Summary: Postgraduate international student Ria shares her experiences of moving to Leeds and how the facilities and activities on campus have helped her gain more independence.
I went through an agency in Barbados and I told them what I wanted to do - I wanted to do a degree that incorporated the arts and politics or development and Leeds is one of the only universities that actually offered a degree like this. I loved the sound of the course. I sent emails and I went on the website and it seemed to be a pretty warm and nice university. The feedback from some of the emails was really encouraging.
There was a lot of support to help me adjust to university life after moving from Barbados. The first week there were so many activities and we could get to know people - that's the big thing as an international student. You're leaving your home and coming to a place where you don't know anyone. The "Give it a go" activities and things offered by my halls and the University made it really easy to make friends and to get to know people.
Then we have Leeds for Life. I would say that it allows you to get everything organised - using the website makes it really, really easy. Everything seemed to be extremely user friendly for people who aren't English, who aren't from Leeds, who've never been to the University of Leeds.
I think Leeds is a really great campus. It's a really good university, the staff are friendly and warm and very helpful. The computer facilities are great and being able to go to a computer site just two minutes away or in a café, I thought that was really convenient and nice and I'm not accustomed to that. The library is extensive and really, really good. And having books available online is really convenient. It seems like everything aims to make it easier for the student to adjust well.
I think just being in Leeds on my own has given me more independence but doing this particular course, it helps me to focus where I want to be in the next five to ten years with my career and my aspirations. Also I'm meeting so many people from around the world and I really cherish that experience. I have joined the Korean Society here after I just got really interested in Korean culture; I’d really like to go back-packing across Asia. In the society they’ve been really embracing of people wanting to learn about their culture and country so that's been interesting. I also joined the Intercultural Ambassadors programme which is an interesting experience. It's teaching us to plan projects and to follow through on plans and make our ideas become reality.
For international students coming to Leeds you might feel some sense of trepidation coming to a new country, learning about a new culture and meeting new people. You may feel a bit anxious but don't be, just embrace it. The staff and students are really willing to help make that adjustment as smooth as possible and even if it's not that smooth, you still have people you can talk to. Just give it a try.