Hi! I’m Zara, a third year International Business Studies student at Richmond. I live in Essex which is about an hour from central London. I love to travel and see other countries and so I am currently studying abroad for a semester at the University of North Florida 🙂

My roommate and I decided to apply to study abroad for the Fall ’19 semester at the University of North Florida and now I’ve been here for two weeks! It was strange at first not being at Richmond, but I love it here so far. My accommodation building has two swimming pools right outside and the weather is always hot and sunny; other than the Hurricane Dorian scare that we had. One of the things I miss about London is the cold weather, my hair cannot take the humidity here, I constantly have a frizzy afro!

Hurricane Dorian was supposed to be category four when it came to Jacksonville which is really dangerous. Classes and all activities were cancelled for the whole week and on Wednesday they put all the buildings on lockdown. They encouraged us to leave campus if possible; I considered going home but flights were cancelled because of the storm. My accommodation is the nicest building as only international students live in it and so it is also the safest for hurricanes. Eventually, everyone that was still on campus was evacuated to my building. They put mattresses in all the common rooms for people to sleep on and provided us all with food and water…so much free pizza 🙂 This was really nice because all the Walmart shelves were empty from everyone stocking up for the hurricane, I couldn’t even find a pack of Doritos! Luckily the hurricane missed Jacksonville and we just had a bit of rain, the college is back to a normal routine now.

My teachers are really good and I’m taking a photography class as an elective. Outside of the classroom there is so much to do on campus. The campus is built on a nature reserve so there’s a forest right outside my accommodation and I walk on a bridge through it to get to class. I’ve been to the town centre, the beach, a spring river/lake, an American football game, downtown Jacksonville, pool parties and so many more tourist sights. There is always UNF organised events going on, like on Thursday they’re holding a Clubfest event which sounds really similar to Springfest at Richmond. Here’s a photo of me and the UNF Osprey mascot, Ozzie.

I’m so excited for what is to come such as my 21stbirthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the lead up to Christmas. There’s a parents weekend coming up where families can come visit the campus so my parents might come to UNF and my boyfriend is also coming in October. I will post another update soon!

Until next time,

Zara