Around this time last year, I started to collect information about the International Welcome Week (=International Students Welcome Programme) and to decide whether I should go. You feel hesitated? Then I gladly share some of my experience:
- I got to meet a lot of people -who were pretty much as scared as I was.
I have just arrived to a whole new country and I felt completely alone. Yes, I knew that I wasn’t, but still, I couldn’t help but felt all on my own. This feeling lasted until I started to participate in the programmes, because there I could meet people with whom I had at least one thing in common: we were all strangers from outside the UK and we were all about to settle into an entirely new culture. As soon as I met a few people, everything got easier. Because it’s much more fun to get lost on campus with someone on your side, than all by yourself…
- I received useful information about… well, basically about everything that is needed for staying alive in the first few weeks.
By “staying alive” I mean I got information from the tiniest things -like where to buy food on campus- to the more serious ones which are literally connected to my health and wellbeing, such as which dangerous areas to avoid after darkness or how to register with the GP. The arrangement of these issues in England are not necessarily evident for a foreign person so I was quite relieved when the Information Talks provided a very clear, detailed guidance.
- I participated in some awesome programmes.
Really, there’s a wide range of programmes which helps you to meet people and have some fun in the middle of the “whoa-I-just-arrived-stress”. Among others, I went to a funny Meet&Greet event, a bus tour in Leicester, a film night and an Irish folk dance thing, called Ceilidh (yeah, it took me some time to learn how to pronounce it.)
Truth is, I don’t always socialise easily, so I was pretty nervous before these programmes. But I managed not only to stay alive but to enjoy myself as well. So if you’re thinking of going or not, I do advise you to do so because that way you won’t feel such an alien by the time the Freshers Week starts. You find all the information on the University’s website. Don’t forget though that you might need to do some booking online, in advance. Good luck!