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Flying Solo Modern Languages Magazine 2019 1

Dear Reader, The year abroad is like a bag of ‘Revels,’ – unpredictable, fun but sometimes coffee when you wanted caramel. That’s not to scare you, dear reader. That’s to say that the year abroad is full of twists and turns that are essential for your personal growth, for forging life-long friendships and potentially leading you to career options after university. The ‘Flying Solo’ Magazine intends to reflect both the excitement and the challenge of 3rd Year, while debunking myths and including cheeky tips and tricks to make the year slightly easier. This year’s magazine represents all the modern languages taught at Newcastle University to ensure the magazine is informative to as many students as possible. Furthermore, ‘Flying Solo,’ features students in third year currently in universities, jobs and volunteer schemes across Europe and further afield, as well as including some wise old 4th year knowledge for you to peruse. Throughout the magazine, you will see QR codes which link to interviews with 4th Year students on YouTube. These will give you additional YA information to complement the magazine. Enjoy,

ps. I have banned the phrase ‘I found myself.’ I thought I should let you know before you begin reading just for your peace of mind. 2


Boring admin... For the QR codes... 1) Launch the Camera app 2) Frame the QR code 3) Look for the notification banner at the top of the screen 4) Tap the notification to trigger the code’s action


Still not working? Go on Facebook and type in ‘Flying Solo Magazine’. Then click on the links there!


Practical advice

p8) 5 Reasons why you should go on a YA p10) Best Netflix series for learning each language p12) I wish I packed…



p14) Jacob Trainor on the wonders of Mexico p16) Jack Redley explains why Cádiz is an ideal place to study p18) Eleanor Benson describes volunteering in Peru P20) Georgia Fox in rural Argentina



p22) Amber Dacres explains working in France p24) Annabel Galbraith describes banking in Paris



p26) Grace Dean describes studying at Oldenburg


p28) Tom Smith gives an overview of São Paulo



p30) Rebekah Hulme reviews studying at Kyushu University, Fukuoka


p32) Sam Jones describes Beijing University


P34) Riccardo Santos compares Newcastle to São Paulo

Final Flying Solo Goodness

p36) How to re-adjust to the Toon. p38) Photo Competition 6


P16 P18



P28 P32


5 Reasons why You should go on a Year Abroad 1. Language You need to test what you’ve learned! You’ve picked up the building blocks at Newcastle in the classroom. Now learn the nuances of the language by living it. You will learn quickly and soon think and dream in the language which is when you know you’re achieving fluency

2. Deeply understand a new culture

Get to know locals, enjoy cultural events and take weekend trips as much as possible with time and money permitting.

3. Find New interests

Abroad, you might find you are more open minded about trying things out and so you find new interests. Learn Salsa, practice capoeira, do cooking classes – you never know where it will lead or who you will meet.

4. Career opportunities

You may be inspired after the year to move abroad after finishing at Newcastle. The more people you meet the more likely are to make a contact who may be able to help in the future.

5. Personal growth

Speaking a foreign language, while learning local customs and meeting new people, is overwhelming but also exhilarating. You will develop hugely as a person and learn to relax in to it over time. 8


Netflix series to watch before going on your Year Abroad! GERMAN

‘Der Gleiche Himmel’ is set in Cold War Germany and portrays the fate of two families on either side of the Berlin Wall. Intense, fast-paced and moving.


‘Plan Coeur’ involves mix-ups, deceptions and inadvertent love – a modern romcom series which shows Parisian life. If you like Bridget Jones’ Diary, you will love this!


‘Narcos’ chronicles the rise of the cocaine trade in Colombia and the gripping real-life stories of drug kingpins of the late ‘80s in this raw, gritty original series. 10


‘3%’ is set in an unspecified future when 20-yearold individuals of the impoverished “Inland” have the single opportunity to complete “The process.” Only 3% of the candidates succeeding.


