Being an international student can be stressful in itself, but add to that the pressure of starting in January, and it can seem overwhelming. But there’s no reason to stress about it – here at ARU Students’ Union, we are eager to help you feel at home. Here are some tips to help you settle in, and enjoy your new home!
Get everything ready
If you prepare everything for when you move to England, it will feel much easier. Get your plane tickets booked, sort out what luggage you can take, and make sure everything in England is sorted out such as transport to ARU, and your accommodation.
You might also find it useful to start to prepare for your course, getting course materials and any stationary you might need. If you can get a head start on any reading, it will help you feel organised, reducing your stress.
Bring something from home
It can help you feel more comfortable in a new country if you bring something from home. It could be anything that you have a sentimental attachment to, whether it’s a stuffed toy, a poster, or a favourite film. Something you can look at to remind you of home will help you to settle in, and make your new place feel like home.
Learn your family’s favourite recipes
If you’re used to eating certain foods at home, it might feel strange to start eating different food. If you learn to cook what your parents cook at home, you know you’ll be able to eat it whenever you want. Get them to write it down for you so you can always enjoy the comforts of home.
Explore your university city
Once you arrive, and you get all your belongings unpacked, it’s a good idea to explore the city you live in. Get to know where the supermarkets are so you can get your shopping. Find local cafes and restaurants you can go to and try their food. It’s also nice to find a spot where you can hang out, whether it’s a gorgeous park, or a spot by the river. Have fun, and take loads of pictures to send home to show your family where you’re living! We've also got Campus and City Tours you can come along to for free! Find out more on our events calendar.
Meet your tutors
You might find it useful to meet your tutors before lessons start, so you can discuss any of your concerns with them. They will be able to help you, or point you in the right direction with anything you’re worried about. You can also meet with them at any point during the year if you need help with any of your course work.
Find out where you can practice your religion
There are plenty of places you will be able to practice your faith, with many churches, mosques, and other places of worship in Cambridge, Chelmsford, and Peterborough! Cambridge and Chelmsford campuses offer quiet rooms for prayer or reflection; Peterborough doesn’t at the moment, but will find you a space if you need it. The chaplaincy run many events in Cambridge, Chelmsford, and Peterborough, and provide support for any issues you may have.
Keep in touch with home
It’s totally normal to miss home when you’re studying away – and you’re not the only one! Even students from the UK miss home when they move away. To avoid homesickness, it’s a good idea to stay in contact with your family and friends from your own country. You might want to look into a phone contract which allows for international phone calls and texts, or provides a lower rate. Skype is also a great resource to keep in touch with people, as is social media – so make sure you have the internet set up in your student pad!
Join a society
Joining a society is a great way to get involved with the university community. There’s so many societies to choose from, and if there isn’t something there that you like, you can make your own! It’s the perfect opportunity to meet likeminded people and make new friends.
You might find that the best way to make England feel like home is to make a difference in your community through volunteering. We have loads of volunteering opportunities you can get involved with, and there really is something for everyone. It’s also a great addition to your CV, and a way to build on your skills. You can get certificates for the time you put in as well by setting up a volunteering profile!
Check out what’s going on
There’s always plenty to do in the city and on campus. Check out the ARU Students’ Union calendar to see all the events we’re hosting, and things you can get involved in. We do a lot of trips and events you can join in on, perfect if you want to visit different places around the UK and get involved with things you might not do otherwise!
Are you an international student and think that we could support you more? Why not email firstname.lastname@example.org today.
We know that you will soon settle in by following these tips!