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Settling in: an international student perspective

Choosing to study in the UK for your postgrad studies is a great choice because of the quality of education you receive here. I chose Sheffield and really enjoyed my time here, but I definitely had some problems adjusting to my new environment. Here are some of the problems I faced, and some tips that helped me to settle in:

Forgetting directions:
This has to be the first problem I faced, since I am not good at remembering directions! I used to carry a map in my hand at all the times during the first few weeks. It was difficult at first but after a while I could find my way around more easily. The good news is people here are really friendly; even if you are lost, you can always find someone to help you with directions. Also the key is to keep wandering around, then you become an expert in finding locations!

Finding food options relevant to my taste and culture:
I had come to UK from Asia, and thus I have a particular taste, this is why I prefer to cook myself. Initially it was difficult to find all the spices or meat I would like, but with help from my housemates and course friends, I realised that almost everything I need for cooking Asian food is available here. You just need to wander around your area to find the right shops!

Communication issues with housemates:
If you are living in a shared house, it is very likely that you may have communication issues with your housemates, as they are often all from different countries and you may not fully understand what you are trying to say in the beginning. Some might not be very co-operative too. If this happens, try to have a friendly chat with one or two members of your house, try to get to know them because the more you talk with each other about what’s worrying you, the more you can all come to the same page. Just be respectful and open to suggestions.

Getting to know the study structure at the University:
This is a challenge for many international students, such as the grading procedures and assignment criteria, myself included. I sorted it out after reviewing all the course handouts of each module and highlighted the important information about the course structure, and within few weeks I was able to cope well with my studies.

There may be many challenges at first in your study period and it is all a part of process. Just be patient and keep trying. You will surely get there! 

Maha Sohail, MSc Architectural Engineering Design graduate
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