‘Meteor Garden’ is about a poor teenage girl Dong Shān Cài (Barbie Shu), who at the insistence of her parents goes to a university for rich people. She is bullied but stands up for herself, falls in love and moves up in society.

JAPANSE ‘Erased’ follows Satoru Fujinuma, a young man who somehow possesses an ability known as “Revival” which sends him back in time moments before a life-threatening incident, allowing him to prevent it from happening again.


“Wish I had a disposable camera!”- Lucy Ewart (France) “Coffee is so expensive in China. Wish I brought some!” - Sam Jones (China) “ You either love it or you hate it. Me? Can’t live without it. Couldn’t get it in Chile so mum sent some.” Harry Gadd (Chile) “People don’t realise but Spain gets cold! Wish I brought my jacket” Rebecca Wall (Spain)


what I W brough

“France was great but I was dying for a cuppa...” - Amber Dacres (France)

WIsh I ht... “Factor 50 was sorely missed under the Brazilian sun” - Jack Redley (Brazil)

“Really wish I had a home comfort like my dressing gown!” - Anya Neil (France)

“I couldn’t find the make-up I could get in Boots when I was in Shanghai ” - Rachael Pratt (China)


JacobMEXICO Trainor visits Angahuan

X O C E I M It struck me as we were gliding through the gentle shade of the recently planted pine forest. There was myself, an Englishman, a German and a purepecha, all of whom had different native languages and all of whom were able to communicate, share and better experience this occasion thanks to the Lingua Franca of Castilian Spanish. All of us had learnt the language for this very purpose, to be able to better understand the world around us and for our guide, Castilian Spanish was an essential asset alongside his native tongue to be able to understand fellow Mexicans from outside his region of Michoacan. Mexico has a rich linguistic heritage 14

and although Castilian Spanish remains the standard language of communication throughout the country, there are additionally 68 indigenous languages that continue to be spoken. One of these languages, that which was spoken by our guide, “Rito,” is that of Purepecha. This is a language which, similar to the Basque language in Spain, does not bear resemblance to other languages spoken in the surrounding area and therefore stands as a curious linguistic phenomenon.

them either on horseback or on foot, to the summit of the volcano of Paricutin, with stands at 2800m and is considered one of the natural wonders of the world. This has meant some young students have gone to study in boarding schools in Guadalajara or elsewhere in Michoacan, in order to get a wider education which encompasses English into the curriculum. Rito explained how anyone who can speak English is a great asset to the community, and seems hopeful that such students who have left to study would return to Angahuan rather than search for work elsewhere, thus contributing towards the town’s future prosperity.

Purepecha remains the mother tongue of the just shy of 125,000 speakers in Mexico and is very much noticeable in communities such as Angahuan. The language in the street was audibly not Castilian Spanish and our ears were repeatedly greeted with the sound of Purepecha chatter, as our guide greeted and conversed with people we passed in the street or on the sunnier climes of the volcanic slopes.

“Volcanic rock

and running shoes are not friends!”

As we entered the town of Angahuan once more after the long trek beneath the beaming sun, with Rito on horseback as we trundled along on foot, we thanked him for his time. With the backdrop of the conic shaped heights of Paricutin, other worldly lava fields and the palpably different cultural ambience, perhaps the cinematographic magic for the day had already been had.

However, despite the persistence of Purepecha, there is also a recognition for the importance of other languages alongside this mother tongue. Rito outlined how all schools in the area are bilingual, allowing children to pick up Castilian Spanish from their early school days after having often purely conversed in Purepecha in the home until that point.

Footnote: Volcanic rock and running shoes are not friends. My running shoes looked liked they aged brutally after the walk. Not a wise idea to have worn them when I was planning to run a half marathon in them in a couple of days. Fortunately Superglue is a real superhero.

