Hi, my name is Prachee and I am an international student from Bangladesh, currently on my final year of (BA) Hospitality Business Management. As my university life is coming to an end, I keep wondering "what tips would have been useful to me when I was a Fresher?" With that in mind, I have narrowed down the top 6 tips (in my opinion) to get the most out of the first year of University.
1. Do not shy away from a ‘hello!’
The day before my induction, I was laid in bed stressing out about how I would make a friend in this environment, which was completely new to me. After all, all the friends I had back home were the ones I grew up with since I was 6 years old. But to my surprise it was extremely easy! All I had to do was just reach out and take the first step. We are still in touch with each other after all these years, even though we have gone our separate ways due to placements and graduation. A simple ‘hello’ really does go a long way.
2. Attend Welcome Festival and the numerous events hosted by the Students' Union
Make sure to stay updated with the events hosted by the Students’ Union or the International Office via the various social media platforms. Attending these events gives you a chance to meet and socialise with other students making it easier to form friendships. Moreover, you can attain amazing freebies while attending the Welcome Fair and other SU events. My personal favourite event hosted by the Students’ Union is HudCrawl during Welcome Festival. HudCrawl allows you to gain a great idea of the student nightlife alongside making it accessible to meet plenty of students who you can mingle with. It is a great way to just get out there and make new friends due to the high number of students attending these events!
3. Make the most of the student support available
Starting university and living away from home for the very first time can take a toll on many of us and affect our mental wellbeing. The University’s Wellbeing Services and the Students’ Union Advice Centre are impeccable and extremely helpful when it comes to supporting and guiding students during tough times. If you feel like you need to talk to someone and need help, you can always book in an appointment to speak to them and navigate through your troubles. The University also provide academic guidance for all students. You can always book in appointments with your personal tutor who can help provide guidance for your assignments. They are always more than happy to help you regarding your academic issues and ensure that you obtain the best outcome from the respective modules.
4. Explore local and ethnic shops for groceries from home
I love to cook Bengali dishes when I am missing home. So, before arriving in Huddersfield, I asked my mum to pack me small amounts of spices and dry ingredients so that I could cook Bengali food. Upon arriving in Huddersfield, I discovered that not only are there grocery shops with Asian spices in them but there are rather whole shops dedicated to the cuisine such as Dong Dong in town with all sorts of oriental vegetables and sauces; Khadim in Birkby with all sorts of spices from turmeric to fenugreek; McKinley in town centre with all sorts of various African spices, vegetables and groceries. So, my advice would be to save your luggage space and buy your ethnic spices/vegetable from the local shops in and around Huddersfield as it is readily accessible here. There are also plenty of supermarkets for you to choose from to do your weekly shops!
5. Join a Society
The Students’ Union and the International Office have a range of societies that students can get involved with. The Welcome Fair is a good way to spot majority of the Societies as they are there so that students can easily sign up to the societies of their liking. It is wise to integrate with these Societies as it gives you the chance to stay occupied with hobbies as well as have a memorable university life, as these societies host numerous events and organise activities throughout the year. I personally enjoyed being a member of an International Student Society; as I was the President of the Bangladeshi Society in the past which has given me multiple memorable moments due to all the colourful events we hosted through out the year to showcase our culture.
6. Avoid getting into lengthy mobile contracts
After arriving in the UK, one of the essential things to do is acquire a mobile contract to use throughout the years. In my opinion, it can be a lot of hassle and at times expensive too. Most international students cannot takeout contracts in the first 3 months of arriving due to lack of credit history anyway! My advice would be to just grab a sim card from the Students’ Union shop for free and buy a mobile plan best suited to your usage monthly. I also got given a few SIM cards as part of my goody bags during Welcome Festival. You can easily top-up your plan through an online app, at the Students’ Union shop or any off-licence shop in and around Huddersfield.