Being an international student isn’t always easy in the UK, but I’ve got 5 top tips to make your life a whole lot easier!
I moved here when I was 17 to finish my high school studies and have decided to stay for university. At first, it wasn’t easy adjusting to a whole new country, but I’ve come up with a few ideas to help others feel at home here:
1. Be brave
It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and try new things! I’m an introvert myself, but I learnt that if I wasn’t willing to open up to new classmates, why should they? Try interacting with new people as this will help you develop new friendships. Trust me when I say that knowing you’ve tried and not succeeded is better than regretting not trying at all.
2. Learn the language
Many students who come here to study don’t have a perfect grasp of the English language and in my experience you can’t truly integrate if you don’t at least know the basics. I love reading, so when I first moved here, I bought several books to expand my vocabulary. It’ll really help your language skills if you look up the meaning of unfamiliar words in either novels, subtitles or song lyrics. You’ll then be more confident using them in future.
3. Go out!
As much as going to school with British students and being taught in English helps your language and socialising skills, you can learn so much by going out. You don’t need to go to the pub every night, but just taking a stroll around the city can be more beneficial than you’d think. Experiencing the wider world yourself will help you discover things you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
4. Find friends with similar interests
One of the most difficult things about moving to a new place is finding a new group of friends. I’d suggest starting small, like sitting with classmates during lunch or going to the cinema and grab a bite to eat. In my school there’s a large community of international students, so I also have them to hang out with. It makes me feel like I’m not alone in this new experience.
5. Be yourself
Never be embarrassed by the fact that you’re different from the others around you! I used to be very nervous when giving class presentations or talking with my classmates because of my accent and my different cultural background, but I gradually learnt that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Moving here from a different country has taught me that I’m unique. I appreciate my homeland culture more than ever, but I’m also proud of myself for having the guts to start a new life in a different country!