He also outlined the demand for English, as, in particular, American tourists frequent the town seeking guides to escort 15



Jack Redley explains why Cรกdiz is an ideal place to study 16

Cádiz (or “Cai Cai,” to locals) is located in Andalucía in the flamenco heartland of Spain. As it is not as popular a destination as Madrid and Barcelona, it is a perfect location to improve your Spanish. With few tourists, and locals who speak very limited English, you can’t shy away from practicing! When you arrive in the old town of Cádiz, where the university is located, it almost feels like you have travelled back in time. The striking plazas often have orange trees surrounding them, and there are very few cars because the narrow streets make driving awkward.

Cádiz University is small and friendly with a lot of international students. From the first day, I felt very welcome at the university and I had a variety of course options to choose. Although university was pleasant, going to one of the beaches after university was even better. ‘Caleta,’ was a small beach within 5 minutes of the university which meant even a dull history lecture could be forgiven after a swim in the sea!

“a dull history lecture could be forgiven after a swim in the sea!”

While the city boasts beautiful beaches, Cádiz is also perfectly located to travel to Morocco which is just a short boat ride away. One of the best experiences of the trip was riding camels through the desert as the sunset, even if that same camel threw me to the ground the next day. Needless to say, studying in Cádiz was a unique and thoroughly enjoyable experience. Just go!

The city has one of the highest population densities in Spain. Hemmed in by sea on both sides, Cádiz has tall buildings to accommodate the population. However, all of the flats have roof top terraces which were perfect for the barbecues we had on the weekends.

Interested in studying in Spain? This interview with Becca Wall and Amber Dacres will give extra info!


PE R U Eleanor Benson describes volunteering in Peru teaching assistant through the organisation VolunTeach Peru. This programme places assistants in partner schools across the country.

From its Andean scenery to its smoking volcanoes, diverse tropical rainforests, ocean-desert peninsulas, turquoise lagoons and high-altitude glaciers, Peru is much more than just land of the llamas, Paddington Bear and Machu Picchu. My placement consisted of volunteering as an English

The job proved to be as rewarding as eye-opening. On setting foot through the school gates I was treated like a celebrity, showered with adoration and overwhelmed with hugs and kisses from staff and students alike. I would thoroughly recommend VolunTeachPeru, as whilst the assistantship role does not necessarily require leading entire classes, the opportunity to develop key skills is an excellent experience, regardless of whether one is considering a teaching career. My roles were diverse, as I was asked to do presentations, help direct the school musical and assist with the sixth formers’ Model United Nations con-

“Peru is much more than just land of the llamas, Paddington Bear and Machu Picchu.� 18

ference. I quickly grasped that equipping Peruvian children with a solid mastery of English was deemed essential to broaden their prospects.

a 2-hour boat trip from Iquitos took me deep into the heart of the Amazon. We slept in net-covered wooden huts, enveloped by a throng of humming monkeys, birds and insects. Iquitos hosts a market of weird and wonderful creatures hailing from the forest and river. The more daring tourist may be tempted to taste frog smoothies or wriggling larvae.

The opportunity in Lima to teach in a particularly deprived school was a highlight. Each week as we waved goodbye and descended from the sprawling slums, the volunteers were left feeling that our contribution was making a truly tangible impact.

As well as discovering some of the earth’s breath-taking natural beauties, the experience was transformative. The country and its people left its mark on me, and made me review my life, nation and culture with fresh eyes.

Besides the Inca heartland of Machu Picchu, Peru is a traveller’s paradise. The highlight of y travels was

Anna Butcher also went to Latin America but instead of volunteering, she worked in Santiago in Chile. Listen to another opinion of living in this incredible continent!


Georgia Fox gives a brief overview of Chaco Province Just like Britons have a name for being obsessed with tea, Argentinians are equally obsessed with mate, their equivalent drink. Despite my initial hesitance towards it due to its bitter taste, I am now a big fan. But what I like about it, almost more than the taste, it that you always drink it with friends, passing the small dried gourd from which you drink from round the circle, making it a sociable drink. I imagined Argentina as the land of empanadas, mate, asado, dulce de leche and miles and miles of vast expanses of fields. Sure enough, Argentina plays into its stereotypes pretty well. Within the first two days of living with my first host family I had successfully made empanadas, drank mate and consumed a lot of dulce de leche. Being invited to various asados (BBQs) and driving through kilometres and kilometres of flat fields were soon to follow.

