It is never easy going to university 6000 miles away from home. You have to make adaptations to both your personal and academic life. As an international student, it was much easier for me when I figured out the key ways to survive.
As I’m not from the UK, I sometimes find I haven’t heard about an example a lecturer refers to in a lecture or seminar. My tutor suggested I start reading local newspapers and magazines to familiarise myself with up-to-date issues! I’ve found that I understand a lot more of the references in class, have more examples for my assignments, and learn more about culture in the UK. It also helps me to improve my English, and stay connected with the real world.
Movies are a crucial element of digital culture, therefore media students do get screening lectures. Apart from the compulsory films, I’d recommend international students spend few hours at the cinema every week. This is the perfect way to keep up to date with contemporary movie culture, and also to treat yourself. The best thing is… the cinema in Newcastle city centre offers half-price tickets every Tuesday. Alternatively, there are cafes in town that hold movie nights, so you can socialise as well as watch classic movies. My favourites café is Quilliam Brothers’ Teahouse which is practically on the campus!
It would be great if you could get a placement opportunity or part time job that is related to your subject area. One of my course-mates from Asia became editor of the campus newspaper and others host radio shows at the school radio station. However, even a part-time job in a local restaurant could help you to understand and blend into the local culture. Not only that you would improve your communication skills, you would also understand the working environment in the UK. The Careers Service can help you find a part-time job or placement. They also offer placements in local business as part of the Newcastle Work Experience (NWE) scheme. Watch this video to hear about one international students’ experience.