This new experience is amazing but overwhelming at the same time. I wish someone would’ve given me some advice before I moved here.
So, here are my 10 top tips if you’re new to the UK and want to have the best time of your life as an international student.
Get to know the campus really well before you start your classes. It’s important to understand how everything works, so if you find a tour of the library, the campus or the student union, don’t hesitate to do it. Trust me, now is the time to figure it out before midterm, homework or exams.
Join the international Instagram account of ARU, the University and the Student Union. There are different activities during the term that are published on Instagram, and you can get more information about topics that might interest you (especially the dog therapy, one of my favourites). Also, ask your classmates or teachers if your department has a social media account to follow, because there might be interesting information to look for there.
Exercise! ARU has a very well-equipped gym and there are different activities for everyone if you want to join a team. Also, the city is a quiet place to go running or to do some exercise in the fresh air. Parker’s Piece is a big place to work out before or after classes and it’s very close to the University. This is going to help you with stress :)
Check the weather app before going out. This is something I learnt here because the weather can be very unpredictable sometimes, so I’d recommend buying a good quality jacket, scarf, gloves and umbrella for it. You don’t want to get cold and wet in the rain.
Don’t leave the reading lists for your course to the last minute. Make some notes of the books you’re already reading because with homework can be too much do it by the end of the term. Grab a nice cup of coffee or tea and make some time to read those books already waiting for you.
Try to use your TOTUM card instead of your passport or BRP if you go out to a pub or club. These documents are very important and losing them could cause an unnecessary stress to your student life.
Try local food. I know you miss your hometown food, me too, so bad I want to go back just to have a huge table with my delicious Peruvian food. But here there are also good restaurants and markets where you can find international food and also the famous fish and chips. I would also recommend you try the tea in The Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester and desserts at the Fitzbillies bakery.
If your first language is not English, I’d recommend you follow the classes from the Language Centre Support and get to know other students as well as a way of improving your skills and getting out of your comfort zone. It’s the only way to get better at the language barrier, always try to communicate and sooner you’ll be able to improve yourself.
Work with a budget. If you organise yourself with your monthly expenses, it will make your life easier. Try to spend on important things and save for emergencies.
Lastly, don’t forget to keep in touch with your family and friends. Sometimes because of the busy student life we forget to send a message or to make a call, but they´re also on this journey with you. Like my favourite quote from the movie Interstellar, “Love is the only thing that transcends time and space” so be aware of that when you feel overwhelmed of this experience, you’re not alone. 😊
Fatima is studying Children's Book Illustration at ARU in Cambridge. To find out more about postgraduate degree courses and student life at ARU, book your place at a Virtual Open Evening.