One stereotype that is 100% correct, other than Argentinian tardiness, is their consumption of meat. From being a flexitarian at university, I now guiltily eat meat every meal bar breakfast (but then dulce de leche stands in as another cholesterol high replacement). Spinach-filled empanadas have become my saviour for when I cannot stand the thought of eating more meat. But then the weekend comes round again meaning asado time, Argentina’s answer

A N I T A R G E N 20

to our Sunday roast. Then I am back to gorging on deliciously cooked meat, cooked on an impressive open fire flame. My plan to become vegetarian this year has had to be postponed. I mean, the Year Abroad is all about plunging yourself into new cultures, and with meat consumption taking centre stage here, it would only be wrong not to partake. Right?

what life is like here. I have also seen first-hand how Argentina’s crumbling economy affects families. Light bills triple while the stories of corrupt mayors and politicians are never is short supply.

“One stereotype that is 100% correct, other than Argentinian tardiness, is their consumption of meat!”

My shock of meat consumption here has been matched with my shock at just how big Argentina is. The thought of having to drive from London to Newcastle twice a year with all my university things fills me with dread every year. 5.5 hours of driving? No thank you! But here, travelling 4 hours for a short weekend trip away is nothing. During those 4 hours there is a high chance that you will see nothing but fields. Time to open those windows and blast out those Reggaeton tunes. We’re here for the long haul!

I think I will return to England with a new appreciation of things running on time and vegetables actually appearing on my

plate, but I will aim to take the Argentines’ ability to come together to have a good time back with me.

Despite having had to almost re-learn Spanish due to the Argentinian specific words and slang, I am very glad I came here to teach English. Living with families has meant that I have been able to really enter into local life. Sitting round a table with a bunch of 40 year old mums may not be the craziest way to spend your Year Abroad but it gives me an insight into

Want to know more about Argentina? Here is an interview with 4th year student Natalia Sanz Dawson


Amber Dacres describes living in Lille



When most people think of France, their minds head straight for Paris, Cannes or Nice and yes, exciting as these places might be, France has so much more to offer. A 3-hour bus ride from the cosmopolitan hotspot of Paris lies Lille, a city oozing with charm and a homely atmosphere that could almost make you feel like you were back up North. With nightlife comparable to Newcastle, countless quirky bars and even a dog café, there’s so much to do in Lille. One bar even has a Nintendo 64, a Playstation and practically every board and video game you can think of – Bevs and Super Mario, what more could you want from a rainy Sunday afternoon? I spent 5 months working at a languages school in Lille, doing everything from video production and translation to even trying my hand at a bit of teaching, which I discovered was definitely not my cup 22


French skills had grown ten-fold to the point where I could confidently hold a conversation with a local. The year abroad is a life changing experience, it may not always be picture perfect, but it really shows how grown-up, independent and resilient you truly are.

of tea, but it was worth a try! Boasting 5 universities, the city is bustling with young professionals, start-ups and students so accommodation, work and fun is not too hard to find. Lille is also perfectly placed for a bit of exploring, with Paris a stone’s throw away and Bruges just an hour’s drive, my weekends were filled with city visits and sightseeing.

“With nighlife comparable to Newcastle, countless quirky bars and even a dog café, there’s so much to do in Lille.”

Of course, the most important part of the year abroad is to develop your language skills, Lille is ideal for this because not many people speak English, so you really have to push yourself out of your comfort zone to practice the language. When I first arrived, I could barely string a sentence together but by the time that I left, my confidence in my


Fancy working in France? Here is an interview with Anya Niel who worked in Paris, which is well worth a watch!


