Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Letter To Grandma

This was the letter I wrote to participate in the Education UK letter to home competition way back in 2004. I did not win but here I am sharing it with all of you.

Entry No: 2004/1879

This is the letter I wrote to enter the British Council Competition but did not win. The competition is held annually and further information is available at http://www.educationuk.com. The competition requires you to write a letter home and explaining how you are making the best of your time in the UK.

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Greetings Grandma,

How are things getting on? It has been exactly 5 months since I left home. I am getting along well. Life here is amazing and much better than what I had in mind. I have made lots of friends from all corners of the world. This is because there are many international students in the United Kingdom which further proofs that it is a destination for high quality education. Besides being a good place to study, it is also a great place to have fun with so much things and activities to do. Life is never dull or boring here.

I am doing very well with my studies. I have chosen to undertake a Robotics Project for my Systems Design unit. My project has received great encouragement from my tutors and lecturers. I am very sure that I will do well if I go ahead and maintain it on the right track with proper guidance.

You do not have to worry about me losing my roots because there are many Chinese students here. I do mix with them a lot and have improved my Mandarin like you always wished that I would. You must be surprised that I could do so in the UK.

How was Chinese New Year? I had a fabulous one. There was a massive celebration in Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and Leicester Square that was fully decorated with lanterns and banners for the occasion. Thousands of people filled up Trafalgar Square where the main performances were which was followed by Chinese Firecrackers in Leicester Square. I ended the day by having late lunch together with my friends in Chinatown. I had never had such a Chinese New Year celebration before which I believe can only be experienced in London.

Although I wasn’t at home for the reunion dinner, I had one with my friends. We tried to keep the dinner as traditional as possible with a serving of “Yee Sang� and Steamboat. We invited most of our European friends and they did enjoy it and were very interested in learning more about our culture. In return, we also learned more about their culture and country.

It snowed in London on Wednesday, January 28 when I just got back from lectures. It was great to see the snow for the first time in my life. I had a snow fight with my friends and other students living in the Halls of Residence. There was not enough snow to make a snowman but it was nice to see most of the places covered with a beautiful layer of white snow.

I spend most of my free time traveling. It is always easy to get around with the efficient public transport available like the tube. It is also an additional bonus to be in Central London where most popular tourist destinations are within walking distance. I plan to visit other European countries while I am here. Some of my Greek friends have invited me to visit them during the Easter holidays. I will be able to get discounted tickets for my travel which is something very rare at home.

Last weekend, I took a trip down to Manchester by coach which only costs me £9.00 for a return ticket. You can always get good bargains if you were to book early. I visited the Theatre of Dreams in Manchester which was the Manchester United Stadium in Old Trafford. This has always been my childhood dream to see my favorite football club. I had the opportunity to see the locker room where David Beckham used to change by going on the stadium tour. Adeline will be so jealous when she hears this.

Living here is actually very affordable. Do tell mum that she does not need to send me additional money. The ones I have are sufficient enough to last me till the end of the semester with proper budget planning. I cook most of the time instead of eating out and it is hard to believe that some food items are much cheaper than in Malaysia. A can of red beans only costs 12p in Tesco.

I have taken up a part time job with the University as a student ambassador. This job has given me the opportunity to travel to local schools and talk to them about student life in the University. This has helped me improve my pronunciation and learn more about the school system here. It also makes me more confident and raised my self-esteem while during presentations.

I am also playing badminton every weekend. I have never stopped doing the things that I love since coming here. I get a good workout while meeting new friends.

I would be graduating in July and will be able to start working soon after while most of my friends are still studying. I have never regretted deciding to come to the UK to study when most of my friends opt to study somewhere else. I would not trade my experience for anything else in the world.

I hope to see you, mum and dad during my graduation here. That is the time you will get to experience the UK for yourself instead of reading what I have written down. I have already prepared a list places that you must visit while you are here which includes St Paul’s Cathedral and The London Eye. I am very sure that you will find UK as an amazing place to be in.

That is all for the moment. Do take care and I hope to hear from you soon.

Your grandson,
‘Little’ Benny Ong

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I will try again next year and hopefully I am still studying then..

Have A Nice Day!

Benny Ong

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