Episode 2: Student accommodation and settling in | The Study Social

students have studied 12 13 years in their home country and they're ready to do something different they're ready to see the world hello and welcome to the second episode of the study social my name is rachel and i'm your host for this series on starting your journey as an international student today we're talking all about your new home your student accommodation and what it's like settling into your new city it's a really exciting part of your life as an international student but it also can be a little bit daunting but we've got some great guests this week to share their experiences and advice our two guests today are marum who was an on-campus reading student and has recently progressed to the university of reading and john who is the head of welfare at on campus london and on campus london south bank firstly though let's hear from some students about how they felt when they first moved into their student accommodation because i'm under 18 they have set a specific household with everything that we could need with people that are from my age as well from different cultures different backgrounds there were so many people to help me and guide me everything was clear i felt like it's a very safe place for me to be here i think the people kind of welcomed us with open arms and i've never felt a bit insecure or out of place here in preston to be honest prepare to accept everything to accept every differences in every culture and to discover the world because life itself is an adventure so be prepared for that adventure [Music] maram studied the masters foundation program in economics at on-campus reading and has recently progressed to the university of reading i spoke to maram about how she found the settling in process when she first arrived in the uk from saudi arabia hi marum thanks very much for joining us today for our second episode of the study social today is an exciting day isn't it because you've literally just received your results so congratulations that's true thank you so the topic we're focusing on today is specifically around student accommodation and settling into your new city when you first arrive what would you say it was like when you first landed in the uk oh i had a lot of mixed emotions that time i find it sometimes hard to talk about it i was so excited to explore british culture and honestly i remember that i had a side saying list to visit however it was a little bit touring because i knew many responsibilities were waiting for me but to be honest with you at the end of the day i faced all my fears and they were not as terrifying as i thought it's so worthwhile when you do eventually go through with it and you're bound to experience those feelings at the beginning so students aren't alone if they are feeling similar to that this year and it's nice to hear that you do have success even though you start from that point of maybe feeling a little bit apprehensive and mixed emotions like you said what was it like then moving in with other students and how long did it take to settle in did you find that a difficult process i didn't have much trouble settling to be honest because i was so busy when i came here i had a lot of assignments to do and a project to finish so once we had a free time i mean my friends and i we found endless activities to do and to be involved in time flies when once is busy there's so much to do at the beginning when you when you're settling in so you almost don't have time to to have all those worries because you're you're getting on with your assignments you're meeting new people you're doing lots of activities so it's great that it didn't take too long to to go through that process and and what do you think is the one thing that made settling into your new life easier if i have to choose only one thing i'd say having a supportive community friends play an essential role in getting over any challenges related to living about because we are in the same foot if you are lucky enough like me supporting teachers will help you greatly it's really good to hear that you've had supportive teachers we try to offer as much support to students as we possibly can so that you don't have any of these issues when you're settling in so it's it's good to hear and also that you didn't really struggle with with making friends and and getting that community around you so yeah that all sounds really positive what then do you think you're most worried about before starting before starting actually i was worried about my english language especially academic writing and how to deal with assignments especially the assignments would be in english for sure well it doesn't sound like you need to worry about your english anymore because it's very good thank you that's really kind of you that's obviously something a lot of students start off by maybe worrying about the english language but that is something we are obviously here to help with so finally then what is the best piece of advice you received before moving to the uk i got a lot of advice but the only one stuck in my mind all the time was maram don't be afraid of making mistakes in terms of learning the language the one and the only way to master anything literally anything is by feeling free to make mistakes absolutely i think that's brilliant advice you're here to learn that's why that's why you've come to on campus so really not to be nervous about that sort of thing yeah i think that's a great message to pass on to our other students well thank you so much for joining us today it's been lovely speaking to you thank you so much thank you it was really interesting to speak to maram about her time in reading and great to hear that although she was nervous before moving the first couple of weeks were an overall positive experience for her our last interview is with john james whitehead who was the head of welfare at both on campus london and on campus london south bank he speaks to students on a daily basis about a number of topics one of these being student accommodation john gave me a really good insight into what on-campus students should expect when they move to london to study hi john thanks very much for joining us for our second episode of the study social today we're talking specifically about student accommodation and what it's like for students to settle into a new city um can you start by introducing yourself for us please yeah sure thank you for having me rachel my name is john jonathan james whitehead i am the head of welfare for on campus london and on campus lsbu so i oversee the welfare of our students in both of those centres and that part of that includes accommodation so how does on campus provide support to students during the moving in process we have a pre-arrivals team who will coordinate with any students who are looking for assistance in finding accommodation we work with a number of accommodation partners so these are providers of student accommodation and we select them because they meet the criteria that we set out and we expect a certain level of staff availability in the accommodation and we will walk our students through that process as much as they need for our younger students for those under the age of 18 um there is a particular level of care that we have to provide because they are legally children so it's it's a big long process we take a lot of care with it we want to ensure that when our students get here they already have all of that set out they know exactly where they're going and um i think it makes us feel a lot more confident about the safety of our students and obviously i think it's a lot better for the students as well they've got a lot on