Hey, my name is Reka Szalai and I am a third year Biomedical Sciences student from University of Warwick and I will tell you about my first day as a uni student.
In September 2019 I started my university education at University of Warwick. As an international student you have more things to do than someone from the UK. If you are lucky, you have visited the place where you are going to spend your forthcoming years but not everyone is. I had the opportunity to travel to Warwick before, and I fell in love with the place instantly. When choosing a university, you need to decide what’s the most important for you. The ranking? That you have people there who you know? Or the ambiance?
Well, Warwick seemed like the perfect fit for me in every aspect. I had people very close to me studying there, a huge campus without a noisy city with ridiculous prices for rent and of course, a very good ranking.
As most places in the UK, we had a fresher’s week, which sounded fun, but I chose to arrive later with people close to me. This might not have been the best approach, but it felt safe. Safe was good enough for me at that time. I knew the Hungarians because we had a fresher’s camp prior to leaving for England which made me even more calm. I knew that there is going to be a society where I fit in. So, knowing all this made me excited rather than terrified.
We left Budapest on Tuesday of the fresher’s week and arrived to Birmingham International and then took the train or an Uber I cannot really recall. I went to my accommodation that I have been assigned to; a very English-looking building next to the university’s post office at the edge of the campus. I managed to get the keys and my friend carried my ridiculously heavy tennis bag (I am grateful for this since), which, of course I could not leave at home. When stepping into the room I was so happy, I had a double bed (which is a miracle) and a big space (miracle too). The walls were calmingly blue, the windows looked at a meadow with rabbits and squirrels running up and down (I have seen foxes too later). So, I think you can imagine that I got the peaceful environment that I wanted. After I put my stuff down and called everyone in my family reassuring them that I was alive, I went to explore Compton (the hall that I lived in). It was a three-floor building with approximately 50 students, with a “living room” and with our own washing and drying machine, which you may not value as much but it was amazing. I was on the first floor with 15 other students from all over the world. The kitchen looked okay, it was clean and seemed big. I have never seen that kitchen in a normal state ever again. There was even a one-month period when the cleaning lady did not clean it because I quote “this is hazardous”. In this hall we did not have en-suite rooms which might sound terrifying, but it was very nice and clean every day. However, the first very scary thing was when I realised that I might know how to speak English but I sure as hell did not understand the British accent. The speed at some people spoke and the slang they used, well that seemed like a problem. I have never studied in English before so hm, I could have expected that. Actually, this problem led me not to participate on my lectures because it was so fast, that I needed to watch it on lecture capture and pause it many times. But do not worry! This is what your first year is for in England, you get to know how to learn and write essays at a university. I assure you even with my lacking English skills I did fine and on most courses the first year only counts as 10% of your diploma or it does not count at all.
After seeing my hall, we went to explore the other accommodations and visit everyone who we knew. We gathered enough people to have our own party in the evening and when I got to my bed, I was looking forward to this year even more.