My journey to Newcastle University Business School started sometime in February of 2014. But it was not until after a rigorous and meticulous interview and selection process. Thanks to British Council Ghana.
I left Ghana passing through Heathrow airport to Newcastle on the 15th of September, 2014. A smooth journey it was though mixed with the usual anxiety of a first time traveller.
Having settled into my new environment I had an invitation from my cousin to visit him in London, so I purchased a return ticket with mega bus, the UK most cheap and reliable transport service.
Soon October arrived and I set-off on my first trip to the capital of England; London. It was a 7-hour long journey as I was going by bus. A tiring journey it was. I chose a bus with the hope of seeing the landscape of England from Newcastle to London and I must say the initial intent was worth more than the tiring nature of the journey.
Arriving at the Victoria bus station at exactly 2.00pm, I followed directions to locate Lewisham bus station to catch the next bus to my final destination. Thankfully, the bus arrived in about 10 minutes and the thought of reaching my final destination to see family, eat and rest in 45 minutes made me to get my fare ( in cash) ready for the bus driver .
I was to be utterly disappointed. I entered the bus and pointed my money to the bus driver but it was rejected. I was taken aback because back in Newcastle, payment of bus fare was done this way; giving the driver your money. Watching the other passengers pointing something that looked like a visa card to an automated payment system, it dawned on me that perhaps the transport system in London operates on a cashless basis. Feeling smart, I immediately removed my bank visa card but the system rejected it. Seeing my confused state, the bus driver informed me to get a BUS PASS, which I later came to know as Oyster card, in a nearby shop.
As advised I got into a nearby shop and finally got my Oyster card. I had to wait for another 30 minutes for the next bus. Finally the bus came and I was second time lucky. As if that ordeal was not enough, my phone went off making it impossible to reach or be reached by my cousin. I sat inside the bus terribly worried about what to do next as I did not have the address to my cousin’s place and also because my scheduled time of getting to Lewisham has been delayed and did not know whether my cousin had given up on waiting for me.
As soon as I got to the Lewisham shopping centre, my final stop, I started a search for a new battery for my phone and only got it after 30 minutes. Imagine the excitement in my cousin’s voice when I called him for he was so worried.
All I could think of as we drove home was a deliciously prepared Ghanaian meal, a warm bath and a bed.
Next time you are coming to London please make sure you have an Oyster Card or make arrangement to get one on arrival. Also make sure your battery is well charged if it is your first time or know the address details of your final destination.
About the Author
Kanton Nashiru Luriwie is Tullow Scholar from Ghana, who is currently studying MSc. Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the Newcastle University Business School.