My International Student Life
By Lauretta Osubor
It seems like only yesterday when I started a new chapter of my life as an international student in the United Kingdom. Although it’s not my first time in the country, October 2019 was the beginning of a new experience living in a city where I knew absolutely nobody.
While still applying to study for my Master’s, there were a few things I considered: the university’s standard of education, the distance between me and my family and the opportunities that would be available when I eventually graduated.
The University of Chester wasn’t my first choice, but it offered my dream course; MA Journalism, and I loved the fact that I wouldn’t be too far from my sister who lived in Warrington. But most of all, the job opportunities for students after graduation was what sealed the deal; I did some digging and I liked the fact that several alumni from the University were doing well in their various fields.
I know about some Universities where students do not have the luxury of meeting their lecturers face to face, so I was pleased to know that students and teachers at the University of Chester have a good academic relationship.
My first few weeks of student life were a bit of a struggle. I moved into student accommodation where I had to get used to living with complete strangers (I have always lived alone) who were also my housemates and I had to learn to tolerate people better, also sharing personal space I would normally have all to myself. I remember feeling lonely and crying myself to sleep some nights when I felt home sick and there were times when I would call my parents back in Nigeria just to hear their voices (I must have called every day, lol).
Being an African, it was a bit disappointing that there weren’t any African restaurants in Chester, so occasionally I had to travel down to Manchester or Liverpool to buy some African groceries to cook with.
Getting a job as a student wasn’t as easy as I thought. I probably attended two or three job interviews before I finally found the right one that wasn’t time consuming or stressful (with good pay too).
Still, the best part about student life is that you get lots of student discounts on shopping, food, movie tickets, train rides, bus fares, concert tickets, health and beauty.
Sadly, with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, my student experience – as well as every other student in the UK– has been put on hold, and although I don’t know how this might affect my studies, I am still positive that it will all be over soon, and I can return back to school.
Life as an International student – why I chose Chester. Some tips – what life here is like.
By Shaleena Ashutosh
Going to University in the UK is a great way to expand your knowledge, meet new people, experience a new culture, and enjoy new experiences. Whatever your interests, there’s a huge range of clubs, societies, student circles and several opportunities that await you to meet various students from all over the world. You have an opportunity to understand the teaching techniques, assessment methods, student-academic relationships followed in various countries vis-a-vis your own country and how it adapts to the methods followed by a British university.
One can choose from 50,000 courses in more than 25 subject areas in the UK. The duration of the UK courses is generally more condensed than in other countries, helping to reduce overall tuition fees and accommodation costs. It is possible to work while you study too. What you end up evaluating the most, maybe more than your course, is that you can make friends for life.
As a student of the University of Chester, which has the reputation for being one of the UK’s most internationally diverse universities with students from all over the world, I myself, have had an opportunity to meet and make friends with students from across the world. Living with International students has led me to detect differences, as well as similarities in social, academic and cultural views.
Attending university itself is a challenging concept, so moving away from your own culture and into a completely different country is even more challenging and exciting and enables you to understand the world better. Globalisation is an unavoidable trend in today’s age. Students nowadays have more and more chances to interact with the students of the whole world. Students study abroad to gain more advanced knowledge. More interactions happening mean more information exchanges. More information exchanges bring the result that more knowledge and wisdom are shared. As more and more knowledge and wisdom are shared, humans are walking forward together.
You adapt to positive attitudes towards other cultures to achieve intercultural communicative competence. Several of those positive attitudes include respect, openness, curiosity and diversity and discovery.
Having visited London, Manchester, Preston etc., I find England is a beautiful country, but it is extremely expensive. You will realise that time management plays an important role since you would have to allot lots of your time to your study with tests, assignments and exams and visits to the library, interaction with your academic tutors, so you may not always find time to work part-time that easily. However, many students do have an opportunity to take up part-time jobs since it is paid well and helps reduce one’s living expenses. Lecturers and professors are so very helpful and friendly and encourage and guide you in your study that you automatically learn a lot and perform to the required standards.
Chester, in the UK, is a beautiful, lovely place with an incredible mix of international cultures and contemporary thinking, held together by a strong sense of identity and tradition. You will find an array of exciting experiences and will have an opportunity to discover exotic places and meet new people. You can visit traditional museums, contemporary art spaces and galleries; sculpture, painting, video and photography are widely available. Lots of Roman-built structures, churches, lots of eating joints, a clean environment and good roads!
