Life of an international student in the UK

04 May 2019 | Advice for International Students | Guest Author

I’m a second-year Speech Therapy student, coffee lover and cosmetic enthusiast. Leaving India to attend university abroad, after 19 beautiful years, was undoubtedly a tough and heartfelt decision. Known for one of the best student experiences in the UK, and its extensive commitment to provide an education like no other, choosing to study at the University of Sheffield was the best decision I could’ve made. Studying in a foreign country may seem daunting at first but it takes just a couple of days at university to adjust. The life of an international student in the UK is definitely packed with exciting new adventures that enhance learning and contribute towards a holistic student experience.

When I arrived in Sheffield two years ago I was welcomed by mesmerising shades of orange, red, yellow and brown scattered all over as summer gave way to autumn. The warmth and hospitality displayed by the people made me feel at home rather quickly. Whether it was a cashier at Tesco or a waiter at a cafe, you were almost certain to be greeted by a warm smile followed by a ‘you alright love’ in a classic northern accent! It was homely and welcoming - a perfect start to life as a student in the UK.

A typical day at University for me involves a good balance of extra-curriculars and academics. My mornings tend to be consumed by lectures, workshops or tutorials. Approachable and passionate professors supported my learning while the academic and pastoral support available at university helps me to achieve my goals. My evenings are spent at the library, cooking, participating in club/society events or doing part-time work, I’m an International Student Ambassador and a student fundraiser for the Development, Alumni Relations and Events team. With over 300 societies to choose from, there’s truly something for everyone! I’m a part of the Human Communication Society and have attended their socials, including fundraising events for Dysphagia, Down Syndrome and Strokes. As the current President of the Indian Society I have collaborated with other national societies to host events that promote friendships and facilitate the exchange of culture. I have also participated in the annual World Food Festival and the International Cultural Evening on behalf of the society.

The diverse student population has taught me what it truly means to be a global citizen, which is now a big part of my personality. In addition to making me culturally sensitive, it constantly reminds me to appreciate and embrace my roots while engaging in active exchange of values. Satisfying the foodie in me, from Polish pierogi to Puerto Rican ketchup and mayo, I’ve come to love it all! Let’s not forget the simple yet lip-smacking English cuisine that has become a major part of my diet, some loaded jacket potatoes or a side of buttery mash is always welcome! Nevertheless, spiced korma and garlic naan still tops my list ;)!

Last but not the least, the recreational opportunities in the UK are limitless. Home to the infamous Premier League, England gives one the opportunity to catch a football game in action and experience the exhilarating atmosphere and passion the fans showcase for their beloved sport. Football is widely watched all over the country, including on university campuses. Watching a game with a pint of beer and a couple of friends at a local pub is definitely a must-do activity at university! If that’s not your thing, take to the breathtaking British countryside where you could perhaps visit an Alpaca farm (my personal favourite) or just hike and enjoy the picturesque views!

These experiences and opportunities undoubtedly shaped my personality. Training to become a healthcare professional, I have acquired the finer skills of adaptation, leadership and communication. England has given me the opportunity to push myself and explore, all while increasing my employability. A vibrant and multicultural country, the UK lives up to its reputation of being student-friendly, making it the perfect home away from home!

 

This piece was written by Hitisha Doshi, a second year Speech Therapy student at the University of Sheffield originally from India.

 

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