Making that decision:
It was now or never. This should have been done last year but unfortunately, there was a change in plan. Year 2014 came and it was time to make another decision. This time, it checked out and the travel date fixed for 21st September.
The Heathrow Experience:
Not much of a story. Focus was to get out of Heathrow as quickly as possible. This was made possible by walking down to a smiling lady at the “We Know London” stand. She helped to facilitate the purchase of a Lebara SIM card and the online purchase of a National Express Bus Ticket to Pool Meadow Bus Station, Coventry.
Onward to Coventry:
Sitting in the bus for the journey to Coventry can as well be the longest two-hour spent in a while. The excitement was tingling at the cape while fear of the unknown kept creeping through the skin. From atop the bridge, the looming beauty of Coventry University Premises gleamed. Not long afterwards, the Coach drew to a stop. This is Coventry. This would be home for the next 44 weeks.
The Place and People:
Culture can be considered to be the way of life of a particular people bounded by a common attribute. There was not much of a culture shock all thanks to the power of Technology. Long before now, speaking through the nose and pretending to be an ‘oyibo’ (white man) was a common occurrence for many Nigerians. After all, this was a six-hour journey. Home was not far away. How long will this comforting feel last? Not for so long. The people were quite an enigma.
A near empty street characterized taking long strolls to Coventry University Campus from the base at Burlington Road. Also, meeting the occasional elderly person on the street saw a further struggle to stifle the built attitude of throwing out a greeting because you would hardly receive a response. There was a striking observation that tobacco had come to stay especially amongst the younger generation. This is not seen as a big deal hence one had to shrug and attempt to keep a straight face even while seething inside with disapproval.
What about the plasticity? Air-hosts and hostesses are renowned to have the best of smile albeit plastic and seemingly fake. The young people of Coventry will make amazing careers as air-hosts and hostesses. No offense, but the smile gets to one and the aloof politeness is a real worry. To cope with the realization that the smile is not heartfelt and the politeness skin deep, became inevitable.
Coventry University and the Learning Divide:
There was a queue at the Students Center that stretched out while forming the most awesome meanders ever seen. There is something called technology and the first impulse was anger at being made to stand for over three hours for an enrolment exercise at a fraction of the time if technology was embraced. The excitement at getting through this phase was palpable and even more defined by having the Student Identity Card nestled firmly in the palm. This signified an end to the enrolment process. Next step was to get into the induction frenzy.
Societies fair was a breeze as much research has been done prior to arrival. The Society of choice was Green Society. Next was to acquaint self with the Faculty and prepare for the academic experience. The Course Director, Martins, is a really remarkable man. He truly made the transition easy. Taking time to explain all areas that befuddled one to no end, bringing as much clarity as he can and leaving one with a resounding feeling of thankfulness. In a short while, the befuddlement gave way to appreciation of the learning divide. Clarity has been brought into the buzzwords like course work, plagiarism, Moodle, Locate etc.
Expressing the differences:
Leaving school in 2003 back home in Nigeria had not prepared one in any way for the amazing upgrade in learning and learning outcomes. Every thing seemed so strange and different. Thankfully, the can do spirit has been on an all time high. Challenges still abound but the fear of not overcoming is quite negligible. The biggest challenge at the moment is fighting the urge to fall asleep during lectures. This battle is almost won as coffee has come to the rescue.
That feeling of being ignored is still there. You walk around the campus, attend lectures and just move though the premises with no one uttering a single word to you. That is quite strange. The busybody attitude of Nigerians back home has been sorely missed.
Forty-two more weeks remain even as this is written. The countdown has begun in earnest. To fill the gaps, a visit to the Coventry Sports Center has included Swimming and Golfing into the list of activities to embrace.