Haleemah Alaydi

MA Writing for Performance and Publication

Video transcript: Being a postgraduate international student at the University of Leeds.

I chose Leeds because of my course and the cultural diversity of the city. You could say it’s the home of international students, with lots of creative things happening in the city. Applying was very simple and easy and the International Team advised me about the visa process and timescales.

Before I arrived I was worried, but it was fine. I booked the Meet and Greet service, which meant students from the University met me at the airport, answered my questions and took me to a taxi. I felt very welcomed.

International Week was good for getting to know the University and the city. I took some workshops with Skills@library about referencing, note-taking and research skills and writing. This helped me because the teaching system is different at home, so you need to adapt.

The weekly Global Café in the students’ union was one of the first things I went to. I met so many people from all over the world. It’s really lovely – you talk to lots of people over biscuits and tea, and find people with the same interests as you. I’ve joined societies that match my interests in poetry and the spoken word and met friends there.

I receive a [British government-awarded] Chevening scholarship too and every month I organise a meet-up with other Chevening scholars studying in Leeds. I have friends from so many different nationalities. The University isn’t just British, it’s global – it offers everyone the chance to practise their interests, be themselves, and to become international.

Local people are very friendly too. I did a Host UK visit, where I spent the weekend with a British family in Sheffield. My host showed me around the city and I tried some local dishes, including Sunday dinner with Yorkshire pudding. She introduced me to her daughter and her granddaughter. I loved every single thing about my visit. We exchanged so many meaningful conversations and you can see, regardless of the differences people have, we’re very similar – everybody wants to connect and get to know each other.

I’m also a Link to Leeds ambassador. This is a service to help prospective international students find out about life at the University of Leeds. We answer their questions in emails and live chats, and I write blog posts for the website. I really enjoy this work. I want to share my experience to help other international students.

My advice to new international students is take advantage of everything the University offers you - clubs, societies, volunteering, the city and culture. Some people focus only on their studies and then go back home, but I think being a student is about connecting and finding out about a different culture.