Jasmina Risteska

Chevening Scholar

Guest blogger for UK in North Macedonia

Part of Chevening Conversations UK in North Macedonia

7th December 2015 Skopje, North Macedonia

A rollercoaster experience

“Everyone is different and it is exactly that “being different” that becomes our similarity”as a group of international students in my class concluded.

Studying my Masters in the UK was part of my vision board for many years. This finally came true when I became a Chevening scholar.

Arriving and settling in a foreign country, completely on your own is a real challenge. Now, being in a wheelchair makes it even more spicey. Suddenly everything is new and is in front of you to discover. Yet, there are many ups and downs in the same day.

After the first effort to buy everything I need, I stopped being so enthusiastic about shopping! Then I cooked a meal for myself in the new flat and I was as happy as a child.

I was asking and answering the “where are you from?” and “which course you are doing?” type of questions a hundred times within a few days – literally! And again I spent a huge amount of time alone. Then I went for a walk by the River Thames and met the swans. There I was stunned by the beauty that surrounded me and I realised that we are never really alone.

I spent a lot of time and money searching for a replacement for my Mum’s homemade soups until my dear British flatmate introduced me to Covent Garden soups.

Wondering how to top up my travel card, walking a lot when there was a bus stop right in front of my nose or circling a few times around the whole supermarket just because I didn’t know where the salt was are just a few experiences that make me laugh when I look back on them today.

It took me a month to really feel settle in.

Now – I am enjoying my lectures. It’s opening a completly new way of looking at things. To “criticaly discuss” and “create your own opinion based on evidence” is of great important in the UK education system and I love that! In addition, I am pleased to discover the accessibility and support that my university is offering for students with different needs.

In my free time I am trying to travel and see more of what the UK has to offer for their tourists. Hampton Court Palace, Richmond Park, old towns such as Brighton and Canterbury are just a few places that I have had the privilege of visiting so far. A lot of unique and beautiful arhitecture can be seen in the houses, buildings and cathedrals.

Is it a worthwhile experience? If you are adventurerous and willing to allow the“world in small” to shape you as a person, definitely yes!

For me, every moment is a joy (yes, even the tоugh ones) because it’s a part of the process of becoming who I am.

Jasmina Risteska, Chevening Scholar


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