From India to the UK: my first year as an international student

In the first of her blogs for THE Student, Arya Sharma explains how she settled into her first year at a UK university as an international student from India

February 14 2018
Indian international student in the UK

I first visited the UK on a vacation as a curious and impressionable 15-year-old in 2013. The rich culture of London, the beautiful highlands of Scotland and the sunny beaches of Wales fascinated me. Having lived most of my life in the South Asian subcontinent and the Middle East, I was enthralled by the liberal ways of British life. I decided then that I wanted to pursue my university education in the UK.

Fast forward to 2016 and I arrived in Bristol – a small, colourful and rich city that I knew very little about. I had gathered a lot of information about the University of Bristol – my course, the modules, the professors, the different clubs and societies – but nothing could have prepared me for what was to come.

The first couple of weeks were great. I met new people every day, visited landmarks, explored the posh neighbourhood of Clifton, and went to several welcome week events. Staying in catered university accommodation also helped me to make several international friends and form my own community.

But I had not realised that the changes that came with moving to a new country were not just physical, but mental too.

Five ways to make friends at university
How to deal with homesickness at university
How to choose a UK university
Best universities in the UK

After my first month, the homesickness kicked in. I started missing my parents, my little sister, the food and the warm, sunny weather. Accompanying the homesickness was the realisation of the expectations of being at university.

Having always studied an Indian curriculum, which is objective, learning-based and strict, I found it difficult to adjust to several aspects of the British education system. The freedom of choosing which lectures to go to, the highly subjective and thought-provoking discussions at tutorials and the extensive amount of reading I was expected to do caught me off-guard.

It was not until my first term exams were over in January 2017 that I could slow down and reflect on the things that I was doing wrong and the things that I got right.

The week after my exams ended, I realised how little time I had spent outside the university libraries and my accommodation.

So I tried new cafés in Clifton, and going for walks near the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. I also came to terms with the cold and damp weather of Bristol, developed a more appropriate style (basically replaced all my fancy cardigans and heels with raincoats and wellies) and started watching British TV shows.

I evolved socially too. I finally found the societies I wanted to join and took up the role of an elected representative of the Students’ Union. I overcame my initial fear of drinking and partying and stayed out until 4am one night, something I don't think I'll be doing again. I also realised the importance of staying in touch with my tutors and not being afraid of needing and asking for help.

Overall, my second term ended on a much relaxed and happier note than the first. I wrote my final exams in May and, before I knew it, I had finished my first year of university.

An international student’s first year can really affect and shape his/her university experience. I found investing in relationships in my first year very fruitful. I made some amazing friends and mentors quite early on in Bristol. I had their support while I learned to be more independent, take care of my finances, make important decisions, study better and so on. Had it not been for the people around me, my first year would not have been as good as it was.

Arya will be blogging her journey as an international student from India in the UK every month for THE Student.

Read more: The 10 most beautiful universities in the UK


Reader's comments (2)

APPLY FOR XAMS AND BUSINESS LOAN, PERSONAL LOAN NOW @ 3% RATE. Stress Free loan offer Needed Contact us today I am a private lender who give out loan to private and corporate individuals Have you been turned down by so many banks? Do you need finance to establish your business? Do you need finance for the expansion of you business? Or do you need a personal loan? My loan ranges from personal to business loan. My interest rate is very affordable and our loan process is very fast as well. I am very willing to make all your financial troubles a thing of the past. If you are really ready to get. your financial problems solved,Then search no further and apply for a loan today. If you are interested fill the DATA FORM so that i can give you my terms and conditions. Email: or on skype id: scottloanhomeplc whatsapp number +12677256478 * Full name:………………………. * Sex ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. We await your urgent response asap. email whatsapp number +12677256478 Thanks Kind Regards MR Graham Ferguson Financial Loan Company Managing Director ... / MD
This is real take it serious, who will believe that herbs can cure ten years HIV in my body, i never believe that this will work i have spend a lot when getting drugs from the hospital to keep me healthy, what i was waiting for is death because i was broke, one day i hard about this great man who is well know of HIV and cancer cure, i decided to email him, unknowingly to me that this will be the end of the HIV aids in my body, he prepare the herbal medicine for me, and give me instruction on how to take it, at the end of the two week, he told me to go to the hospital for a check up, and i went, surprisingly after the test the doctor confirm me negative, i thought it was a joke, i went to another hospital was also negative, then i took my friend who was also HIV positive to the Dr, after the treatment she was also confirm negative . He also have the herb to cure cancer please i want every one with this virus to be free, that is why am dropping his email address, email: whatsapp number +12677256478 do email him he is a great man. the government is also interested in this DR, thank you for saving my life, and I promise I will always testify for your good work. Dr. Okoka Fredick for the return of your ex boyfriend and also your ex girlfriend he can also cast any kind of spell like HIV AID, Love spells for men,Love spells for women, Lost love spells, Lost Love spells for men, Lost Love spells for women.... he is the best caster that can help you with your problems. DOCTOR OKOKA CAN AS WELL CURE THE FOLLOWING DISEASE:- 1. HIV/AIDS 2. HERPES 3. CANCER 4. ALS 5. Hepatitis B 6. Diabetes Regards, Your Sincealy, Dr.Okora Fredick Email: whatsapp number +12677256478

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Related articles