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10 Ways To Cope With Being An International Student

Whether you’re come from across the channel or halfway across the world, moving to a different country to study is a big step. You miss your family and friends, and until you adjust to your new environment it can be hard for a while. When I moved to England from France at the beginning of my first year, all I wanted to do was go home. But even when you’re homesick, or miss your mom’s home-cooked meals, there’s always something you can do that will make life easier in the long run. Here are my ten pieces of advice that may help you if you’re an international student. 

1. Get a cheap and reliable phone plan!

We all know this feeling. Suddenly, you’re in this new place with all new people and all you want is to be back in your own house with your family. Finding yourself a good phone plan that will enable you to call home and keep in touch with your folks will help with the homesickness. Never underestimate the value of Skype with unlimited mobile data!  

2. Join societies

Becoming a member of a society may seem like a daunting task, but it’s a great way to meet new people, and they might even like the same things you do! Make the most of being the interesting international student, because people will always have questions for you. 

3. Find other students from your home country 

University campuses are big, so there’s always a chance you’ll bump into someone from the same place. You could also join the International Students Society if your university have one, which would give you a chance to use your native language and meet other foreign students.

4. Make friends with your housemates!

This is a pretty obvious one, as they’ll be your first point of contact when you move in. You’ll be living with these people for the next year, or even longer if you’re not a fresher, so getting along with them is super important.  

5. Explore your campus fully in your first week 

Knowing your way around your university campus is essential- you don’t want to be late for your first lecture! Exploring the town/city nearby is a good way for you to know your surroundings better, and even find your new favourite coffee place!

6. Do your coursework…

This may also seem like an obvious and redundant piece of advice, but for students who are new to the country, and therefore to a new education system, it’s good to get stuck into the work early on. Try and enjoy it at the same time, although that’s not always guaranteed… 

7. Find out about student support services 

All university students -whether English or international – need help sometimes. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or go see someone if you’re feeling down. I found seeing the campus councillor made it a little easier for me to get on with everything, as it allows you to track your progress and take those crucial steps towards self care. 

8. Make your room comfortable and homely 

This will probably be one of the first things you do when you arrive. Whether you live on campus or have independent accommodation, your room is a safe haven, and you should feel able to curl up, relax, and be as comfortable as you need.

9.  Try not to stress

This one is easier said than done. It’s normal when you arrive in a new and strange place to suddenly find yourself worrying about everything, big things like money and grades. However, try not to focus soley on your worries; remember the good stuff, like your fun course-mates, or the Freshers Ball memories you made. The most important thing is that you enjoy your new life!

10. Take your time

Everyone goes at their own pace, so don’t worry if you see other students from abroad adjusting faster than you are. I’m in second year, and I’m still adjusting! As long as you remember that you can always go home if you want to, and that on campus you’re surrounded by all the support you can find if you need it, you’ll soon find yourself absorbed into your university life. Enjoy!



Molly Griffiths

Exeter Cornwall '18

I grew up in Paris but was born in Ireland to an Irish mother and a British father. I'm literally obsessed with movies and literature. I also love animals and discovering new things.
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