Annabel Galbraith explores whether to work or study comfort zone with people who speak your native language. The pros to having a job rather than studying at a university are that you get real-life professional experience, as well as an income, and you can make a start on networking in an industry you may want to pursue. Additionally, you learn invaluable skills through working in a business (though you hear it all the time from parents etc…it is in fact true) such as learning how to be very organised, time efficient, an excellent communicator, and, when abroad, comfortable and confident in new situations. During my internship at HSBC in Paris, I developed not only more of a fluency within the French language but also a solid understanding of how established organizations function. To get the most out of the internship I tried hard to fully immerse myself in the French culture and the French community by going for drinks with work colleagues and socialising predominantly with French speakers (though it’s not always easy to do!). This is something I think can be tricky when studying as you tend to stick within your

The other great thing about having a job is that (in most cases) you’re working 9-5 with weekends off, which could be different studying and having to finish uni work during evenings/weekends. It’s also quite satisfying and eventually rewarding to know that at the start of a placement you are going to make mistakes but once you have settled in you are able to make a big difference to a company and hopefully progress quickly.


“I developed not only more of a fluency within the French language but also a solid understanding of how established organizations function.”

However, as is the case with anything, there are cons to working during your year abroad. You have less free time than if you were studying (though this may not all be bad as it means you’re constantly conversing in the target language!). Additionally, your language is slightly more conversational than formally learning grammar and reading textbooks. The work route can be slightly faster paced than studying where you are in a more ‘spoon-fed’ environment, but

it gives you such a good insight into the professional world which is an unique opportunity to be exposed to it without beginning a life-long job! Through working in small, intimate companies or bigger enterprises, you gain an in-depth knowledge of working in an establishment. I now know that I can live independently abroad for an extended period. Rob Bilney and Lucy Ewart both worked in France too - here is some extra useful knowledge from fellow French students!


N G ER M A Y Grace Dean’s favourite Northern Cities


piece of string. The Schnoorgebiet boasts an abundance of quaint gift shops and tearooms, and the wonderful Schokostube ice-cream parlour even offers its own Schnoorkuller speciality named after the old town, a delicious homemade ice-cream consisting of chocolate and nuts. Culinary delights aside, Bremen is situated on the Weser river, and a short scenic walk along the waterfront will lead you to the famed Werder Bremen football stadium, Bremen is additionally home to Becks, and crossing the river will lead you to the Becks factory which offers guided tours (including free samples).

“Quite simply, Hamburg Hanover is a The city has a reputation for being lively, bustling, and a delight.” little bit mad – and boy does it

Bremen is an incredibly pleasant city. For all firsttime visitors a trip to Bremen’s old town is a necessity. Known as the Schnoorgebiet (literally “string area”), visitor signs in the old town suggest that it is named after the narrow cobbled streets which are curved round like a

deserve that reputation. During the day take a trip to the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, which is the city’s tallest building. Despite the concert tickets costing a significant chunk of


your student finance, without paying you can enter the building and travel on the world’s first arched escalators, which at 80 meters in length are the longest in Europe. While the building is potentially an eyesore from the outside (depending on your take on futuristic architecture), from the inside the building offers a panoramic view across Hamburg, including the historic Speicherstadt. The Speicherstadt is the biggest warehouse district in the world and is home to a mass of redbrick buildings interspersed with rivers and canals. For nightlife, head to Reeperbahn. This is Hamburg’s main red light district and consists of cheap restaurants (€2 pizza anyone?), nightclubs, bars, sex shops and brothels. Along the Reeperbahn you can find the Beatles-Platz, which a circular plaza shaped and paved like a vinyl record, surrounded by metal silhouetted statues of The Beatles to commemorate their time in Hamburg at the start of their career.

seating from which you can admire its so very beautiful tranquil grounds. Continuing in the same direction will take you to the Maschsee, where, from just €2 per person, you can hire row boats and escape the buzz of the city. Following this, a visit to the old town is a must. Despite Hanover being heavily bombed during the second world war, much of its beautiful architecture fortunately remains. Quite simply, Hanover is a delight.

