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Plymouth - Britain’s Ocean City

Laura Liebens, a 21 year old Journalism student from Belgium, shares her Erasmus experience at Marjon

First impressions

"I have to admit that I’m in love with Yorkshire puddings, but the British breakfast is just horrible. Beans, sausages and tomatoes for breakfast? Just give me a boiled egg and a croissant! Now I know what people mean with the famous British food culture!

"People are so friendly here. In the stores for example, when you go to the pay desk and give your purchases to the cashier, they often say: “Thank you my love” or “Have a nice day darling”. It’s the little nicknames that make it way more pleasant and that is something that Belgians don’t do. Even the cops are different. One of my friends even has chats and takes selfies with them and they love it!"

One month later

"One month in and I love the city, I made some great friends and never felt happier in my entire life. Being in Plymouth gave me more confidence. My English is improving and I’m less scared to ask people for help.

"Plymouth is definitely one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. The coastline, Smeaton’s Tower, the Barbican - all places I'd never heard about before. I like the fact that this city is not too commercial. You can enjoy the nature without thousands of people taking pictures of everything (even though that’s my guilty pleasure).

"It’s shocking how fast the time is going. It feels like it was yesterday that I said goodbye to my family. Going on Erasmus gives me the opportunity to get way more experience than I would ever get in Belgium. Not only does this exchange a lot for my CV and further career, but it also means a lot for who I actually am. I needed to start over again. I was right at the start, to get to know new people, a new culture, and most importantly, to get to know and discover myself."

Plymouth gave me confidence

"I’m only three weeks away from leaving the UK and ending my Erasmus experience. The feeling I had in January about leaving my family and friends is coming back, as I’m now leaving the beautiful friendships I built here. Plymouth is a city that will always be in my heart.

"Out of sight, not out of mind. Walks down the Plymouth Hoe and late-night chats with my housemates. I will cherish the amazing memories for the rest of my life. I will miss everything I experienced here, even the lectures."

This is no goodbye

"I’ve learned a lot and it made me wiser, both the educational part as well as the language part. My friends noticed that my English improved and I can feel it as well. I was nervous to start a conversation because I was scared to fail at the language, I’m now much more confident and sometimes when I talk to my family on the phone, I tend to talk in English. 

"It’s been an eventful semester. Lots of laughs, tears, and friendships. I met so many people and discovered a lot. Thanks to everyone who made this experience a time I won’t forget. My friends, my lecturer, and most of all my mom, who supported me. This is not goodbye, it is 'see you later.'"