Exactly two years ago I was getting ready for my biggest adventure yet, studying abroad! I was excited and nervous all at the same time. My last few days before I boarded the plane were spent with my family and friends and it wasn’t easy leaving them behind. Starting university and in a foreign country at that is a daunting experience. The thought of not seeing my mother everyday kept me up every night. But don’t worry, it gets easier and it’s not all that bad. It’s a chance to meet new people from all sorts of backgrounds, discover your hidden talents and visit amazing places. I found that the most important thing during this process is to PLAN AHEAD! Unfortunately when it was my turn, I did no such thing and learnt from my mistakes. Which is why I have prepared a few tips for all you international students, I don’t want you facing the same fate I did.
First things first, do your Research. I don’t just mean your school and course. Research the city, where you will live. Find out about your neighbourhood, the shops around, sites to see. Familiarise yourselves with the transport system in the city, how will you move around. I know this might seem a bit trivial to some but not every country has a tube system. If I had done my research, I would have known that the school had an Airport Pick Up Service in place. Instead, my friends and I took an unplanned, expensive train ride to Leicester.
Secondly, it’s never too early to make new friends. There are lots of people in the same shoes as you are and meeting them is quite easy. There is a Facebook Freshers Group that will connect you with them, and who knows, you might just meet your best friend. I also found it easier to meet people during the International Welcome Week, which happens right before Freshers Week. It was less intimidating meeting other students who were going through the same thing as I was.
Lastly, be excited! One thing I regret dwelling on was how much I was going to miss home. I focused so much on the sad part that I forgot to embrace the great part about it. The part where I got to learn new things, see some beautiful places and meet amazing people. I would like to hear how you are preparing for uni in the comments section. Have a great week!