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An International Student's Journey

Smrithi Kumar Student Life

International Student Journey ImageThe decision to study abroad is always a tough one. Moving away from the place, people and environment that you perfectly fit into to a country with unfamiliar streets and strangers can be daunting. So here’s an article that will help you calm those jitters as you apply to different universities abroad.

The first and foremost thing to do before applying abroad is obviously to check quality of education and placement opportunities of the course that you will be applying for at the university. Look up university rankings, alumni and reviews. I spent enough time weighing my options.

Spend a good number of hours on google raking up all the reviews, structure and assessment related material about your course.

Next look for a university in a city which is considered a student hub.  Newcastle upon Tyne has been voted the UK’s Best University City by MSN Travel Guide. Did you know one in every six people is a student in Newcastle? Add to it the friendly nature of its Geordie crowd and your university options scale already starts tilting in the favour of Newcastle. The city is large enough to be exciting for those explorers while small enough to make others feel at home.

The one thing I noticed while doing my own bit of research before applying to Northumbria was the number of events the Northumbria Students Union organises and how it plays an essential role in helping new students socialise and make new friends. Their posters for fresher’s week, international parties and other events were impressive.

As I love travelling I was particularly excited by The ‘Fast Friends’ event which includes a couple of international students travelling as a group to places around UK and exploring. It seemed like the best way to find like-minded friends. Since I moved to the UK I have gone for a few of these trips including Edinburgh and Durham. They were absolutely exhilarating and fun and I made a whole bunch of friends from around the globe.

Northumbria has a large number of clubs and societies which not only help you hone your skills but also make friends with similar interests who will last for a lifetime. And a couple of good friends are all you need to keep that evil called ‘homesickness’ at bay.

Also consider looking at the university’s infrastructure. I was swept off my feet when I heard that Northumbria has a huge 24/7 library that is ranked alongside Cambridge. For a book worm like me this revelation was enough to ensure I was filling up forms for Northumbria University. It also has an enormous Sports Central, a social space and big well-lit classrooms and studios. It has very good technical and IT facilities as well.

As Newcastle has so many students, you do not need to worry about starving while at uni. Other than multiple pocket-friendly restaurants and bars, Newcastle is dotted with multiple outlets of Greggs, Prett-A -Mangers and Tesco’s to help you pick up a quick meal or make your own. The university itself has multiple cafeterias near each department and a shop. So be convinced that food of any kind - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, vegan will be no hassle.

Some quick tips:

  • Book your accommodation as soon as possible as the best ones fill up real quick.
  • Read up about university for visa interviews
  • Arrive at university with an open mind and no expectations and your journey will be amazing.
  • Arrive early at university to give you enough time to settle into this new environment.
  • Get durable food from home to help you through moments of homesickness and craving for your cultural cuisine.

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