News Article

Top Tips for International Students

Let's Talk Mental Health

Mental health is something that affects everyone differently. We speak to Melissa, the International Students’ Part-time Officer, to hear her top tips when it comes to international students’ mental health.

Top tips

  • When preparing to travel to the UK, have your documents organised prior to travelling: locator form, university enrolment letter, BRP, passport, student card
  • Do not be nervous to put yourself out there to make friends, because it is highly likely these other students feel just as nervous as you do and are in the same position
  • Take advantage of societies and social events where possible
  • Making new friends in the first year requires a ‘go with the flow’ mindset. Try to be as open and friendly as possible.
  • Everyone is at university to make friends and so you may make friends at places ranging from your lectures, accommodations and societies.
  • To those who are coming/planning to arrive, bring extra high quality of umbrellas with you – bonus if they are travel-friendly (fit in bag).

You are not alone

Sometimes it can feel like you’re on your own, but here are some experiences of other international students:

When a student was travelling they were riddled with anxiety. The fear of COVID, and all the collective circumstances was overwhelming. Once they got to the UK it was unsettling to see locals going outside not wearing masks, because back at home it is mandatory to do so.

A student was nervous to experience a different culture. The night life is noticeably different from back home. They were worried about living alone and becoming more independent, as they take on more responsibilities of having to balance studies, social life, laundry, food.

In their first year, a student was worried if they would find it difficult to make friends and not finding a group of friends to go to classes with. They were always anxious they would be alone and afraid it would be like that the whole year. Reflecting after they completed their first year, they realise now that there was no need to worry at all. This is because everything started to go really well and they fortunately made a few really good friends that they know they can depend on.

Another student’s major fears was getting lost in Reading or where they stayed within the UK during term breaks, as they were not familiar with the area i.e. traffic rules in the UK. They were anxious about the culture and people’s behaviours, especially afraid of racial discrimination. They anticipated homesickness, given they were travelling from the other side of the globe. They arrived to the UK in great anticipation on gaining an insight into studying/working among a diverse community.

What if you need more support?

Anyone can struggle with their mental health but it’s important to get help if you arein need.

Visit the RUSU Welfare Directory to find out where you can get support.