international students

My experience as an international student in the UK

Whilst the experience of studying abroad can be extremely beneficial for self-development and further education, it does also come with many challenges that are not always easy to overcome. As an international student from Poland, I struggled with multiple things when I first came here, so I think it’s really important to open the conversation about it so that you feel less alone!

In this article, I’d like to share with you some typical challenges international students might face, as well as ways to overcome them, mostly based on my experience 😊

1. Homesickness and loneliness

Moving to a completely new country by yourself (but even if you come with a friend) can be an extremely daunting and scary experience. You have to find new friends and make your new study town your “home away from home” – feeling homesick and lonely is absolutely normal!

But luckily, the University of Lincoln organises countless events and activities where you will be able to put yourself out there and make new friends. For example, the Students’ Union regularly arranges day trips to multiple cities in England – such as Leeds, York, or Birmingham. Or if you’re a LIBS Student, I highly recommend keeping your eye on the LIBS100 funded trips – I went to Killarney in Ireland and it was awesome! But these are just a few examples – make sure to be checking the Global Newsletter out every Monday, as our wonderful Global Experiences Team always has countless interesting things to get involved in (Coffee Catch-ups, Global Certificate and more!).

2. Language barrier

If you ever struggle with a language barrier, please know that there’s nothing to be ashamed of – you don’t have to be speaking perfectly and I’m sure that everyone is impressed by the fact that you know other languages!

But there are some ways to make you feel more familiar with a different language – what helped me was watching tons of videos or movies, listening to my lecturers carefully and learning from them. There’s also English Language Learning Support available at the university where you can register for various workshops for international students.

3. Finances

As an international student, I’m not eligible for a maintenance loan, which means that I have to cover all the living expenses by myself. But luckily, I was able to find a part-time job that supports me throughout my studies – this requires time management and organisational skills, but if you find a flexible employer, you should easily be able to manage studying and working at the same time. There are always some opportunities available at Campus Jobs so make sure to check them out regularly!

Apart from that, you should also check the available Scholarships and Bursaries at our university to see if you’re eligible for any!

4. Different types of education

The education system in the UK is a bit different from what it looks like in my home country, but luckily for me, that was a change for the better! I’d highly recommend you to research the differences to find out what is expected from you in England. Before each assignment, make sure to speak to your tutor so that you know the requirements and marking criteria.

5. Culture shock

If you struggle with a culture shock, my advice is to surround yourself with other international students. This will reassure you that you are not alone, but also you will get to understand other cultures and differences. Treat being in a different country as a one-of-a-kind experience that will open the doors for many opportunities – but also stay in regular touch with people from your own country!

But most importantly, remember that you can be really proud of yourself for studying in a different country – this is a huge achievement so keep embracing it!

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