My experience as an international student at UoN

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Hey everyone! My name is Sami Hawari and I’m an international student from Jordan currently undertaking my final year of my Law LLB degree here at the University of Nottingham.

I have been here for the past 3 years and have had an experience of a lifetime; however, it was not an easy journey and I faced a lot of difficulties in the beginning. Having lived my entire life in Jordan, which is located in the southern part of the Levant region in the Middle East, I had a hard time adapting to some of the many differences between both countries. For example, the food, weather, culture and general atmosphere were some of the main issues I would grapple with on a day-to-day basis that not only took me a while to get used to, but also to understand and incorporate into my daily lifestyle.

Arriving in Nottingham as a shy and timid 17-year-old kid, I had never truly experienced life in the West and so didn’t know what to expect; therefore, I knew that it would be a very rough and intimidating start. On a regular basis, I would have trouble interacting with people around me, because I would be afraid of what they would think or say about me. I would also be deterred from starting conversations with others out of fear of mispronouncing words or mixing up certain phrases. Due to these negative thoughts and fears, I would occasionally suffer from homesickness and anxiety resulting from my inability to cope with the environment I was in. However, with time I was able to find a way around all my problems.

I soon realised that most students suffered from the same problems and dealt with the same issues that I did. This calmed me down a bit and gave me more confidence knowing that I wasn’t the only one. Our reputable Students’ Union helped guide me by encouraging me to get more involved in all the various societies, networks and events. Through my interaction, I was able to become more familiar with Nottingham and its nightlife, develop a sense of belonging to my university and the greater community, and most importantly, I was able to make lifelong friends from all around the world whom I knew would always support me.

Aside from all the wonderful experiences I acquired, the main thing I am enjoying most here in Nottingham is that there is so much the university has to offer and even more things we as students can accomplish. The diversity and inclusivity here is a great way to integrate students together and make 34,000 seem like a much smaller number. This gave me a sense of reassurance and convinced me that there really is something for everyone here in Nottingham.

I will always be an international student, but by getting involved and putting myself out there I was able to overcome the obstacles attributed to that status and make sure I have the best time here in Nottingham.

By international student Sami Hawari


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