After the huge success of my guide for restaurants I thought that it would be a nice idea to present you with another guide. I have noticed that actually I am the only blogger who is an International student and hence my guide aims to give you a general idea of the life of a foreign student during the first year in a British University along with some general hints and tips on how to survive first year.
My apologies to British students who won’t match themselves with this particular blog.
• Studying: The first year in the University does not count towards your degree and therefore many students see this as a chance to study less and enjoy student life. In my opinion this is wrong as the first year is as important as the rest of the years and you shouldn’t underestimate it. For a foreign student, the 1st year is as difficult (if not more) as the other years because you have to integrate to a totally different environment and educational system than that of your country. This implies studying more and reading pages two and three times to understand them. You should take your time to learn how to study effectively, which method of studying works best for you and how to make efficient use of your time.
• Lectures: You will soon realize that UK universities do not have many lecture hours so force yourself to attend those few lectures. You will be greatly benefited. During the first few months you might find it a bit difficult to take notes if the pace of the lecturer is very fast or if you aren’t used in doing this. A recorder is always a good solution and in particular for the modules where the lecture slides are not very detailed. Our department has also implemented a recording system in one of this semester’s modules (Accounting) to check the reactions of students to this. If it proves successful then they’ll keep it for next year too and extend it to other modules as well. I find this very good and useful especially for foreigners who might have troubles in catching up with everything the lecturer says.
• Join as many societies as possible! Although this is might sound clichéd it is the easiest way to make new friends and therefore have a smooth transition. It is also lots of fun and very rewarding and I am sure, that you will soon realize that the benefits outrun the costs for joining/buying the necessary equipment. For International students there is the International student’s fair which is usually in the end of September (before Fresher’s fair) and which you should definitely attend. It’s your chance to meet other nervous students who want as badly as you someone to talk to and break the ice. Dare to be that one!
• However, you shouldn’t stick with students of your nationality. Open your horizons. You came to the UK to learn a new culture and meet students of different nationalities, right? Do not let this opportunity slip out of your hands. I know that the language can be a huge barrier but you should get over it soon. DO NOT be afraid of making any mistakes while communicating as I am sure that you will do! Nobody will ever mock you! I do make mistakes as well but I don’t care as it’s the only way to learn and improve.
Of course, as most of the UK universities, Leicester gives great support to International students as well. Whatever your problem is, do not hesitate to visit the Student’s Welfare service in the Student’s Union. They can give you precious advice and help for your accommodation, financial or other problems and support you in each step you take.