My Journey to Roehampton | Lea Wittig

It has been exactly 23 days since I arrived in London and more than one year of preparation for beginning my studies at the University of Roehampton. I have so much to say about my country of origin, my studies for combined Creative Writing and English Literature here in London, and my experiences as a student in a different country. I think it’s best to start with my journey so far…

I happened to learn about the University of Roehampton and the possibility of studying in England by searching for a famous British actor on the internet – it was basically a coincidence. Last year, I finished school in Germany, graduating and obtaining the Abitur, which is equivalent to A levels in the UK. I didn’t really know what to do or where to go. I always knew I wanted to write and deal with literature but finding the right course in Germany was not easy at all. I looked through the websites of various universities for weeks, not finding a course that made me say: that’s it. My sister and I went to the cinema and when I came back home, I searched the main actor on the internet. It turned out that he is originally from south-west London. I searched for the area on Google Maps and suddenly, the campus of Roehampton caught my eye.

From that moment on, I was checking out the University website every single day for months, and when I read about Creative Writing and English Literature, I knew it was the course I had been searching for for all that time. Leaving your family and friends at home, studying abroad for 3 years and living in a foreign country can be a little bit daunting and I worried that everything might not work out. At the same time, I had never been more certain about anything in my life. It’s what I wanted and I wanted to try my best to get in.

I started writing down facts I needed to know in order to study in England. I read every article on UCAS and created my account. I searched for ways to finance my studies. I started working on my application and my personal statement. I asked my former English teacher to write a letter of recommendation for me (I don’t think I would be where I am now without him. He inspired me a lot in my last 2 years of school and told us to go out there and take on the world.). I studied and studied and studied for the IELTS, an English certificate for international students attempting to study in an English-speaking country. The University of Roehampton did not require the IELTS for my studies, because my English Abitur was adequate, but many other universities do. I started working in a café in my town to earn money ready for University, while finishing my application. In January this year, I submitted it and a week later I got an offer from Roehampton.

It seemed surreal. To be honest, I was even a little bit intimidated by it. Is this really happening? I’m moving to London? Studying my dream course? In the next few months, I thought a lot about my decision. Maybe I overthought it. I started having doubts and concerns and even looked for universities in Germany again as a reaction to my fear. But what was I scared of? Failure? Leaving home? Feeling homesick? To realise that after more than one year of planning it, that it’s not what I wanted?

I don’t remember exactly when I stopped thinking about what could go wrong, I just remember why I did. I was at my favorite bookstore in Munich, listening to music while strolling along endless bookshelves. That’s when I realized I hadn’t read a book in a while and I started reading again. Finally. I read a classic, I read a teen fiction book that I first read when I was 14, I read a German bestseller, I read Jane Austen, I read Shakespeare and I then knew what I had to do. I accepted the offer from Roehampton.

I couldn’t be 100% sure if going to London and studying Creative Writing and English Literature was the right thing to do. Nevertheless, I had to go and see. One thing I know for sure is that I would not want to look back in a few years wishing I gave it a try at least. Maybe after 6 months, I will want to go back home. Maybe, I will never want to leave.

To be honest, the first 2 weeks were scary. There was so much I had to figure out and there is still a lot of work to do. All I can say right now is that I have never felt more independent and motivated in my life. I can’t wait to see how Roehampton is going to change me and to what extent I’m going to change Roehampton. I will keep you updated.

You can follow my time at Roehampton on Instagram.

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