their mind when they first get here and they don't want to have to think about where to live as well i think it's so reassuring to hear that you know there is that connection between on campus and the accommodation they're not separate there is support between the two and and we do help with all those sorts of queries and you know the extra safety aspects maybe for some of the younger students i think that must be really nice for for students and parents to know that we do take that into account and there's extra processes and everyone is really fully looked after during that process when it can be quite intimidating obviously there's so much change going on so yeah i think hearing hearing that there's a team of people making sure that goes smoothly is is a really nice thing to know what should students do when they first arrive at their accommodation there'll be a check-in process of some kind when they first arrive that might vary from accommodation to accommodation but typically there will be staff on site to walk them through whatever it is they need to do and to get their keys get access to their room once you're in i think it's really important to actually settle into the room make it feel like it is your home because it is going to be your home for for a lot of the next the coming year unpack your stuff get it laid out how you like it you may have flatmates or you have neighbours start getting to know them if they're around already they're all going to be going through the same thing and once you've done that start familiarizing yourself with your local area yeah i think kind of getting stuck in straight away is important isn't it it's learning about who you're going to be living with making sure it feels like home knowing what's near to you i think all of that stuff is is key to do in the in the first stages when you get there so what would you say the transition support is for the students when they first arrive in london students are welcome to come to the centre a lot of them will come to pick up their brp cards or they may be looking for some more information on when term's going to start once we are into the induction period all of our students are invited to attend a number of sessions which will cover sometimes too much detail everything they might need to know it can be a lot to take in but the purpose of those sessions is i think partly to reassure students that the information they might need is available to them also to introduce them to the team and we are here to support them we're here to answer any questions they might have i think it's probably always better to kind of bombard with loads of information rather than having to have students come to ask questions so i think even though it's a lot to take in even just meeting the team and knowing if you forget something or if you have got a query there's somebody there you can go and ask i think that's such an important one or two weeks to really get used to everything you'll you're going to need to know absolutely and we do also all of the information that's provided during induction we do make available online what should students find in their area so is there certain things that they definitely need to make sure they do in terms of doctors pharmacy that sort of thing finding a doctor finding a local gp is one of the first things any student should do while you are studying in the uk you have full access to the national health service a part of your visa cost has gone towards providing this to you and a gp or a general practitioner is your go-to doctor where if you have any sort of medical concerns if you have any sort of general health problems book an appointment you'll be able to see your doctor and they will be able to provide you with either a referral to other medical care or prescription for medication they'll be able to provide a doctor's note if you need to miss lessons so registering with a gp is a very straightforward process but it's not very quick so it's best to get it started as soon as possible find a local supermarket your accommodation will probably have some kitchen facilities um so make the most of them you know start shopping start cooking for yourself and then have a wander it's a big city there's a lot going on yeah starting with those priorities like you mentioned get the long boring ones out the way get yourself registered with the gp work out what your nearest important places are like a supermarket because you'll be exploring london for the whole time you're there really it's such a big place with so much to see that you want to get those kind of admin jobs out the way as soon as you get there just to make yourself feel nice and settled as well so what is the best way for students to explore the city can you talk us through some of the uh transport options that are available yes there are a lot of transport options in london bikes scooters they are normally available to rent either through an app or we've got the um santander rental bike scheme available across the city i wouldn't recommend these for people who are new to the city it's uh the roads can be very busy bike lanes and things like that can end suddenly when you are exploring london for the first time start getting used to the public transport network that is bus routes and the london underground and overground a lot of our students will try to get ubers everywhere there's a lot of traffic in london those will generally be slower than taking public transport as well as being more expensive you can always walk as well we've got a lot of winding maze-like streets that sort of cross over each other but it can be good fun you can stumble across things that you might not find otherwise you know we are in quite exciting buzzing metropolitan areas there's a lot to take in there's a lot to see and discover so finally then what's something that you think students should do or where should they go to start their new adventure as a londoner oh boy i mean that is that is a massive question there are lots of online guides for things to do in london um cheap activities free activities uh look around have a look on timeouts um they've got lots and lots of recommendations but in terms of the first thing you should do make some friends get to know the other people who are moving into london it's way more fun to do it with other people yeah getting that group of friends i think is going to be so important and also you know next episode we are going to be talking about tips on making friends when you first start so if anyone is worried about that then please have a listen to that because it shouldn't be a worry at all but i think it'll be so important for that initial exploring stage and use things like you mentioned like timeout even social media you'll get some great recommendations that you might not if you kind of just have a wonder yourself or if you speak to certain people so it'll be nice to do that adventure with other people and you can share tips and decide where you like to go thanks so much for speaking to us today john i think that's been a really useful insight into what that transitional period is going to be like for students thanks a lot rachel it's been a pleasure thanks very much to both our guests today for coming on the podcast i hope we've managed to give you some useful advice on what to expect with your student accommodation and the settling in process when you arrive in your new city tune in next week when we'll be talking about making new friends and joining communities follow us on spotify and subscribe to our youtube channel the study social podcast and check out our instagram at studysocialpod see you next week

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