Vasim Shah – International Postgraduate @ UoM talks about his experience being a new international student and his tips so far.
I can’t forget the day when read my letter of acceptance to the University of Manchester and went around the house shouting in happiness that I have been admitted to one of the best universities in the world. Being a computer science student, Manchester University was the both the birth place of the first programmable computer and an institution where Alan Turing worked! The reputation and opinions of the graduate recruiters ranking it well above charts, Manchester United fans, friendly people, and international research ties have made this university climb to top 50 spots in the international world rankings.
- Understand the importance of an international degree, never sell yourself short: When you are going anywhere across the globe, people will appreciate that you went out of your comfort zone to a culture you never knew, to blend in with an international/multi-cultural student population and survived there. That is a very big achievement and it will help you understand that you are able to fly as high as you can only if you are willing to give what it takes!
- Make an international Friend circle: You will always cherish and appreciate the differences and become more tolerant of people’s attitudes and living styles. Plus, when you will think about in the future, you will surely have a friend in every part of the world to be thankful for.
- Get the best out of Manchester: Getting to know a country takes a whole lifetime, and you have limited time here. Explore as much as you can, but don’t let it spoil your studies/dreams.
- Complete all the university procedures: There is international check in, key collection, opening bank account formalities, getting your ICard ready, paying first installment if you did not do it before, and city tours. Get it all right.
- Learn to cook food: I can’t stress this point enough. New types of ingredients, commodities, spices and tastes you will enjoy the cuisines, but sooner or later it will get boring or become a hindrance to your budget. You can save about half the money if you learn to cook and it will be a habit of lifetime.
- Learn to manage your money: You will obviously have a plan in mind when you come here but believe me it won’t work out as you thought. You might end up paying more somewhere, you might not like that place you moved in, you may have clashes roommates, you might want to move over to a different community or some new problem might come up. Please allocate some extra for your first month later when you settle in, things might get better. Embrace Change, handle it well.
- Learn to manage your time: This is big issue you will face after you have come here. Make time-tables, write notes, note what events are there at what day, how many hours you will sleep, how much time will go on travel, cooking and meeting new people. Follow this over the whole year.
- Travel/Shop: Yes, you will have packed everything but there will atleast be something you missed out, don’t worry Manchester has everything you want. But keep track what shops offer the best discounts. Students get loads of discounts on different things at different places.
- The academics starts from week2: This was something that really scared the hell out of time. But now that I have settled in I think I can manage it very well now.
- Talk to your family: The family members will be worried right from the moment they waved you goodbye. Buy a budget-friendly SIM Card, let them you are OK and settling in well and that they don’t need to worry about anything.
- Work part-time or volunteer/join a Sport: Don’t do it necessarily for money, but to gain skills and become independent. Also maintain your hobbies, they are good stress busters over a stressed schedule. It will also help make your CV better.
- Be a bit boastful and proud: You are at one best universities and city, visit a lot of places, upload pics on facebook/instagram, tweet simple life lessons you learnt every day. Don’t criticize, be optimistic.
- Visit the Manchester Museum, City Centre, Manchester Cathedral, local markets, malls: Well these are my choices because I love history and modern malls. You might have made a different one before you arrived here. Make sure you do this before. Record every instance you feel you will miss in future. Don’t forget take a lot of pictures, but enjoy your life too. Don’t be too occupied with anything.
- Attend all the wonderful events/parties, join societies: These are places where you will meet those of your kinds. Welcome parties help you settle in better. Moreover, you will understand what you need to contribute to become a better member.
- Some Challenges that made me stronger, more optimistic and understand the power of beliefs! Yes you will definitely find a lot of problems, who doesn’t. But you get to decide if the problems that will come will make you or break you. You will become a better person only if you want to believe you can.
I just realized one important thing after staying here for about a month now, only 11 more months will never be enough to get the best out of this wonderful country.
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