British Council

Studying in the UK would be one of the best experiences in your life and you won’t regret it for sure. But I understand it is hard sometimes, especially when you are living in a new, foreign country and you still need to make new friends and get used to the studying mode at the university.

The first thing you need to think about is how to adapt to a new culture. You have to understand that wherever you choose to study abroad, you will notice a cultural difference. The cultural difference might be smaller if you are studying in Hong Kong, but as the university is a very big community, you will meet a lot of people with distinct backgrounds and cultures. You might be a bit unsure at first, but it can help you to develop a global outlook and appreciate other cultures. Try your best to open up yourself, don’t be shy. Most people are very friendly and willing to talk. You might feel a little bit awkward to initiate a new conversation at the start, but it will get easier when you are used to it. After all, they won’t bite so don’t worry!

Try to push yourself a bit; go out from your comfort zone. Make sure you try more things in your first-year as the saying goes - “first-year doesn’t count” (varies between university; but even it counts, the weighting would be the smallest in your degree). I am not saying don’t give effort in studying, but I am just trying to say try to do something different before the academic pressure becomes high. You can be in a part of any organized trips or events, join clubs and university societies, or even become a student ambassador. You might like the activities - which is great. However, things do not always work out. But at least give yourself a try, so you can tell yourself in the future that you have tried hard and you don't regret your uni life.

Adapting to a different culture doesn’t mean you have to change your customs and values. But you must learn to respect others if you want to be equally respected. Not only you are getting used to a new culture, but your fellow international students are also trying their best to adapt to a new culture too. They are just like you, having their whole customs and values. If you don’t understand their unique customs, ask them politely. You can also seek support from them when you having any difficulties in studying abroad - seek help from people that share similar experiences of adjusting to a new culture will be helpful. Talking about the local culture and ways to overcome culture shock can help you better understand the country.

Remember, there is always plenty of people you can speak to, whether it is your fellow coursemates, trained support staff, welfare team or even your personal tutor. There will always be someone to help you with anything. So don’t think too much - go out and talk to people, understand more about the local culture. I wish you all the best again to have the best experience to study in the UK.

-- Cherie Wong