Choosing to studying in a different country is a big step (and, we think, very courageous!), especially if English isn’t your first language. We want to assure all overseas students of a really warm welcome, and a big commitment to helping you settle in.
Whenever you have the slightest question or worry, please get in touch right away with our Student Welfare Team - they’re there to help you! And here are our top tips for making a success of your overseas study:
1. Don’t let language be a barrier. If you struggle more than you expected, there are lots of things you can do. Have a chat with your tutors to explain that you need a little more help understanding what they want from you, and don’t be afraid to ask anyone to repeat anything. If you need extra language support or tuition, talk to Sheila Hirst by emailing her email@example.com or call into Room 216, Monday - Thursday at our Blenheim Walk building. And if you’re feeling low, just ask yourself how well you think English people speak your language! You’ll definitely come out top in that contest.
2. Ask for translations. Many government, local government or city council services offer leaflets translated into a wide variety of languages, or can offer translation services. It doesn’t hurt to ask if any are available!
3. Find other people from back home. Study’s important, but it can be doubly hard when it’s in a different language. Make sure you give yourself chance to relax—in your own language, if you can! See if you can find out who else is from your country, and whether there are any local clubs or cultural associations for people from your country.
4. Don’t become insulated. You’ll want to spend time with people from the same place or who speak the same language as you, but try to strike the right balance. You also want to absorb the local culture, meet English people, try different foods and improve your English language skills, don’t you?
5. Don’t be shy of making friends. People around you may be fascinated to know more about where you come from, so you’ve instantly got something to talk about. Why not offer to cook a speciality meal for housemates or coursemates, for example? Usually, people will want to return the favour, so they’ll cook for you, too!
6. Explore the area. There’s plenty to do in and around Leeds, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Many museums and galleries are free, as is looking at the countryside. Collect bus and train timetables, and find out how you can travel cheaply (there may be student discounts or frequent-user passes, and certain times of the day or week will be much cheaper than other times), and make the most of it!
7. Stay in touch with people back home. It might seem obvious, but friends and family are your support network, and you need them. And they’ll be missing you, and dying to know how you’re getting on! Stay in contact throughout your course, not just during the first few weeks—you never know when you’re going to need to turn to someone back home. They’ll love your photos of all you’ve been doing!