by Holly Percival
Hi, my name is Holly Percival, I am a sophomore who has just travelled 3,897 miles (6,272km) from the UK to finish my second year of college as part of the student exchange programme here at IUPUI. My major is soccer journalism, yes that is a thing from where I’m from, and I hope to one day become a TV presenter for a soccer show.
This blog, in which I shall upload a new one every two weeks, is just me talking about what is going on in my life and what it is like living in a completely different culture. I will provide the honest truth on things I encounter and hopefully any funny stories of weird or annoying things that happen to me. I also want to provide some tips for any other new exchange students here at IUPUI, or future exchange students, so you don’t make the same stupid mistakes I make!
So, grab a pop tart and a glass of Hawaiian punch and let me begin this first entry talking about my flights here and how it couldn’t have really gone any worse.
Flying from Heathrow Airport, London, to Toronto, Canada, before landing in Indianapolis, Indiana, I was so stressed and nervous about flying for the first time on my own. One thing I quickly learnt was that you DO need a visa when transiting through Canada, even though I was told you don’t. I had to buy a Canadian visa online, in the middle of the airport, before I could even check in.
Once we could board the plane, I was almost rejected from getting on because my Canadian visa had not gone through the system fully yet. If I wasn’t stressed enough, I definitely was now!
Originally, I had three hours between landing in Toronto and leaving for Indianapolis. My flight from Heathrow left an hour late, we were then stuck in the plane for 45 minutes and then it took me 45 minutes to collect my bags. That meant I had half an hour to re-check my bags in and get to the gate before the plane would leave without me.
Then, my flight was cancelled because of the snow… I was livid! Stuck in freezing cold Toronto for a night, are you kidding me?? I was stuck on the phone to Air Canada, the company I was travelling with, for an hour and a half re-booking my flight. Luckily, they had a spare seat available on the first flight out the next day. I got to my hotel room which Air Canada provided for free, fortunately, and mentally prepared myself for another stressful day of travelling.
The next day, I went to the check in desk to check my bags in hopeful that the flight wouldn’t be cancelled again because of snow. Instead, they couldn’t find my name on the flight. Again, my stress levels continued to rise.
Turns out, by mistake the woman who I spoke to on the phone booked me a flight for the 30th January, not the 30th December! Luckily, through the help of my mom and the lovely man at the check-in desk, I was put back onto the original flight and was then on my way to Indianapolis!
I doubt everyone will have such a bad time with flying, but if you do, good luck because you’re going to need it! I just hope it won’t be as stressful on the way home!