Hi everyone, it’s been some time since we last had a one-on-one. It’s hard to find the time to chat in this congested world of ours, but I yearn for these moments.

There’s no concrete answer to my absence, none at all. But I suppose I’ve been enjoying what’s left of my summer in the UK. Why? Well as most of you probably know (because you’ve been drawn in from my social media platforms), I’m flying off the Austin (not exactly) to attend the University of Texas at Austin for one semester.

I’ll get into how and why I chose to do this, but first let’s clear up the last 6 weeks where I’ve been away from Medium.

In that time, I have promoted my journalism career significantly. Starting my FB page and being more active on Linkedin. I have also been published three times since I last posted. One, was as part of a football blog where I discovered trends and stories relating to Chelsea FC. The second regards a climate-related piece I finished on the back of the President Nasheed article for a national magazine in Pakistan. Thirdly and most exciting of all, I was published as a co-author of an e-book on Amazon all about golf and my experiences. It was great to have a project that I had full reign and sole responsibility over because it helped me prove to myself that I can finish something. A personality trait that has ruined many projects over the years.

All three achievements were amazing to be able to be a part of, but I know that the future is much brighter. There’s always opportunities if you’re willing to look and display yourself. I’ve worked with clients from the United States, France, Israel and Malaysia; all whom would give me references in the future. Building a network of people, for me, is one of the most important things you can do as a writer and more importantly, as a human.

Apart from the journalism, I have visited Italy and saw 5 cities in 5 days as well as meeting friends before I leave. The charity road trip drew to a close and my best friend and I pooled all the money together and gave it to a charity called the Connection at St Martins. They work with homeless people to improve their life prospects whilst still exposing them to all the luxuries that we all take for granted. The healthy sum of £500 raised by 24 people will help the charity grow and expand their resources so the level of care can be heightened in years to come.

So… why Austin, TX and how did I get the chance to do this? I applied for the study abroad programme in November 2016 and I got the International Exchange Programme offer in early December 2016. I have been planning since then my arrival. I have my US visa (which was more than a headache to organise), I have my flight to the USA and have my accommodation secured. All I need to do is get on that plane.

The plane will take me from London Heathrow to International Airport Houston. Houston is a 2 hour drive from Austin and I will recuperate and adjust to the Texan climate with family before heading for university. The University of Texas at Austin is the home of the Longhorns, it was also the place where 3-time major champion and Champion Golfer of the Year, Jordan Spieth attended. The fanboy in me can’t wait to walk in the footsteps of soon-to-be golfing royalty. Not only that, I had learned Spanish for 7 years and I want to be able to develop my skills in an environment where it is most people’s second language. Being so close to the Mexican border (against Trump’s wishes), Texas invites a huge Latino culture and I can’t wait to interact with locals and university students alike.

I am going from August to December 2017 and I have no idea what to expect. As I have learned over the last few months, you can’t expect too much out of life and you must always keep an open mind. For the first time in 5 years, I had the self confidence in myself that I would receive the results I deserved. That belief pulled me through to smash my expectations.

What I hope Austin can give me is a sense of place in the world and when I come back to London, be much more appreciative of my life. Although I feel there is a lot of wrong in the world and I understand I sit in a privileged position; the thought of experiencing a new culture and environment always excites me.

I hope to update you all whilst I am in Austin, maybe even before.

Remember you are the best version of yourself and if you don’t believe it, who will?

Joint PhD Candidate Business & Management at Manchester & Melbourne| MSc UCL Science, Technology and Society | BA (Hons) QMUL Human Geography |