My Life as An International Student
For context, my introverted extrovert perspective just explains me as an individual. Even amongst my group of friends, I may sometimes be the social butterfly or in lighter terms “the life of the party” (I enjoy when people around me have a good time and everybody is involved in the group), other times I shy away from human contact and interaction to find solitude in my alone time. This writeup is not about my day-to-day life but a summary of my experience, maybe helpful advice and things I did that helped me get through my new life. I am a masters student studying Environmental monitoring for management at Loughborough University.
I wanted to start with culture shock and how different things are or could be, but the first thing really is preparation to leave your home. There are various reasons why students pick schools and countries they would like to study in. The basic reasons being academic rating of the school, finances, accommodation, employment opportunities and many other things. For me, it was the listed above and commute to classes and market, size of the town (I am partial to small towns), access to church and importantly, I picked a country that I had extended family in, this last reason may not be important for everybody but for me, I wanted to be somewhere that I had someplace to call home and shut school or academics out when I felt overwhelmed.
There is a popular saying that goes “the easiest way to start a conversation in Britain is to talk about the weather”, the accuracy of this if I daresay is “spot on”. The weather changes very quickly. Being from Nigeria, all I knew was heat, the weather change in the UK is quite an experience. I remember wearing a long-sleeved shirt at the airport in Lagos and sweating profusely, then wearing my “thickest” hoody when they announced that it was time to start descending on the plane when we had arrived in London.
I remember shivering so badly while I was waiting for my train and how I ran to take a steaming when I got home. If you are travelling from a country with different weather patterns from your home country, I strongly advice to pack spares and small clothing items in your hand luggage to deal with the weather change.
Most schools organize airport pickup for students, some students find their way through train and bus channels, either way, it is good to properly plan out your trip and research your route before commencing your journey. The benefit for me for having family in the country I was moving to was that I had an aunty pick me up from the airport and show me how to use the train routes. Another thing I did before leaving home was watching too many YouTube videos about move-in days and student life on various campuses. These videos were both entertaining and full of very useful information that helped to deal with this stage of my life.