International Student Stories #2 - From Munich To DerbyInternational Students
Choosing a University From Overseas
I graduated High School in Munich, Germany, but after I graduated I knew I wanted to study abroad. I wanted to do a very creative degree and I wanted to do it in English. So the cheapest option for me was the UK. And that’s how I got to Derby.
I’m not going to lie; I was terrified before I moved to Derby. The problem with being an international student is it is very hard for you to attend the open days at Universities that interest you, and you are less likely to know someone who went to that University in the past. So you rely on judging through the Internet, through student forums and what the University websites and their social media platforms show. In other words, it is a lot easier to miss the negative points that you would usually pick up on by being there in person.
While I was looking at my University options on UCAS, I prioritised certain things which helped me know what I was looking for. For instance, I wanted to be sure the course was very practical and less theoretical; I wanted to have a lot of options regarding joining societies so therefore have a strong Student Union; and I wanted it to be a safe city to live in.
Anticipation and Arrival
After I accepted my unconditional offer at University of Derby I began to try and plan my arrival. I guess you could say I was a keen bean, because I started to try and figure this out in May. My only issue was that I had no clue how to plan this arrival, or what to do. The closer the date of my flight came, the more I started second-guessing my decision. Why didn’t I just stay at home, where I knew what to expect?
Looking back now, my anxiety was completely unnecessary. I made a list of things that I had to get done, but most of things I was only able to do once I moved to the UK. With excitement and a little bit of fear I anticipated the date I flew out, and the packing list grew longer and longer as I continued looking on the blog posts the University has for Freshers.
The University was very good at communicating to me my options via e-mail, be this regarding accommodation or the pick-up service they offer from the airports. This calmed me down a fair bit, as I knew how my travels would go, and I knew I would have a roof over my head once I arrived.
I flew out on my own, and as soon as I arrived I was glad to see that I was not alone. The thing with University is you think that it will be scary because it is something you’ve never experienced, but in reality everyone around you is feeling or has felt the same way. Making conversation with the other international students at the airport was super easy, and I already had added a few on Facebook so that we could share events and plans with one another.
First Day in Derby
After being dropped off at halls (I was in Princess Alice Court) we were given an itinerary of the first week (aka Freshers Week) and in our rooms we had a welcome pack. To my surprise I found my bed made, kitchen utensils on my desk, a welcome box with a program of what was going on during freshers, as well as some food.
My flat was empty because I arrived the night before the moving in day, which gave me a chance to arrive in peace and quiet for one night. The next day I left to go meet the other international students at St. Christopher’s Court for a tour through town. I was very nervous to go because I didn’t know anyone, but just like at the airport, as soon as I got there everyone was very open and happily socialising.
We walked through the city and to University. During this tour I knew that I had made the right decision. Everything was similar to what it looked like on the Internet, and after having been given an induction we were supplied with NHS numbers and other documents that we would need during our stay.
By the time I got back I had been added into an “internationals” group chat and had made plans with some people for that evening.
Freshers and Beyond: Support Systems For International Students.
Looking back now I don’t know how I managed to stay awake and somewhat healthy (freshers flu – it’s unavoidable) with the busy schedule I had. In comparison to my flatmates I had a lot more opportunities of doing things every day because the Internationals made sure that we had regular meet-ups such as predrinks (every Friday at Princess Alice common room) and day trips that were offered to every student by the University.
Through all of this I was always given the feeling that I have a support system within the University, which made my move to a different country as nice as possible. So if you are wondering whether or not to come to Derby, or just checking to see what happens when you do, I can tell you you’re in very good hands. There’s no need to worry or be scared, because at the end of the day you will soon realise everyone is in the same boat and feels the same way!
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