A Guide to Leeds from an International Student’s Perspective

It’s always the same old story: every morning I snooze my alarm and I fall asleep again. Would you think that after few months I can still suffer the jet lag? Well, when I suddenly wake up, I realize that it’s late. I’m late for my lecture. I drink my cup of Earl Grey quickly (well, as quickly as you can drink a cup of hot tea!), eat some digestive, which I simply adore, and run to uni. But today I’m relaxed, and while walking I look around me. There is that coloured wall painting; I remember the guy that I used to see on the way back home working on it meticulously day by day; a new shop opened, another one changed its sign; the posters lay one upon the other, and now crossing Hyde Park there are small flowers instead of ice.

Time has passed since I came to Leeds in September for my exchange year; I’ve got my English habits now. I discovered the city and the campus, and I got my routine fixed. Leeds did its best to make me feel home. I can’t think about a week without any new activity to be experienced; I can’t forget the warm welcome, not only during the Freshers’ week but even the week before and the weeks ahead, from the very arrival at the airport to the student life in every other place and situation. The green flag of the international student point always waving, where you could collect the welcome pack (really helpful literally for everything), and always find students ready to give you advice and loads of lists to be filled to join ‘the city art tour’, ‘the campus tour’, ‘the city chase’ and so on.  Every day the campus was filled with people coming from every country and a different fair or event aroused my curiosity.

Setting into Leeds as an International student has been easy. Just remember: there is a proper person, a proper office, a proper website, a proper place for any kind of information, support and clarification you might need. When I had to change my timetable, I found patient and helpful people; when I had to learn how to make an essay (something completely new for me!) the Skills Library workshops and courses put me on the right way. Well, I can say that there is no difficulty that I have not overcome! Thanks to the effective support offered by the university, that made it easier to get started and fully involved into the academic life, thanks to the people I met here, who made the adaptation faster and enjoying. In Leeds, you will find a lively and strong International community.

A big resource of the University of Leeds is the Leeds University Union: among hundreds of societies, you’ll certainly find whatever best suits you, whether you wish to keep on practising what you did at home or if you are keen to experience something completely new and unexpected! You shouldn’t miss this fantastic opportunity! So here are some final tips: whether you’re an International or a local student, try to get involved in the many activities offered by the university and the city of Leeds, to get the most of your experience; mingle with the International students: discovering a different culture can help you to rediscover yours and to better adapt to the changes; do an exchange experience abroad: it will open your mind!

Well, if what I’ve said didn’t convince you, remember that here in Leeds we had many days of sun and few of heavy rain…!

Eleonora Peruch

(Image: Fiveprime)