Adapting to Life as an International Student

Adapting to Life as an International Student
Moving away from home and traveling to study in a new country (even one as friendly as the UK!) can be quite a difficult transition. Even if it is something you have planned, prepared and looked forward to, the true reality of the change and the impact it has on you may take you by surprise. This applies regardless of the nation you come from, and regardless of the destination of your studies, even though some cultures are more similar than others because of geographic, historic, demographic and other connections.

One thing that many students discover is that the British climate affects them more than they imagined. Even some Brits complain of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and if you are used to a significantly warmer climate, you may simply find the greyness and general gloominess, especially during the winter months, difficult to adapt to. In this circumstance you may not be used to wearing the same style or amount of clothes as you are required to in the UK and you may find it uncomfortable to wear heavy winter clothing. Not every international students will find the British style of dress different in an uncomfortable sense but, in the eyes of some individuals, it may seem immodest, unattractive, comical or even just boring.

A similar but much more common is the British cuisine. Particularly if you are from a non-EU country, you may feel that the British food tastes different (whether because of the actual food or the style of cooking) or it may seem boring or over the top compared to what you are used to. Luckily most international students stay in self-catering accommodation and try to find a supplier of familiar food, and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. The UK food may not be to your liking but one thing you can’t accuse it of is having limited choice, with hundreds of different shops and restaurants offering food and supplies from almost every country in the world. Have a look online and see what’s closest but failing that, contact suppliers further afield and see if you are able to arrange postage of the items.

Probably the most common of all problems that international students face when adapting to the English way of life is the language. For those who’s first language is not English, you may discover that you miss your home tongue and dislike being forced to interact in a language you don’t fully understand. Even those who are fluent English speakers from what they learnt in their home may find navigating the various regional dialects a lot harder than they imagined. However, over time and as you adapt to your surroundings this will become a lot easier. It is important that you make the effort to learn the language and interact in that language as often as you can because the quicker you do, the more you will feel like you’re fitting in and in turn will start to feel a lot more at home.

English For International Students »