Studying in the UK — still the best decision you can make
Why should you study in the UK?
Hello! My name is Aurora Fernandes and I’m a second-year student at Nottingham Trent University. Growing up in Portugal was fun and great but I’m still extremely appreciative of my parent’s ability to allow me to gain an education in the UK. Right now, you probably have a lot of thoughts racing through your head especially of the pros and cons of studying in the UK. I understand it’s extremely intimidating making such a big career and life decision but let me assure you that the benefits are extremely rewarding. With the increasing connection between countries, knowing English is becoming more of a requirement than ever; it’s already extremely impressive for companies when they see an applicant who knows more than one language. Adding the fact that your education was gained at a UK based university will only be more notable; further highlighting your motivation, confidence and work ethic that allowed you to make such a decision.
You should be aware that there will be some challenges, I definitely faced them and many more students such as yourself too. I think it’s obvious that learning a new language might seem as a barrier to your education. However, if you have the motivation and desire to learn English there are plenty of online resources at your disposal and most universities offer additional support, alongside OK Student.
What about the less obvious challenges?
Making friends can already be hard sometimes and even more so when there are cultural and language differences involved. If you don’t take action, you will soon find yourself feeling isolated and lacking the traditional university experience which involves meeting new people! This isn’t to say you must meet new people and make friends, but it will be extremely handy to have a group of people that can make your time in the UK comfortable and more importantly, more fun! Having a circle of friends isn’t just beneficial for your personal life, it can help your education also.
Studying at university is already hard, the workload will seem daunting at first and you might feel overwhelmed. Friends and classmates can help, you can create study sessions and you will feel more comfortable in group projects with people that you know. More importantly, you would then have the ability and confidence to communicate with new people. Classmates are helpful as you can bounce ideas off each other, your classmates might know something you don’t and vice versa. This is a safety net that will be extremely useful, especially in your first year.
If you’re struggling to learn English there are many other ways to increase your language skills that don’t involve studying. Watching movies with subtitles, listening to podcasts, reading books and switching to English speaking YouTube videos can all be helpful to your learning. It’s still beneficial studying English in the same way you’d study any other topic, however implementing small daily changes that involve practicing English will help you develop your skills.
If you’re struggling to make friends most universities offer societies where you can participate in events and meet new people! Often these societies are thematic but they also can be about culture and countries. For example, I’m part of the Portuguese society. Your university might also create school year specific events such as First Years Movie Night. Participating in these events can improve your communication skills and help you gain new friends!