Hanover My favourite northern German city, however, was without a doubt Hanover. Despite being the capital city of Lower Saxony, I knew very little of Hanover before my arrival in Oldenburg, but I soon learnt that it was well worth the two hour train journey there. Hanover is a fantastic city with an abundance of both natural beauty and stunning architecture. From the train station you can quickly make your way to the Rathaus (town hall), which is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever set eyes on in my life. A majestic blue- and orange-rooved building, the Rathaus has a restaurant with outdoor

Matt Green, another 4th year student went to Germany too and this QR code links to an interesting interview with him!


Tom Smith gives an overview of São Paulo. and it is quite overwhelming to begin with, you soon understand the layout of the uni, which bus to get and how to tell the bus driver to stop…The teaching was excellent and every class was different from the last one. I chose to have a mixture of classes on film, music and history which meant I could study exactly what I was interested in. In addition, I was lucky enough to meet a broad array of South American students and as the university was so international, I could practice my Spanish and my Portuguese. Strolling down Avenida Paulista on Sunday, the biggest street in São Paulo in the centre of the city, is perhaps the best way to see the city. The street is closed off to cars and so it is full of street food and drink stands selling coxinhas (fried chicken and potato snack) and caipirinhas, Capoeira dance groups flipping and wheeling and bands compete for the attention’s of passers-by. The city feels more vibrant and alive than any other city I have ever been to and 6 months only allowed me to scratch the surface of understanding the metropolis which is this incredible city. São Paulo University is one of the best universities in Latin America. Although the university is enormous with 94,000 students (Newcastle has almost 24,000)

When I wasn’t at university, I was exploring the city. The Japanese neighbourhood of Liberdade had incredible food which was a fusion of Japanese-Brasilian cuisine; Vila Madalena had alternative bars and cafés; Avenida Paulista had art museums, cinemas and shopping centres to browse. If I felt the city was too much, I went and got lost in the largest urban park in Latin America, Ibrapuera, which had museums, tennis courts and water features. If I haven’t made it clear, São Paulo is no doubt the biggest and most fascinating city I have ever been to - I would recommend it to anyone studying Portuguese!


L B RA Z I Patricia Conesa is another 4th year student who also went to Brazil. She worked in Rio de Janeiro and she gives useful advice about living away from home, making friends and accomodation!


J AP AN Rebekah Hulme reflects on studying at Kyushu University lite images I’d looked at before arriving had made me feel a bit uneasy about my choice - there was not a convenience store or bar to be seen - but the university campus has been built from scratch over the last few years, so more and more amenities are being added every month. When I arrived I quickly found that, although there was no nightlife to speak of, there was pretty much everything else you needed to get by on campus, and anything else was not far away. When I was deciding on the university where I’d spend my year abroad, I knew that I didn’t want to be in the hustle and bustle of Toyko. Kyushu University in Fukuoka Prefecture proved to be the complete opposite! When I arrived at the airport, we were taken on a one hour bus journey to reach the university campus, which is in the middle of the countryside and close to the coast. The google satel-

It turned out, to my relief, that there were at least a couple of convenience stores, which proved to be magical places, where you can pay your energy bills, take money out of your UK bank account, buy incredibly cheap alcohol for a night in, and try a huge amount of very unhealthy breadbased snacks. Either way, a few days after I arrived, along with pretty much every other 30

international student, I made my first big purchase: a bicycle. This was a necessity; now I could bike out to the beach in 10 minutes and go to the mall in the small neighbouring town to shop and eat out, without having to wait for the local buses. I think a bike is a useful thing to have in most places in Japan, as train fares quickly build up, but if you buy one you must remember to get it registered with the police and pay attention to the bike laws, as some of them are a bit different to the UK.

