It’s not always easy being an international student. Living, working, studying and making friends outside of your comfort zone is difficult, especially during welcome week. Whether you’re studying at UEA as part of an exchange programme or for your full degree, things can be tough.
You may have noticed how quiet and empty campus is, but that’s simply because the home students you’ll be living with don’t arrive until the weekend before welcome week (22-23 September).
Things are likely to get noisier as home students settle into their new lives by drinking and partying until the early hours. This may seem a little overwhelming. You may want to soak up a bit of English culture but some of their antics seem to baffle you.
If English is not your first language, or if you’ve come to UEA specifically to learn and improve your English, mixing with British students can be even more difficult.
British students may forget that your English is not quite as good as theirs and will often speak to you so quickly that you can only nod and smile back at them, not understanding a word they’ve said. There may also be jokes, TV shows and sports that you’re not familiar with, but your British flatmates will talk and laugh whilst you, again, simply nod and smile.
You might be ready to immerse yourself in the UK’s rich culture, but mixing with home students may be difficult. All too often it becomes easier to stick with students from your own country, rather than mingle.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The University has many programmes to help international students settle into life in the UK. One of these programmes is UEA’s Conversation Club.
The club meets every Tuesday from 6pm at the Vista restaurant above Blend, near the Square on campus. The Conversation Club is run by British UEA students who volunteer to help international students with any questions or concerns they may have.
Whether you have trouble with your English, making friends or fancy meeting other international students, be sure to join.
Joining the club is a great way to get settled in and find your feet at UEA. If you’re not sure what “find your feet” or any other weird English phrases mean, then come along and get an explanation.