The University of Southampton
International Voices

Chapter 1 of 365 in Southampton (Soton)


After 7-hours flying to Dubai, 3-hour transit there, 7-hours more flying to London Heathrow Airport, 1.5-hours sitting on the University bus (Phew, what a long journey!), I finally made it safe and sound to my room at the newest university accommodation – City Gateway Halls. So far, everything has been really enjoyable and a blessing.

My home to Soton: 14,000km 18 hours of flying

My home to Soton: 14,000km, 18 hours of flying




Settle down at City Gateway C

My hall is situated 15-minute walking distance from my Campus. That’s actually perfect to me as I am really into walking. Alternatively on some lazy days, I may easily catch the U6 bus (every 20 minutes), and the U1 bus (every 10 minutes) to everywhere. My little room is on the 11th floor, conveniently next to a shared kitchen, with a green view of the neighborhood. There is even a window in my bath room.






As a hall resident, I’m thrilled to be given a 1-year free bus pass, which could save me a fortune on transportation expenses within Soton during my UK time. Furthermore, this hall couldn’t be more convenient to me as it has almost everything that a student needs: a common room to socialise with friends, relax and watch TV; an on-site laundry facility, a shared kitchen, etc. Especially, at the base of the building, there are a number of useful amenities including a doctor’s surgery, a pharmacy; and a Morrisons convenience store.

Well, well, well, I think I need …hmmm. Actually, I couldn’t ask for more.


UK welcomed me with very nice and not-so-cold-as-being-told weather. The temperature yesterday was 14C during the day and 13C at night. I didn’t have to wear a heavy sweater when getting outside of the airport. I was told how lucky I was as it had been raining and really cold in the previous days. Though, last night was a bit cold, and I walked, jumping and dancing to keep my body warm. Chi – a close friend of mine in high school, who has just finished her MBA at the University of Southampton. was so nice that she exchanged her sweater as mine wasn’t warm enough.  Undoubtedly, Chi is the best friend that I’ve luckily ever had for ten (10) years.

It is going to be a rainy day today. Let’s see.


Taking advantage of the time-zone difference, I made the most of my first day – full of traveling, exploring and meeting new and interesting friends:
– Peter, a calm British soldier on duty at Afghanistan, sitting next to me on the airplane, and conducting a very fantastic conversation. I thanked him for bearing with a curious talkative little girl of some of her silly curious questions on the UK and the British throughout the whole flight.
– Ashley, a Chinese girl who helped me zip my backpack on the way to The Customs and then shared me her spare landing card as no one had given me it on the airplane to fill out or I would have been in big trouble getting through The Customs Officer. What a blessing!
– Neda, who has dual Iranian & German nationality, sitting next to me on the first bus to Soton, coming to Southampton for her PhD degree in Electronic something. She is going to spend four (04) years here! (Wow)
– David, a Chinese postgrad with a baby face. He is in Engineering. We are going to meet frequently as we stay in the same flat.
– Jai (Indian) and Asikiya (Nigerian) – Chi’s classmates, a close friend of mine in high school, who has just finished her MBA at the University of Southampton. Chi is the best friend that I’ve luckily ever had for ten (10) years. Jai is a very humorous guy while Asikiya is a nice and sweet girl. I was impressed with her braid hair style – a typical African girl hair style at first glance. We hung out together to celebrate Jai for being offered a position at an international company.

First meal in Soton:

Diego, a Portuguese (Bồ Đào Nha) Restaurant, was the place we had dinner together. We started off with a round of shots and Sangria drink while waiting for the starters and main courses. As for Starters, we had Pastry Plank which is a mix of lightly fried cod fish, chicken, shrimp and chees rissoles. Jai is allergic to sea food in general so he stayed away from cod fish, of course, the rest had all, poor him. My main course was Prego Steak Roll which is thin cut sirloin steak marinated in garlic clove, bay leaves, seasoned with rock salt and fresh grounded black pepper, served in a bap. The meal was absolutely amazing but too much for my small appetite. I wish I could finish it.

IMG_0785  IMG_0800


At last, we made plan to travel to Bath this weekend, and I was excited to be invited to tag along.

That’s enough for one first day. It was totally a blessing.

4.30am local time (10.30am my time) 18/09/2015

Ngoc Nguyen
Chevening scholar

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