[Mixed shots of Kari Medalla studying in a library, speaking to other students in a social space on campus, walking around campus and speaking to the camera]
Kari Medalla: I was born in the Philippines, and then when I was four we moved to Japan, and then after I graduated we moved immediately to Singapore before moving straight here to Leeds and beginning University.
When I got my offer I had to make a few calls to the school, and that was the first time I phoned abroad to the UK, and talked to someone on the phone who had a British accent. And I thought “Oh my god, this is who I'm gonna be surrounded by for the next 3 to 4 years.” And that was exciting, but they were really helpful and they were really kind.
My first few weeks were pretty overwhelming, ‘cause everything was kind of daunting, moving to a new country and my mom leaving me behind. Everyone was really really nice on campus and even around the city.
I did experience some culture shock with, I don't know, the bus comes this way or you have to queue for the buses, but they are just little things and you meet some friends who are in the same boat so you kinda work through it together.
On the academic side, the University of Leeds are really supportive and understanding that oh you might be coming from a different structure or system that’s not similar to the UK. So they’re very supportive in that and they’re very patient and helpful and they will give you the support and assistance that you need.
But also on like the social side of student life, we have the union and I know that every single society is really open to having international students to join them.
The Intercultural Ambassadors programme is the volunteer programme that I was part of in second year uniting both international and UK home students together. I think that best part of that was meeting other students who are passionate about similar things. And then in my internship, I went from being a volunteer to managing the whole programme. So it was an interesting shift but it was fun to be on both sides.
The Link to Leeds scheme is this amazing scheme with amazing people and it’s basically a group of all international students that are currently studying at the University of Leeds. We do a lot of things to cover basically what it's like to be a student in Leeds. All of the students on that scheme are not only super smart but super kind and really inspiring as well.
When we first arrived, l guess all the ambassadors, I’m sure we all felt some sort of nervousness or some kind of fear, doubt, anxiety, and we dealt with that however we could, but because we've experienced it and we know what it's like, it’s much easier for us to sympathise with these prospective students.
I know that it’s gonna be scary, and it's gonna be really daunting but my advice is just try to look past that, keep yourself busy and take up whatever opportunity you can find, and don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes and to tackle the wrong opportunities. That’s all part of the experience. You will grow from it and that’s a part of being a student.