The first few weeks after moving away from home are always daunting. Most students, like me are anxious about whether they will make friends, if the university environment would be friendly and helpful; or if they will simply be lost. Within my first day here, I realised that there was nothing to worry about especially when it comes to help. During welcome week, there are student ambassadors standing not only all around the university campus, but also nearby to help you navigate to the appropriate locations, as well as to answer any queries you might have.
I am an international student and thus also had a lot of paperwork to take care of. But, it is really easy because the university help you with it - they will list down the timings and room number and ensure everything is in place, all I had to do was show up. There are so many events happening during welcome week that you are spoilt for choice as to which one to attend. Obviously, there are some which are mandatory like the course induction or the international induction but there are various social events too. As an international student, I had various social events which were very informal and all about making friends. In a lot of these events, students from all over the world gather and along with the student ambassadors, get to know each other as well as the university and Leeds. This is a great opportunity to make friends, just like I did. Everyone is new, and wants to get to know everyone. Combined with games and planned activities, friendship is in the air.
The student ambassadors are extremely helpful, I approached them for advice on everything – academic, social, where to eat, where to shop - and since they have lived here longer, they often have helpful advice. They even had arranged various tours in order for the students to get acquainted with the area. There was a walking tour of the city, which was one of my favourites where we explored the city along with the ambassadors. It was a brilliant way to get a feel of the city and settle in. We also had a trip to Kirkstall Abbey (built in 1152), which is in the city of Leeds. Not only do they arrange tours of the campus and the city, they also arrange tours to York and neighbouring cities. We had a free trip to York arranged for us, where we explored the ancient Viking culture of York along with tour guides and our newfound friends.
Along with all these day time activities, the Leeds Beckett Student Union has a whole host of night time parties. They range from karaoke to bar crawls. If there was one in particular that I loved, it was the welcome party hosted for us by the union. It was a whole night of fun, drinks and karaoke; you couldn’t ask for more when it comes to having a good night with like-minded people.
There is also another day which is the highlight to the fresher’s week, which is the fresher’s fair. It is basically a day where societies and companies both arrive on campus and give out information, freebies, host contests as a chance for you to get engaged and increase your level of involvement. Be warned, you will get a lot of freebies. I got everything from toilet rolls, to like a million pens, to free Domino’s pizza. As a student, who has just moved in to a new home, this is an amazing day!
It’s very important to engage with the university, with so much going on it is easy to miss out on something important. Asking questions is always helpful, and in my experience, everyone will help you get you an answer. If they don’t know it themselves, they will point you in the right direction. I will also suggest for everyone to look in to the societies, they are a brilliant way of getting to know like-minded people and keeping yourselves busy. They are interactive and friendly, and the student union is the place to find out more about them. All of them also come out during the fresher’s fair to introduce themselves and encourage people to join them.
These events are extremely helpful because they make you so comfortable with the city and the university’s culture. They even host social nights just for the purpose of making friends. But all of this is as helpful as you let it be. I would encourage everyone to make the most of them, you don’t have to do much. Just attend, and have a good time. They make the first few weeks a breeze!