Today is International Students’ Day, a day to celebrate our diverse community of students! We’ve spoken to some members of our Clubs and Societies about their experience of studying in the UK, and how belonging to our Clubs and Societies enhanced their University experience.
“I come from a small country of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. Coming from abroad to the UK can be difficult and daunting. However, it doesn’t have have to be. Southampton University is a unique opportunity to have an adventure in this part of your life. Your university experience is what you make of it. So go on and make your story. Meet new people, make friends, experience new things, learn new skills. I trained at the Boxing society and made my way to become the president of the club. I made lifelong friends at the Russian Speaking society and met like minded academics with the Physics and Chemistry
societies. Starting from undergraduate physics degree, I built my academic career and currently I am completing a PhD in Chemistry and am now teaching undergraduates myself. Every story starts with a single step, so start your story at the University of Southampton”
“As an international student, settling in at university can prove to be challenging. The different food, culture and general habits can you easily put you off and make you feel lost. My best advice to overcome any fear and find your comfort zone is to put yourself out there and join a society or club! I joined the Italian society as soon as I started to feel homesick. By joining this society I was able to share my feelings and thoughts with people from my native country and receive reassurance and advice from them. Joining this society also gave me the opportunity to bring a piece of Italy at the uni, by organising socials and events as their president. As an opportunity to keep active and free my mind after long lectures or intense study sessions I also joined a sports club. In my case, Water polo was the perfect choice. A not too small club, where everyone knows and support each other. With regular training planned
but also with frequent scheduled socials that shaped some of the best memories at university.”
“When I first came to the UK, I knew it was would be a challenge to fit in as everyone around me had different interests and had different ways of living. I never felt excluded or that it was harder to approach people as everyone was in the same position. Within the first week I had already joined two societies, one was the Greek and Cypriot society of Southampton. This helped me meet new people from my country. Joining the society helped me solve any questions I had about the university and general things about the city and way of life. Back in Cyprus I was always a big fan of sports especially basketball, this encouraged me to join the university’s basketball team. Me and my teammates quickly fit in as we all shared the same love for the sport. Joining the basketball team helped me make new friends from countries all around the world which was amazing. I am now going into my second year, and I will be staying with a few friends that I met through the Greek and Cypriot society. I am honestly really happy for choosing to study at the University of Southampton and haven’t regretted my choice.”
Marina Stasi – VP Sports
Moving abroad for my studies was very exciting but naturally came with a sense of fear of the unknown. There was so much to learn and even more to do. In fact, there was almost too much to do, the number of possibilities, responsibilities and opportunities can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed. There have been times when the fear and hesitation almost outweighed my determination to make the most out of university experience. Fortunately, I decided to put myself out there, and have never looked back since. Joining the Greek & Cypriot society allowed me to seek comfort when being away from home was tougher than usual. The Riding Club welcomed me with open arms, supported my passion for the sport and expanded my mental horizons. I have made lifelong friends, been on committees, and fell in love with the sense of social responsibility and the effect it’s had on my personal
growth and development. It is safe to say that I now a far more well rounded person thanks to these experiences and more eager than ever
to place my own milestone in others’ journeys as the current Vice President of Sports. Always remember that you are braver than you think, so go out there and live every moment to the fullest. It’s the best gift you can ever do to yourself.
If you are an International Student, check our our International Student Guide 2023 for all of the information you might need about your time studying abroad!