Starting a new year is exciting. A new semester. A new you. What could make it more adventurous? Starting the year in a new country!
If you are stepping into 2020 as an international student in the UK, I welcome you! Coming to the UK has allowed me to start over and make some decisions that have taken me to where I am now. I still struggle to feel at home sometimes and I still feel a bit shy in places full of British people, but I know one thing: I am not the same girl I was when I first came to the UK.
I want to share some of the joys of starting out as a new international student…
1. Living on your own and making decisions.
I know it can be scary when you have just arrived and see your new room full of boxes and suitcases. “Now what?”. It takes time to find your own rhythm and learn how to take care of yourself, but you will get there! Cooking meals, doing your own washing and remembering to buy toilet paper don’t sound that glamorous, but they are just the first few steps towards a whole new story. It’s time for some growing, shall we?
2. Re-inventing yourself and your hobbies.
Climbing, boxing, horse riding, acting, swing dancing, painting… They are just a few of the things I never imagined myself doing. Coming to a new country will give you so many ways to re-invent yourself and opportunities to learn new hobbies! The best part? You will find so many other international students wanting to try new things along with you.
3. Celebrating more of your own culture and identity.
I had always been scared to stand out in the middle of a crowd. I just wanted to blend in, but that’s a bit hard when you are the one that looks and sounds different. Becoming an international student encourages you to be proud of who you are and your differences, to embrace your culture and not to be ashamed to share it with your new friends. You might experience that not everybody is keen on making you feel ‘at home’, but remember, only close-minded people would not find diversity beautiful.
4. Finding new opportunities.
Since I arrived, I have wanted to learn how to use my own talents to earn some money, even though I am still a student. I’ve had the chance to teach my own language (Spanish) and get paid for it! I am so grateful for my students and their love for my language and culture. Why not try sharing your talents with the world and see if you could earn something while doing it?
My friend, I hope you have many wonderful experiences as an international student. Remember that nobody said it would be easy and it comes with difficult experiences, but I guarantee you, with a bit of patience, this can become one of the best seasons of your life!
Welcome to the UK, are you ready to make some memories?