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Adapting to a new country and a new way of learning

BSc Management student Tiffany Zhang talks about her experiences of moving to Bath, meeting other Chinese students, and adapting to online lectures.

Tiffany posing in front of a creativity mural.
'I feel more confident about myself and I have learnt to adapt to new norms, which is an important life skill'

Arriving at Bath

What I love about Bath is the fact that we are a campus university and we have a very tight community. It is so normal to run into an acquaintance anywhere on campus and it really helps you to socialise and make more friends. Everyone you encounter on campus is usually a staff member or a student, so it is much safer than a city university and gives you a greater sense of belonging.

The University provided a free coach service from the airport for international students which I found very touching and comforting. I really appreciated this service so I worked in the welcome arrival team as an ambassador this year to welcome and help new students from overseas.

There are also free 'International Caf├ęs' every week hosted by the Students' Union to provide an opportunity for international students to make friends and talk to others. It helped me a lot as a first-year student as I was very shy to approach people and 'break the ice', but volunteers in the cafe are extremely nice and welcoming and helped me to open up to making new friends and sharing my story.

Finding my place

The culture shock was quite intense as it's my first time living and learning in the UK. Things like drinking, the casualness of romantic relationships, and the 'distance' British people prefer to keep between each other were surprising.

I was really struggling to fit in at the beginning because of some self-consciousness but things got much better after getting to know others during cheerleading training and chats with members of the Christian Union at the Chaplaincy.

I found out that people are actually really kind and easy-going, drinking is not the only path for making friends, and university life is more than just going out! Some people share the same values as I do, and we had lovely conversations cooking and studying together. I am so much more open and outgoing now compared with when I first arrived in the UK. I feel more confident about myself and I have learnt to adapt to new norms and new cultures which is an important life skill.

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