is being able to have a belly full of sushi for under a tenner!! After sushi, a couple of hours of karaoke never go amiss - I really recommend you try karaoke even if you are shy about singing in front of people! It was one of the things I was surprised to enjoy so much, along with the onsen. I was so nervous about stripping off to bathe with everyone in the hot springs, but it immediately became one of my favourite activities! It’s so relaxing and always a good time, whether you’re by yourself or with friends. I found it to be a really good space for body-positivity; being naked without being sexualised isn’t something you can easily experience in the UK! All in all, I found that there were a lot of fun things to do around campus that aren’t easy to experience in the UK, so wherever you end up on your year abroad, make the most of your chance to try out some new activities, whether it’s eating, drinking, or relaxing!

“After sushi, a couple of hours of karaoke never go amiss!”

Kyushu University is not ideal for those who like a regular night out; for that you have to venture into the downtown districts of Fukuoka city, Tenjin and Hakata, but to get there you have to first bike to the smaller town and then catch the train from there. The last trains to get home leave the city centre at around midnight, so if you go out you’ll probably find yourself in an all-night karaoke booth until you can catch the first early morning train home! However, I think that there’s plenty to do around the campus area without going into the city, and I never had any problems with it!

My favourite things to do were to going to the local onsen (hot springs) and relax in the outdoor baths with the locals, then cycling into town for a cheap and delicious meal at Sushi-Ro, which is a chain of conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, where most plates are ¥100 (70p). I think one of the things I miss the most about Japan 31

Sam Jones describes 11 months in Beijing I studied at the Beijing Language and Culture University. It’s in the Haidian district which is like a little university town within Beijing. There are about 10 universities that border each other. To be honest, when I arrived, I was quite intimitated by the city, the university and the language. Beijing is enormous and learning mandarin at Newcastle is one thing but talking to taxi drivers, haggling with shop keepers and trying to make friends with Chinese students was a new challenge. However, initially, I made friends with foreigners by playing for a local rugby team. Gradually, my mandarin improved enough to freely talk to locals, which then further improved my mandarin. Beijing is cheap so I used to eat out the whole time rather than cooking myself. It goes without saying the food in Beijing is incredible and as the city was so big, there were always new restaurants to visit!

trip to the ‘Rainbow Mountains,’ which are beautiful. I loved Beijing so much that I’m heading back there next year to do a two year masters at Peking University – the dumplings I make in Newcastle just aren’t the same! Sam and Rachel both went to universities in China. Listen to their interview by scanning the QR code on p33!

China is a country that has so many natural wonders. Cheap, highspeed trains mean travelling is easy. The highlight of my travels was a 32






Ricardo Santos compares ENGLAND to BRAzIl it is a huge city. For example, it used to take me one hour and half to get to my university by train, metro and bus (now I live near USP), and in Newcastle it took me 10 minutes on foot. My lifestyle was very different, and I miss that aspect of my exchange period. Also, the city of São Paulo is dangerous in comparison to Newcastle. In Newcastle, I could walk home at midnight and I would feel safe, which I don’t feel in São Paulo.

I am from Brazil, I study at University of São Paulo (USP), and I lived in Newcastle for 4 months. Sao Paulo is the biggest Latin American city, with 14 million inhabitants, and covers an area of 1521km². Living in São Paulo can be very chaotic, but also very culturally enriching. In Newcastle, there are around 260.000 people, and the city is very small. Since I was not used to living in small cities, going to Newcastle was mind-blowing. Basically, I didn’t need to take any public transportation for my daily activities, such as going to the university or even the market, since I was living in Windsor Terrace accommodation. In São Paulo, I have to take the metro or train to go anywhere, because