The food you can buy reflects the many ethnic influences in British society. Asian food is also available. Most supermarkets sell ingredients from Asia, Africa, Latin America etc. The British are increasingly healthy eaters and there is a wide range of organic produce available in shops and supermarkets. You have an opportunity to cook and share a traditional meal from your country with other students from across the world and it’s a great way to make friends. Kitchens are a luxury with all the facilities, and you will enjoy cooking your very own country’s food and sharing with others and make friends too.
A bus is the best way to travel as it the cheapest mode of travel. For me, train and bus travel attracted me the most and are world-class. You have an opportunity to live on budgets and yet enjoy the best.
I chose the University of Chester for my postgraduate degree in Journalism since I found the subjects taught are of interest to me and I will also get an opportunity to get practical experience with media and print and will be in a position to make a good career thereafter. I am particularly interested in fieldwork and to write stories for print media. I had an opportunity to work with the Chester and District Standard for a short time and was given an opportunity to write some stories which were published, and I am immensely grateful to the University of Chester for such exposure. I chose the University of Chester since the fees after scholarships suited my pocket, and living costs like accommodation etc. also suited my budget. Needless to mention the teaching staff are so very good – more than I could imagine! Excellent! Chester is away from the hustle and bustle, pollution-free and somehow, I simply love Chester!
Some tips for Indian students after you get admissions and accommodation and arrive at Chester-
1. Make sure that you have made pick-up arrangements at the airport well before your departure from India.
2. Ensure you are carrying all documents as required both in original and their copies.
3. Carry suitable clothes to suit the English conditions.
4. Make good friends and settle well soon.
5. Familiarise yourself with the city – supermarkets, eating joints etc.
6. Open a bank account and understand the banking system. Learn how to use your cards.
7. Learn to cook before coming- basics at least because it helps you to save lots of money.
8. Know how to operate a washing machine.
9. Give importance to time management.
An international student: life in Chester
By Lei Chen
I came to the University of Chester and started my postgraduate career because of an exchange programme in October, 2019. Life is different in Chester every day. The beautiful natural scenery, clean urban environment, quiet city life, natural and diversified living environment made me deeply fall in love with this city. Studying and living in Chester has been a joy for me.
Chester is a city with a long history which is full of humanity. Here, you can stroll around the ancient city walls to feel the solemn and historic architectural styles of the city, or stroll over the River Dee to enjoy the sunset and the church with a Gothic style. You can also walk into the most visited zoo in the UK, getting close to nature and enjoying your leisure weekend. For me, buying a cup of tea, sitting in the city centre which is full of Victorian architecture, and feeling the slow pace of life, is the most enjoyable time.
Compared with London or other big cities, Chester is more suitable for people to live. It’s a city which is far away from the hustle and bustle, and you can have a more comfortable and leisurely life here. Besides, the city has convenient transportation. It’s less than an hour’s drive away from Liverpool and Manchester. No more than three hours from Chester to London by train. Also, the prices here are relatively low compared with London which is suitable for overseas students to live.
As a Chinese student, something that worried me most before I came to the UK was the eating habits. However, living in Chester, all my concerns related to diet were solved. There are so many choices for international students, such as international markets and Asian supermarkets, where you can buy ingredients from all over the world. In addition, for students who don’t want to cook by themselves, they can also taste different kinds of tasty food at local restaurants. The diet here is also diverse, from British food to Italian, Chinese or Thai food. As an international student, you will always find the restaurant which suits you best. If you are a Chinese student, I would like to recommend Panda Mami, which is a Chinese cafeteria. You can enjoy authentic Chinese food for lunch for a very favourable price. For students who like English food, the fried chicken hamburger of Nando’s and the pancakes of Hanky Panky are also indispensable.
Studying at the University of Chester, you will experience the British learning atmosphere. Compared with some colleges and universities in London, the international students here are fewer. You will get along with your British classmates and teachers most of the time, which would be a great opportunity to assimilate into local studies and life. In Chester, there will always be opportunities to practice and use English everywhere and experience authentic British English, which will improve your English while mastering professional knowledge.
Compared with Chinese universities which pay more attention to theoretical teaching, the education of British universities is more flexible. I deeply appreciate the unique teaching model of the UK at the University of Chester. Tutors usually encourage students to think and express their opinions critically in class, and this cultivates the learning ability of students and helps them to think independently, and enhances a student’s self-confidence in learning. In addition, the University will also organise some practical activities to encourage students to participate actively and to enrich their extra-curricular life. In addition, the relatively low tuition fees and the scholarships provided for international students are also an important reason for me to choose the University of Chester.