From EU to NTU: Tips from an International Student


A year has passed since the Brexit referendum, but even after the UK decided to leave us, students from the EU are still very welcome here.

Deciding to come to the UK is a brave and carefully calculated decision, however, as much as you prepare, there are always things you don’t anticipate. Coming to NTU changed my life for the better and I am very happy with my decision. If you made the same choice, be happy, you’re in for a treat.

Now that you have your unconditional offer, along with the excitement, fear kicks in. But that’s normal. Everyone has to go through that change and most of us get to the other side happier and stronger.

Let me give you some insights to how your life at NTU will look like and point out some of the challenges you will most likely encounter. Maybe that will help you reduce the fear and enhance the excitement. It’s better to know what’s on your way so you can be better prepared. Let’s start with the obvious one:


Language

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If you don’t speak English on a regular basis, no matter how good you think your English is, you will have some trouble expressing yourself in some situations.

For me, understanding others (I’m mostly referring to native English speakers) wasn’t a big problem. Even if you don’t understand something, people are very friendly and understanding so they are happy to help and explain the meaning of problematic phrases or slow down the conversation.

The troubling part for me was jumping in the group conversations with native speakers. The conversation moves fast, and if you can’t sort your thoughts instantly and say what you want, it gets too late too soon.

That can be stressful and it easily leads you into a trap of surrounding yourself with people from your country or other international students. I’m not saying that’s necessarily bad, but it doesn’t give you a real challenge (or should I say opportunity) to excel in your speaking skills.

After some time of struggle, you will notice that words come easier and things get better. You will be proud of yourself for taking the harder route.

Maybe you’re asking yourself how are you going to find any friends and people to talk to in the first place and the answer to that is simple:


Societies

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Every fresher guide/article/video will tell you to join societies and that’s because if you don’t you are missing out a lot! There is something for everyone, and even if there isn’t that specific thing you are into, you can eventually create your own society.

First things first – join an existing one. Every society (or sport club) offers a multitude of opportunities for spending your free time. And just remember that every fresher is there on their own, so meeting someone is inevitable.

Be yourself, relax and by the end of first few weeks you’ll be a part of a group of interesting people that all have something in common. And most likely, you’ll find friends for life.

If you’re having problems relaxing in social situations, don’t worry, English culture has the solution:


Alcohol

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Of course, it’s not just English culture, but here, things are on another level. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting drinking. It would just be naive and false to tell you it’s not an important part of everyday life.

You’ll be fine if you don’t drink, just figure out a way how to handle bunch of drunk people on the…


Night out 

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Where I’m from and in other places I visited, people start their nights out after 8 or 9 PM, sometimes even later. But here, things are a bit different.

Pre-drinks start around 6 PM and depending on the occasion, you either go on a bar crawl or pre-drink until you can barely walk, call an Uber or actually walk (if you can) to the club. Nights finish around 2-3 AM if you’re not a real party animal and find an after party to crash.

Some nights are messier than others, but I think every Trent student will agree that Wednesday night is the most special one.


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Official clubs and societies night out. What makes it so special is fancy dress. And if you’re imagining well-behaved people dressed in suits and night gowns as I used to, you can’t be further from the truth.

Might be because of my exposure to American English, but contrary to my belief, fancy dress doesn’t mean dressing for a fancy party but rather dressing in costumes.

And to quote an anonymous genius: “If people at Trent spent half as much time doing coursework as they do on their fancy dress, Trent would be number one University in the world!” Come by on Wednesday night and see if that’s true. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely a thing to try.

If you’re not into partying, don’t worry. You can meet some lovely people from all over the world at…


Global Lounge

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There are two actually. One in the city centre, just opposite the Students Union, and another one at the Clifton Campus (MAE building). Lovely staff, board games, enough space to chill and best of all – FREE COFFEE.

You will appreciate that, especially on cold days when you have some time to kill between the lectures. Check out their schedule, because there are a lot of activities available.

Usually, there’s a free lunch every Tuesday as well. Apart from all the free stuff, you might meet someone interesting and who knows, maybe learn a foreign language.

That’s it in a nutshell. If you want to know more about coming to NTU, check out our other articles here! Also, we would love to see you as a member of Fly FM, if that’s your thing. Once again, be proud of your choice – NTU is a great university and Nottingham is an amazing student city. Best of luck and see you at the freshers fair!

 

Written by Ivan Brajkovic for Fly FM

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