It has officially been two weeks since I landed in Arlington, Texas for my nine month stint as an international student. I know as far as being ‘international’ goes, I’m only really half way there. I’m lucky enough to not have the language barrier that many international students face, and there are broad cultural similarities between America and the U.K. which have helped me feel more at home than I perhaps might. Never the less, being an international student has still been very difficult for me so I decided to write a post based on my experiences that might help incoming International students at the University of Leicester.
Meet People Trust me, I am an introvert so I know this is very difficult. However just meeting people and talking to them will help you feel less alone. It will help you get to grips with the cultural similarities and if you’re being taught in a language that is not your first it will help you practise your language skills.
Be open to new things You will find yourself having to be flexible in order to set in. I’ve become a member of the International Students Incorporated group which is a religious group based on campus that runs trips and has Friday night socials in American homes. It’s nice to meet other international students, American families, and have a home cooked meal however if I’d have discounted it based on the fact it is a religious group (although I have nothing against people of faith I myself am not religious) I’d have never had those experiences.
Be Patient So my first full day, I paid for a taxi to Walmart to purchase the things I needed for my dorm room. However the night I moved in to dorms, there was a trip to Target as part of the Maverick Stampede so had I waited just one day I could have saved myself quite a bit of money. Don’t rush in to everything at once when you first get there.
Do the things that make you feel like you In your home country you have things that make you feel like ‘you’. You are known to friends and family as a certain thing, but your new friends don’t know about any of that. So tell them! If you play the piano, find a place to play the piano on campus. If you like reading, take your favourite book so you can spend time reading it (you never know, you might find someone else who has read it).
So, now you’ve seen my tips I’d like to hear from any international students at the University of Leicester who may have their own tips – let me know in the comments!