One thing I didn’t like about Newcastle (and the UK) was the food. I cooked my brazilian breakfast (extremely different from the British one), lunch and dinner. For me, it felt like the British food didn’t have any seasoning. However, to be fair, I loved fish and chips and the Christmas dinner. For the exchange students in general, the food is an important connection to our home country, so maintaining the eating habits is a way to not feel homesick. The exchange was a great opportunity to visit new places and make some friends. I visited a lot of cities in the UK, like Liverpool, London, Southampton, Leeds, Brighton and Manchester, so I had a deep understanding of the country and the 34

British culture. A big obstacle for me was the British accent. Since I am used to the American one, it was tricky to get used to the way British people speak, and I am not sure if I get it 100% even after four months. I also explored some other countries like Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Italy. Since it was my first time in Europe, I felt I had to make to most of it, and it was awesome. I believe the best aspect of the exchange is to meet new people and new cultures. I am going to carry those experiences and friends for the rest of my life. And, since I am a strong believer indiff fate, I know that everything that happened was meant to be that way, and that I am going to see my friends again in another moment, country, or life. I encourage everyone to study in a different place or country. It changes the way you see yourself and your life.




Jack REdley describes re-adjusting to 4th Year in second year.

Firstly, I was really excited to see everyone after the year abroad. Everyone has such diverse experiences during 3rd year and stories range from terrifying to hilarious. It is the year where students grow in to themselves as a result of being pushed out of their comfort zone, and I was fascinated to find some people were completely unrecognisable when they returned compared with the people I remembered

However, I did feel slightly out of place coming back to Newcastle for 4th year. I took a Year Abroad before coming to uni so I was 23 when I returned. I know I’ve got a forehead like Gordon Ramsey but I was shocked by how young students looked when I returned to Newcastle and, consequently, how old I felt. Perhaps this feeling was amplified by the fact all of my mates that weren’t studying languages were looking for jobs or working. I felt I should be working too and doing adult stuff like commuting, ironing my clothes and complaining about work colleagues. To deal with this, I think it’s best to just put your head down and focus on finishing university with a 2:1 (or above). As everyone in 4th year is working hard together, you quickly settle down to it. 4th year has actually turned out to be the year where I’ve had the most fun. I’ve become a lot closer with course mates and so I spend a lot more time socialising with people on my course than before.In addition, although it’s true 4th year’s go on night’s out less, I’ve found we know which are the best events to go to and so when I do go out, I enjoy it a lot more. Finally, I would advise anyone coming back from their YA to get involved with 36

extra-curricular stuff. I’ve found you appreciate all that university has to offer more in 4th year and as everyone is more comfortable together, people are more open to try new things. I’ve found everyone becomes lot more involved in societies because we all realise that soon we will no longer be at uni!

Toby Livsey showing the crowds what he learnt on his Year Abroad

More lines than an excel spreadsheet

“we know which are the best events to go to and so when I do go out, I enjoy it a lot more!”


Photo Competition

Laina Pham - “Kaguya-Hime.� Japan is a very modern country, yet it does not fail to preserve its traditions and historical landscapes. This bamboo forest and the lady on the rickshaw reminds me of the Tale of Princess Kaguya that I read as a child. I grew up reading many Japanese mangas and folktales and to have the opportunity to study here and see them come to life have been particularly enriching and beyond my expectations.


Sam Jones Beijing Beijing is an enourmous city that’s full of life and can sometimes be quite overwhelming. It’s really nice to find a place that’s quiet amongst the buzz. The buildings are incredibly impressive too though!



Final Thank yous from the editor! Thanks to everyone that contributed to the magazine, whether that included writing articles, speaking in interviews or advising on the style of the magazine. In addition, huge thanks to Damien Hall for being easy-going and relaxed throughout editing the magazine. He was a great help every meeting, and was never micro-managing, which was much appreciated!



Profile for FlyingSoloNCL

Flying Solo Magazine  

'Flying Solo,' is a magazine created by Newcastle University Modern Languages for the purpose of educating students about their YA. It is wr...

Flying Solo Magazine  

'Flying Solo,' is a magazine created by Newcastle University Modern Languages for the purpose of educating students about their YA. It is wr...