My advice for new international students
Lisa, third-year BA Management, Leadership and Leisure student from Austria, shares her best advice for international students coming to the UK to study.
1. Everyone is in the same boat
As a student coming from abroad and having experienced living in a foreign country on my own for the first time, I think the best advice I could give to someone starting university is to remember that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is experiencing this for the first time, and everyone is overwhelmed, excited and perhaps a little bit scared about what university and living away is going to be like. There are students coming from so many different countries with different backgrounds and stories, and all of them find themselves together in Manchester surrounded by millions of new impressions. Remember that Manchester has a massive student population so you will encounter so many different types of people that will inspire you in many different ways.
2. Don’t be shy to approach others
That being said, don’t be shy to talk to people, be open, kind and approach other students actively. They might just be as scared as you are about making new contacts and actually will be thankful that you made the first move. Indulge in conversations with students from abroad and learn about their culture and views on life because it will ultimately enrich your own views. A university friend once told me that the advice he got before starting at the University of Manchester was to “be like a sponge – absorb everything”. And that is some brilliant advice.
3. Be like a sponge
Thus, – and you might have heard it a million times already, but it is true – the first few weeks will be the ones you will remember forever. They are very likely to be the most exciting ones because there are so many new things you will explore and discover which can also be exhausting at times. Try as many things as you are able to during fresher’s week but don’t put pressure on yourself or give in to peer pressure. Likewise, don’t have the fear of missing out on some stuff. You still have at least 3 years to experience the city with all its offerings.
4. Engage in societies
At the same time, your first year is the year where you have most free time and the academic workload for some is not so much yet. Joining all the societies that interest you in your first year will give you the possibility to discover your interests and follow those in the subsequent years. Joining societies is also a great opportunity to meet likeminded people. And amongst the 300 societies that the University of Manchester has to offer, I am sure there is something that interests you – and if not, it is very simple to just found your own society.
5. Stay on top of your academic work
Next to a new social life you will also experience a new level of academic study. Therefore, it is vital to stay on top of your university work in order to enable a good balance between your study and free time. I would recommend going to all of your lectures and really pay attention to the content that is delivered. It will help you to understand and remember things better when you are revising for your exams because you can recall what has already been said in the lectures before. Most importantly, make use of the academic teaching staff. Approach them, have conversations, discussions and ask them for help if you are struggling with a topic or the workload. Even if you think your problem is small, they are there to help you.
Being open and stepping out of your comfort zone will eventually enrich you with a diverse and adventurous first year and will make you stronger personally as well as academically. And don’t forget to be like a sponge. All the best!