Freshers’ Week and First Impressions of Exeter

The famous Exeter Cathedral. There are usually fewer pirates here.

All students new to Exeter arriving in the fall must arrive a week before classes begin to attend “Freshers’ Week”. I went in with very few expectations, and now I have only positive things to say about the student life and community at the University of Exeter.

I had initially imagined Freshers’ Week to be a chore- I knew there were going to be mandatory lectures to attend, paperwork to file, and schedules to finalize. All of this was true, however it was all finished withing a few hours.

Freshers’ Week is much more fun in reality. Every day over the course of the week, the pedestrian walkway at the center of campus is absolutely packed with student societies trying to get the attention of newcomers, looking for recruits. One could conceivably spend all week moving from one society taster session to another, eating free food, learning new things, and making new friends.

This is how I’ve spent the last week. I’ve taken an after-hours tour of Exeter’s medieval Cathedral, gone longboarding on the coast in Exmouth, and sailing along Exeter’s historic quay. Tomorrow I will go on a cruise along England’s Jurassic Coast. Every day I’ve been meeting new people. Some are grad students and have been attending school in Exeter for years, others are 17 years old and have just left home for the first time. I’ve made friends with international, exchange, and Erasmus students representing 6 continents and dozens of countries.

The beach in Exmouth.

I came here with the intention of experiencing as much as possible within the few months I have available, and so far this week has not disappointed me. The coming weeks and months will include plenty of work as classes begin, but with the incredible breadth and depth of student activities available, I can’t imagine having too many weeks less exciting than this one.

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