I’m Sruthi, your Vice President Education Welfare for the High Wycombe Campus, some of you might have seen me already in my previous roles, and for those who don’t know, I’m also an international student from India. I did my post-graduation International MBA at BNU.
Coming from a different country to a new place, with new people, culture, and language, can be overwhelming at first, Being an international student from a country where English is not the first language was a bit challenging during my initial days but I would say once you are here never shy away from asking for help as no one will expect you to speak as fluently and perfectly as native speakers.
When I first came to the UK, it was quite difficult for me to understand the accent and terms used by people but watching English news channels and TV programmes helped me to overcome the language barrier a lot.
The next challenge would be the assessment styles which might be a bit new for some of you. There are not many examinations in the courses, instead a more practical approach, including essay writing and presentations, is used. There will be your course team to help you and if you need additional help you have a student learning and achievement team on campus to help you with writing. The one piece of advice I would like to give you is never to opt for shortcuts by buying your essays or cheating on your work, which will be extremely inappropriate and risk your student status as well.
Finally, the culture of the UK might be extremely different from your home county so I would always recommend trying to be aware of those differences. Some behaviours may be considered different here and not only would that leave a bad impression on you as an individual, but also the whole international student community.
Tips to consider before you arrive
- Language barrier - watch some news channels and movies or documentaries with subtitles which will help to improve your listening and reading skills at the same time. Try to speak in English to yourself for practice and don’t worry about making mistakes as you learn from them.
- Jet lag - find out the time difference in advance and start scheduling your routines according to the new time zones at least one week before to reduce the impact of jet lag.
- Transactions - try to get a travel Forex card (a preloaded card that allows you to access money in a foreign currency) which is helpful to do your transactions in the UK during the initial days. Also especially helps to get rid of confusion on currency and balances.
- Don’t forget to bring food items, which you may find expensive in the UK compared to your home country, if they’re aren’t restricted at the airport.
- Luggage - don’t forget to double check the luggage allowances as some airlines provide extra luggage allowances for students.
- Electronics - don’t forget to bring adaptors for your equipment as some of them are incompatible with UK plug points.
- Clothes - bring necessary clothing if you think it's more affordable in your home country as some of the clothes, specifically winter ones, could be expensive here.
After coming to the UK
- Complete the enrolment in the first place and don’t forget to bring the necessary documents. If you do need help or are unsure about anything, you can speak to our freshers’ helpers who are all around campuses in orange uniform.
- Don’t delay applying for your National Insurance (NI) number as soon as you get your BRP card and register for your nearest GP, which is dependent on the closeness to your accommodation or campus.
- Academics - Never shy away from asking your tutors for help and, if you need additional support, please reach out to the student learning and achievement team as they will help with the best tips and guide you with essay writing.
- Procrastination - Don’t postpone your academic work for later. Start as early as possible to complete your work and always schedule your work and study in advance to avoid last-minute rush and stress.
- The Students’ Union - I got so much out of my time with the Students’ Union and would recommend getting involved as much as possible. There are opportunities for everyone at the Students’ Union to make new friends, improve themselves professionally, and try new things. It’s also all free so make sure to utilise it as much as possible.
- Representing - as an international student all of your actions are practices could affect the whole community. So, always think twice before you act and be responsible at all times.
- Making friends - try to make friends by attending various socials but don’t force yourself to do something that you are not comfortable with, whether it’s drinking, going out, or night parties. There will always be people with similar interests to you and the Students’ Union is a good way to meet them.
In my last year, I was elected by the students to be your Vice President Education and Welfare for the High Wycombe Campus. I now get to support students during their time at BNU and it’s not only me; the Students’ Union has a full team to help you throughout your journey at BNU, and an international student society is in place to make you feel like a community.
Also, as your full-time officer team, you can always come and speak to us as we have an open-door policy. You don’t need to make an appointment to see us and you can just pop in. We have a whole range of events planned for you throughout the year which you can find on our what’s on page.