The process of picking the right university is often a difficult task. Choosing the best course, working on your grades and writing personal statements are all vital components of ensuring that your embarkment on the path of higher education is fulfilling and worthwhile. A factor that is not always at the forefront of everyone’s worries is location. For most, the prospect of moving into student accommodation is a welcomed thought that opens up the world of independent living and self-sufficiency. However, what happens if the university that best suits you is not a 2-hour drive from your current residency but rather a 2-hour plane journey? How easy is it to settle into an entirely new country and culture while still being overwhelmed by the daunting world of university? In this short article, I will try to provide some helpful advice on how you can make the most of studying abroad!
1. Explore your surroundings – Whether you are getting ready to commence your year abroad or you have just decided to move to a new country as a way to achieve your desired diploma, I would suggest that you take some time prior to the first week of lectures to go out and explore your new neighbourhood. Most students tend to do this around the time that their chosen universities host open days. This provides a good opportunity to get familiar with the campus while not having to dish out too much money on travelling back and forth just to see the same location twice. Additionally, I would suggest treating your soon-to-be-home as a holiday destination. Dedicate a week to sightseeing while not forgetting to also do a bit of scouring to find the closest shops and libraries. Doing so should help to get you settled in and take a bit of stress away from those first most hectic weeks.
2. Get to know others in your situation – The University of Greenwich is proud of the fact that it is a global university. Between the years of 2015 and 2016, 19% of all students listed their domicile region as either in the EU or overseas. This means that it is highly likely that you will not be alone in your situation. Make the most of international societies and events to ensure that you are more likely to find likeminded individuals. Remember, it is always easier when you’re in a group!
3. Immerse yourself in the culture – There are countless ways to improve your knowledge and familiarity with the new culture that you will inevitably be a part of. From books to films, don’t be afraid to have fun when learning and getting ready to enter a new chapter of your life. Your personal experience will always be different from what others will tell you or what the media will represent, but using the countless resources available have the potential to hopefully calm you and aid you in your preparations.
4. Most importantly… HAVE FUN! – Remember that university life is not just all about studying. It is often the case that partaking in extracurricular activities and making friends is what helps to motivate us to do better in exams and lectures. Being in a new country will allow you to meet and interact with an immense array of people from different walks of life so don’t forget to be open and ready to make your student life at university a fond memory to last forever!
I hope that this article has helped you to reaffirm your decision to study abroad, and as a student at the University of Greenwich, I will welcome you with open arms and wish you an unforgettable experience!
By Bogna Bućko
The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.