Hi, it’s me – Aphiwe, again and welcome back to a whirlwind of words!
I want you to feel as if you’re having a normal conversation with me, the only difference is that you don’t know who I am so don’t stress, there’s no pressure here. So sit back and relax.
I know exactly how it feels to be far from home, so I’m here to give some advice and also share my past experiences so that you don’t make the same mistakes that I did.
Meeting new people can be very hard, especially in a new country so this blog is for my fellow international students. I’ve lived in Canterbury for 8 months now and I’m still adapting to the city I’m in so please don’t feel rushed into getting comfortable and settled, take your time (I’m from South Africa by the way).
I’ll be sharing some words of advice and helping you avoid mistakes that I have previously made.
Here are a few things that I learnt when I got here:
You may feel out of place or uncomfortable and that’s totally okay!
You’re living in another country! First of all, I’m so proud of you for taking this brave step, it’s not for the faint hearted. Routine is key. It’s just a new home so you can take the routine from home and bring it to your new home. It’s important to have something constant within your changing environment. An example could be to write down what you want to do or achieve the following day so that there is structure. Have a balance between uni work and your social life.
Make sure that you choose your friends wisely
Sometimes the same friend you go out with will not be the same as your study buddy. You have a goal that you want to achieve in university but that does not mean that everyone around you has the exact same goals. So always have a plan B for yourself.
So one time, me and a friend of mine went out the night before our 9am lecture and to cut a long story short, she went to that 9am lecture and I didn’t, so always have yourself sorted and don’t make do what I did, be better!
Also, if you compare yourself to your friends or people around you, it will have a negative effect on your studies. You might find that you spend time with different types of people and that is a very beautiful thing as not only are you learning more about various people from various walks of life but these ultimately become your friends for life.
I’ve got friends from all over the world but the easiest way for me to make friends was at the Fresher’s Fayre. Have an open mind and enjoy the idea of people getting to know you.
Trust me, in order for this to work, you must be yourself.
Just because you are in a new environment, it does not mean you have to change anything about yourself, people who are meant to be your friends will accept you for YOU. They will understand what you’re going through and you guys can help each other move forward. You are not alone and remember that teamwork makes the dream work.
Canterbury is a student city so you will feel safe here
Safety is extremely important to me and I know it’s important to you, too. So knowing that I am gives me a sense of security and assurance.
Since Canterbury is a student city, there are a lot of part time job opportunities. As as international student, it’s very important to be able to know how to manage your finances and budgeting well. So I would recommend (and this is only if you have enough time throughout your course) getting a part-time job. Not only does it give you some pocket money but this can build up your CV and future references.
Something that could also make you feel at ease is the fact that the Augustine Library is next to the Kent Police Station so if you’re having a late night at the library, you won’t have to feel like you need to leave earlier for safety reasons. The library will become your safe haven. If you seek financial security or are looking for a job, you would find these places within the library.
This is just the beginning!
The blog’s end is near, but have no fear! I will be posting another blog next Monday (Part 2) where I go into depth about all the things you might need to do before coming to Canterbury, regarding how to cope with the immigration processes and moving etc. This was just an introduction so that you are comfortable with me and what I say to you so stay tuned.
This was a good chat, I’ll see you soon.
If you want to learn more about being an International student here at Canterbury Christ Church University, keep looking out for my blogs!
You can also visit the International pages on our website.