport.
The plane ride was a bit long, at least for me, as it was my first time flying out of the country.
Going to bed and waking up the next day on a plane was weird. Dinner and breakfast
provided on Delta airlines, I must say, were delicious.
I am extremely excited and grateful to have arrived in England safely. Already, I’m enjoying it
here – the landscape, the architecture, the people and the food.
(ps I accidentally bought the wrong plug adapter. I bought European plug adapters but
didn’t realize that EU adapters are different than UK ones. Yes, UK is Europe,
but please be aware that if you ever need to buy any items specifically for traveling to England, be
specific and add “UK” somewhere in your search. Therefore my camera is dead and I can’t
recover the video or audio footage I have taken until I get an adapter to recharge my battery.
Literally I’m writing this blog post with low battery and I won’t be able to charge my laptop
until Tuesday, because I ordered the correct adapter to be delivered at that time. Again, learn from my
Until next time,