What is it like to be a Dominican Republic Student at the University of Portsmouth?

My name is Franceli Lora and I am currently doing my Master in Project Management at the University of Portsmouth.

I am doing great but things were not so easy when I first came in September 2016. There were many questions unanswered and I had all these feelings, but the strongest two were anxiety and excitement. Not such a bad mix I would say, but there are somethings I wish someone told me before coming or even after I got here that would have been very helpful.

Things I totally wish I knew

First time getting around

Moving around was quite challenging. The train lines from London to Portsmouth can be quite confusing, so I chose to come on a bus to the University (National Express buses), but the bus stop was farther away from the place I was staying then the train station. So I wish someone would have told me to check the weather on that day, measure the distance of the stop, even maybe to take into account how hard it was going to be to carry my 50 pound big fat luggage to my apartment at midnight wearing way too few layers. But! Thank God for Google maps which it’s very accurate so at least I didn’t get lost.

Challenges of a picky eater

I am quite picky with food, so I brought some of my Dominican seasoning with me from home, wish I had brought some more as it is impossible to find them here, I guess you just need to come with an open mind and discover new foods and find new favourites? Even Oregano doesn’t taste the same

Nonetheless, I found that the Chinese and African-Caribbean stores sell some Dominican favourites, like plantains! So, don’t despair, if you are feeling down and just miss one of your traditional dishes, it is still possible to find the starchy root vegetables we hold so dear to our hearts.

Places: Afro-Cart Foods on 150 Kingston Rd and the Sun Hung Chang supermarket at the end of Commercial Road.

British Humour

Living in a different country is totally challenging but worthy. I am a very independent person but I have learned how to rely on others, how to be more sociable, how to enjoy more my heritage and share my culture.

Overall, I have definitely grown up as a person. To be different is actually a good thing, and I am enjoying every moment of my experience here. Things I wish I knew? British are very sarcastic, so don’t take things too personal, relaaaax and another thing have fun but do your homework on time, procrastination is your worst enemy, and the force is strong for this one specially during winter (Star Wars quote)

My Top Advice: 

Be Unique. Have Fun. Enjoy Every Moment. Do Your Homework.