Top Tips for International Students
Bristol SU’s postgraduate officer Shubham Singh travelled from India to study MSc Gender and International relations in September 2016. Shubham offers his advice on how to deal with the challenges that come along with moving to a new country.
Welcome to Bristol! I hope you’re all excited for what is going to be one of the most memorable experience of your lifetime.
Information and guidance
A couple of years ago, when I first travelled from India to the UK to do my masters, I prepared myself by going through the arrival pack from British Council, International Office and UK Council for International Student Affairs to make sure that I could hit the ground running. Here you can find relevant information related to what to bring with you and what you can expect here in the UK. Some things I think worth repeating are:
• Bring all your documents in both physical and digital format.
• Check out if you have the charging adaptor which will work in the UK.
• Set up a bank account in the UK. And with the guidance provided at welcome lounge, you will be able to set up account easily.
• However, it’s also important that you bring at least £300 with you as setting up a bank account may sometimes take a week or so.
• It rains very often here so it’s important to prioritise water-proof clothes while packing.
It is one of the most happening time at University. There are loads of exciting and interactive events happening and it’s a great opportunity to make friends. When I went to the International Students’ Mingle, I found it very helpful to speak to fellow international students and talk to them about moving to a different country. Though we were from different cultures, I found it easier to connect to them because we were going through a similar journey so had many similar interests, issues and aspirations to talk about. Check out all the international students’ specific events here.
Another great place to meet other international students would be Bristol International Student Centre (BISC). BISC organises good range of tours within and outside Bristol. They also organise regular evening meals from 14- 25 September. And your first meal is free!
Clubs and Societies
The most important day in Welcome Week would be the Welcome Week Fair on 28th September. In this event, you will get the opportunity to meet load of exciting societies and clubs which you can become a member of. I joined Best of Bristol Lectures Committee and also got into the Badminton Club. They provided a great platform to make friends while enjoying what I liked doing. Also, being part of clubs and societies gives you the opportunity to develop new skills. While organising Best of Bristol Lectures, I got the opportunity to host several lectures and enhance my public-speaking skills. So, have a look here at range of clubs and societies and look out for them at the welcome week fair.
English is different here
Here are some terms and phrases that you may not be familiar with, but are frequently used here:
dodgy- something wrong
cheers- thanks you
Quid- 1 pound
Fiver- 5 pounds
Alright? – Hello, how are you?
Love/darling/honey- a friendly way of addressing someone
Beef – some sort of conflict or unsolved business within two people
There are probably tons more and you will discover them with time.
When you’re in a different country, you can be tempted to feel that you are representative of your country and culture and sometimes feel the need to challenge stereotypes people hold about your country and culture. Don’t let this ambassador-feeling drain away your energy and prevent you from being what you want to be. Feel free to be yourself!