When I came here from Zimbabwe I didnt know much about Leeds, so Ive taken all the opportunities I can to get to know the city and Yorkshire.
The University supports a host family visit scheme for students who, like me, are far away from home. This was one of the things I did when I was new. I had a meal with the family in their home and then they showed me around the city of York. They invited me to visit several times after that. It was great to be welcomed and to spend time in a family. I made a strong bond with my hosts and Im still in contact with them.
The University is close to the heart of the city, so its very easy to explore. I visited the Leeds City Museum, to find out about my new environment. I also visited the M&S Company Archive on campus, where I learned about this British institution! I soon found out that Leeds is well-known for its shopping opportunities. The Victorian shopping arcades in the city are especially cool.
I like sport and Ive visited Headingley Stadium to watch a rugby match, which pitted the University against local rivals, Leeds Beckett University. I hope to watch Leeds United (the citys football team) play in future too.
The Brudenell Social Club is a great not-for-profit music and social venue, where Ive heard several bands play and met people who like the same music as me. Ive also made friends through my church. Finding a place of worship was important to me, for spiritual and social reasons. But I didnt need to worry. There are lots of different faith groups around the city and on campus.
Ive enjoyed exploring places beyond the city centre too. Its not hard to find green space in Leeds. Roundhay Park, north of the city, is one of my favourite places to get away from my books. Its the perfect place to de-stress walking around the lake with friends and having a picnic when the weathers good.
Coming to a new environment can be scary but I think I settled in quite quickly. Now I really can say Leeds is a home from home for me.
The Universitys International Student Office takes part in the Host UK scheme, which offers international students the chance to spend a day or weekend with a British family. This is just one of many intercultural opportunities that the University offers.