Earlier last year I went Manchester, United Kingdom, and it was the best experience of my life. My father lived in England, and has been trying for the past three years to get me to return for a longer visit than two weeks. I finally ended up going, was hard to leave the states and my friends for six months. Though, in the end, it has now sent me on an entirely different path I never so much as even thought of doing.
My trip to England didn’t quite mean much more than to see my dad whenever he wasn’t busy with work, and just relax and maybe make some friends after being alone and friendless got old. I spent the first two months without any friends, only interaction I had with others was when I went to the grocery store. I had spent time with my dad but mostly was on my own. After awhile it got old and so I was going to try to make some friends, and let me tell you how hard that was. I wasn’t in school, or worked, and I was in a totally different country, so you really had to throw yourself out there in a way. I’d tried many things to meet people, the usual find people on facebook or MySpace, when out on the town meet people that way, but they were all unsuccessful in a group of friends I felt I really connected with and got along with. One day my dad dared me to give a boy at the grocery store on the registers my number, he didn’t think I would do, and I didn’t think I was either. Sure enough though, I marched back into the store and gave him my number. What is a total “no no” in the rule book, ended up being the best decision I made probably in the last half a decade.
The next day he messaged me back, found out his name is William, and he wanted to hang out. We decided to hang out on my birthday, and he brought along his twin brother Kieran and their other good friend Daniel. We hung out for hours and walked around and had coffee at Starbucks. We all exchanged numbers, and from that day on, I just made multiple friends and acquaintances, all from giving this one guy my number. Weeks later I was invited to a birthday barbeque, there I met numerous people, and the following week or so Daniel invited me to go out with him and some girl friends of his. That was one of the best nights of my life. I was the “American friend” as they all called me, and we had a blast. It was through Daniel that I met an even wider range of people, going over into the next town over, Macclesfield, United Kingdom, due to his girlfriend Jessica knowing them.
My trip to England soon went from not so great and dull, to exciting, adventurous, and more of a once in a lifetime experience. Everyone I met made an impact on my life; because they were all so different than the friends and people I see and hang out with here in the states. I found myself just not being able to get enough of all my friends and grew very attached to them all, because this whole new group of friends I had just made brought with it an endless list of opportunities. Opportunities to go places travel even more which I love to do. Meet even more new people, people I would have never have met, if I never came in the first place. Their impact was so huge on me, that I made a decision that will and is changing my life, and taking me down a whole new path.
I told my dad that I wanted to attend College in England; I want to get my student visa and get my bachelors degree there. He was a bit taken back, because I made such a 180 on everything. But over all he was very excited and was looking forward to me doing school here, and we both agreed it’s an opportunity that just couldn’t be passed by. I applied to get a bachelors degree in Digital Media at Manchester Metropolitan University, and I got in. I came back to the states, which was hard to do, because I knew I’d miss all my new friends I made all on my own, but I had to come back in order to get my student visa.
It’s now April of the following year, almost an exact year since I was last in England. Ever since I left, my dad and I have been working and saving up money for the tuition cost of me going to England for school. The goal is this summer I go down there for good with my student visa and school supplies in hand. But I miss my friends so much; I’ve saved up a little extra money and with the help of my dad and my friend Sam in England. We were able to buy me a ticket to England to go next month! I can’t wait to see everyone again. It’s been so long, and I’ve missed everyone so much, it’ll be so nice to catch up with all my friends, and hang out with them again. But the best part is being able to return again in the summer and stay for good.
I don’t think my friends will ever truly know the impact they have had on my life, but it was enough to make my experience become a “once in a lifetime” experience, and make me change my college plans to see where going to school in England will take me. I hope it takes me on more adventures, meeting even more new people from all around the world, and traveling around the world as well.
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