For this segment, we asked University students in the UK, for their top advice on settling into life at University. Life at university entails much more than just academics, as it opens opportunities to make your foray into the professional world, get a taste of living independently, and to develop other ‘soft’ skills which are integral to your personal development.
Settling into University is particularly difficult, granting the fact that international students experience quite a culture shock as soon as they set foot abroad. This is quite natural, as everyone takes time to settle in and to get attuned to life in a different country. However, you can make this process easier and more efficient by remembering a few things!
Asking questions and not being afraid to reach out will help you feel at home and solve any doubts you might have. Universities provide a lot of support for international students, with dedicated international student offices and officers who answer queries not just about university life, but other aspects of studying abroad as well.
A home is not a home without the people in it! Making friends is another daunting task, especially if you are shy, or you don’t feel comfortable picking up a conversation. However, this should not be a worry at all. The main thing to keep in mind is that keeping an open mind will enable you to appreciate the views and opinions of other international students. Even if you don’t find many people who you get along with in the beginning, it is completely fine. Quality over quantity as always!
Feeling homesick is but natural for any student. Sometimes, this can take a toll on your mental health as well. Universities provide dedicated counsellors who will listen to you, understand your problems, and suggest possible solutions. Again, reaching out will help lessen the burden on your shoulders. Some universities also offer dedicated 24×7 helplines, which can be dialled up at any time of the day if you need to talk to someone.
Next, try to step out of your comfort zone! The first week of university for freshmen is quite often called freshers in the UK, and the university authorities and Student Unions organise fun activities and team sports to encourage students to bond. Make sure that you participate in these and make the most out of them, even if you are not particularly good at something. Student Unions have quite a lot of societies which have their own specialities, so find your own taste and join!
University life is about making the most of the opportunity to develop yourself, and to step out of your comfort zone and make a career for yourself. Excelling academically will only be possible when you make sure that the other aspects of your life are well sorted!