Juuso's Blog: Being an international student at QMU
As an international student myself, I thought I could start my blogging career by making a general post about being an international student at QMU. All in all, I have found my first year at QMU as an international a lot easier than I thought it would be. There has been a lot of help whenever needed, and the number of international students at QMU tells something about the overall satisfaction. However, I have some hints and tips to make your life as an international student even better.
First off, I want to start with the help that QMU provides. I got dragged along to a series of workshops targeted to international students run by ELS in the beginning of semester 1, and I am so happy that I did end up going there. Before the workshops I had no clue how to write an academic essay in English, let alone, reference. Thanks to the workshops I managed to get an A from my first essay! So, I would encourage everyone to take advantage of it. I have also a habit of sending my essay plans and drafts to ELS for them to check the spelling and referencing. It immediately bumps your grade up if the language and referencing is correct, and it is not cheating to use the ELS for this. That is what they are there for. The ELS also offers one-to-one appointments where you can get help in whatever aspect of writing you need from referencing to planning an essay.
Secondly, I would strongly encourage every international student to get in touch with other international students. One of my best friends in uni is also an international student and I find it very helpful to be able to talk about homesickness etc. with someone who is going through the exact same things. A great place to find fellow internationals is the QMU International Society. They host multiple events through the academic year, for instance, in 2018 they had a Halloween themed meeting, a trip to Edinburgh Christmas Market, a bake sale and a Christmas party. It is also a great place to ask tips from other international students who might have been studying for a longer time than you. I, for example, got great tips about student discounts in Edinburgh.
Last but not least, I would like to remind everyone that though it is important to make new friends at uni, it is also important to keep I touch with old friends and family back home. Nowadays it is super easy with Face Time and Skype etc. but I would like to offer an alternative idea: good old snail mail. I know, I know, it is slow and expensive (compared with free emails etc.) but isn’t it also such a nice surprise when you go and check your mail and there is a letter for you. My cousins (aged 14, 12 and 8) sent me a letter a few months ago and it made me extremely happy. I can’t describe the joy of reading about how school is going and what PlayStation games they are playing and other, rather boring and normal, things. Since then I have sent a couple of letters to my friends and family and they have also been truly happy when receiving them. So, this is my last tip for today: send your friend a Christmas card or your mother a letter. It is all about the little things that make happy moments.
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