Before I came to university, I didn’t really know anyone from outside the UK. The occasional Spanish or German person would turn up at my school sometimes; a visiting pen-friend who always kicked up a fantastic – if brief – storm of excitement. Coming to university was therefore a hugely eye-opening experience for me. I moved from a small town in West Yorkshire to Nottingham (practically a metropolis in my eyes) and all of a sudden came into contact with people from all four corners of the world. I was even lucky enough to share a flat with a real life French person in my first year, something I never thought would happen. She added a great dynamic to our group, always offering a fresh angle on whatever came up in conversation over dinner, even if it was something as trivial as the way the French celebrate April Fool’s Day.
Three years later, and I’m still benefiting from studying at such an international university. Whether it be something as small as hearing a different language spoken in the library, or actually engaging with foreign students as part of my course, I have really appreciated the way Nottingham is like a little international hub. Without this international aspect of university life, I would not know what classical Indian music sounds like (fantastic), how to say hello in Swahili (Jambo!) or ever have tried traditional Chinese cooking (so much better than takeaway, as if it even needs saying). By making friends with international students during my time here, I’ve been able to learn more about different cultures, traditions and ways of life. All of these ideas have shaped how I view the world, my opinions of foreign countries and my opinions of the UK. After hearing so much about my friends’ homes, I have been inspired to travel to new and exciting places myself, whether it be to study or just to visit on holiday. Without a doubt, the friendships I’ve made with international students has changed my student experience for the better!
By UK student Nick Robinson
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