International Students – What to expect!

I am writing this letter for the young me: an international fresher at Coventry University. I am now a determined final year student who ‘knows how life works’. I want to share my experiences with others who are just like I was – young, free, with your head in the clouds and your heart left back in their home countries.

Being accepted into Coventry University seemed unreal, until September came round. I had to suddenly start thinking about what I needed to take to the UK. Packing was a real nightmare; figuring out what was essential and useful was one of the biggest challenges – I ended up bringing three suitcases (45kg each! – Luckily I didn’t carry them myself!). Saying goodbye to family and friends and promising to call as soon as my plane landed was heartbreaking too, but in the end, it has all been worth it.

It was raining, and dark when I got to Coventry that evening, England did NOT seem to welcome me with open arms. But the next day it was a totally different story! The sky had cleared, the sun had started to shine and my first thought was to go out and explore the city.  Where to now?

Learning the route to uni was important, then I wanted to try and discover as much of the city as possible. It felt so alive! Students were wandering around the streets, shops were open and bustling, live musicians played on every corner and club invites were handed to me left right and centre! I soon found myself enjoying the independence. I was excited about exploring everywhere  I wanted, the new people I could meet, the things I could do… the possibilities were so diverse!

I really wanted to practise my English, but sometimes I just wanted to avoid speaking it at all! Feeling self-conscious about my accent and being afraid of making a mistake was daunting at the time. I struggled to find my own words, without relying on the ones people prompted me to use. Luckily, everyone was very patient with me. I encountered a lot of British charm during those first few days!

The first week of uni was way beyond my expectations. We all took part in ice breakers and had many activities organised to allow us to get to know each other.  Freshers week was an amazing opportunity to put myself out there. I met so many new people – some of them have even become my best friends. Once lectures and seminars started, I found it very different from back home, however I chose to stop these differences from having a negative impact on my experience. You learn, you read, you ask others. I have learned that it’s not a crime to ask if you’re unsure about something or don’t know the answer. The more you ask, the more you improve, the better you become!

With time I became more confident, it was such a great feeling to be able to express my thoughts, opinions and feelings with others. These past three years at Coventry University have given me the chance to travel between cities in the UK, and to Australia and Jordan. There are so many projects, clubs and societies that you can get involved in. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in the spotlight – you might actually enjoy it!

love, Roxana.