I moved to the UK to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse – I was determined to benefit from everything University of East Anglia (UEA) could offer and give my best in achieving my goal. However, preparing for my first year at university filled me not only with excitement but also nerve-wrecking impatience and fear of the unknown.
From the day I received my offer in Adult Nursing my mom and I eagerly started shopping for all the things (clothes, shoes, accessories etc.) I would need as a student. I remember searching tips on-line on what to bring to university and found very useful information on The Student Room pages, UEA’s New Students page and video blogs on YouTube. After I graduated high-school I left my homeland – Bulgaria and moved to England three months prior to the beginning of my course. I spent my summer with my sister, meeting new people, travelling and adapting to British culture. In the meantime, I joined a Facebook group of other students going to study Nursing at UEA which was a great help in regard to all the additional documents I had to provide, deadlines to meet, tasks to do and almost any aspect of the application and registration process. I also enjoyed the moment when everyone introduced themselves in the Student Accommodation group on Facebook where I found most of the people from my block. After completing my on-line registration for my study at UEA I obtained access to UEA’s Blackboard (virtual learning environment). I had my journey to campus well-planned in advance and was able to familiarize myself with the study materials available on the Blackboard as well as all the options it provides (e-mailing, library search etc.). To be frank, using Blackboard is quite easy once you get the hang of it.
When I arrived, however, my confidence vanished in thin air. I panicked about how on earth will I move my three large and heavy suitcases all the way to my room. I felt extremely shy to ask for help. Luckily, a few students offered to help and my problem was solved. I fell in love with my room since it was spacious, bright and with an amazing view. My flatmates were welcoming and friendly which made me feel like home. From the very first night we were chatting and laughing together, thus the ice between us melted really fast.
During fresher’s wEEK I had no clue which event to attend first since some of them were overlapping. As a result, I decided that the right and best thing to do is stick to my induction programme even though it looked tempting to skip lectures. After the registration event I went to the fresher’s fair, which I recommend to anyone who loves free stuff (e.g. yummy pizza) and tons of discount offers. The whole thing is about attracting students to visit various restaurants, gyms, cafes, shops and benefit from numerous discounts and offers.
The student union held its annual pots & pans sale which I took advantage of. Basically, senior students leave behind their cutlery when they move out of University halls so the union sells them as part of a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle project. Similarly, there was an annual bike auction where abandoned and donated bikes got sold while the money (around 8,700 pounds) was donated to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). I got a great bike for only fifty-five pounds and also felt good about spending every penny on it knowing where the money went!
My first week flew away really fast but it was filled with joyful events, memorable moments and lots of fun! In five days time I learned where the main buildings are, such as The Library, Lower Common Room, Sportspark, Medical Centre and made a great number of new friends. Everything went smoother than I expected. I almost forgot to mention that you should definitely check out the student clubs and societies, join the ones you like and meet new people who share similar interests as you!
My top tips for new students:
- Plan and prepare early for adapting to your new life
- Don’t be shy to ask for help
- Socialize both on-line and in person with almost everyone
- Do attend all your introductory lectures
- Take notes of all the new information you learn