Why do British people do that?

What are the most common confusions that international students encounter during their education in Britain?

People from all over the world  decide to take a big step leaving their home comfort in benefit of a better education and future abroad. However, when those youngsters leave home they realise that they will have to face the fact of living on their own and starting a whole new life. This is a really hard step for most international students. Not only cultural and character differences but also the different way of living appears to be a shock. Therefore, a vox-pop was conducted to examine what are the strangest and most different things international students can encounter while studying here, in Swansea.

QUESTION: What is the strangest thing you have encountered while studying in Britain?

ANSWERS:

1) ‘The weather! It’s just so horrible… it’s constantly cold and rainy.’

2) ‘I was unbelievably disturbed and confused by the fact that Brits always walk on the left side of the pavement, road, whatever… Even the escalators in the shops are constructed so that the customers need to walk on the left side of it… just why?!’

3) ‘They drive on the WRONG side of the road… and still claim that this is the RIGHT direction… but then, is the whole world driving wrong?’

4) ‘They have two separated tabs for water – one extremely hot and the other – extremely cold – like, what’s the point?! That way, you either burn yourself, either freeze yourself, why can’t they just have them both mixed like they do in other countries?’

5) ‘They don’t have very diverse traditional cuisine…’

6) ‘They drink a lot – mornings, afternoons, evenings, especially undergrads drink so much… And I am not talking about tea…’

7) ‘They go clubbing in shorts when it’s nearly snowing outside… They never get cold… strange creatures… Maybe they are all werewolves…’

8) ‘They say ”cheers” meaning ”thanks” unlike us who say ”cheers” when we want to make a toast.’

''Cheers, mate!'' means ''Thanks, friend!''

”Cheers, mate!” means ”Thanks, friend!” Photo Credits | Google Images

9) ‘They call their lecturers by their first names. In my country, we all call them by their surnames and with title at the front, otherwise it is considered to be rude.’

10) ‘They once asked me to try Marmite… I thought it was something similar to marmalade, apparently it wasn’t… It was the worst thing I’ve ever tasted…’

''It was the most disgusting thing I have ever tried'' said a Chinese girl. Photo Credits | Google Image

”It was the most disgusting thing I have ever tried” said a Chinese girl. Photo Credits | Google Image

As we can see, those are just a few examples of how different a certain country could be from others. All the students who come here, are taken by a shock at first, however if the university offers a good communication and orientation scheme, students get easily integrated into the social setting even if it is very different from their own country… Afterall, life is a big challenge itself, and want it or not, we have to face it, right?

At the end of the day there is a solution for…everything:

Maybe not a very long-term solution but it is still something... Photo Credits: Google Images

Maybe not a very long-term solution but it is still something… Photo Credits | Google Images

Your Swansea Personal Guide

Many students choose Swansea for their future university but what do they like about it and what do they want to see improved?

An anonymous survey was taken in order to find out whether international students need more help with anything connected with their stay in Swansea, what they like about their university and what they would like to change about it.

The results of the conducted questionnaire were similar in most of the cases. To sum up, they showed that most of the Swansea University students were overall satisfied by their choice to study in Swansea mainly because of its location and the courses offered. Students described it mostly with superlatives such as: ”peaceful city and location, friendly atmosphere, good roommates, diversity, excellent research facilities and sports”.

However, there were quite a few students who were not completely satisfied by the Swansea University services just because ‘there was no clear guidance and information about the facilities, help and support counselling and workshop services it offers’. To help with this, several clarifying photos of the most important buildings are provided along with a short video-guide. That way, Swansea university hopes to become a better place for living, studying and fulfilling dreams.

The basic and first building that has everything!

Fulton House – The basic and first building that has everything! Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

A way to on campus halls and the path to the Sports Centre.

A way to the campus halls and the path leading to the Sports Centre. Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Every student finds its way to lectures starting from this point.

Every student finds its way to lectures starting from this point (entrance of Fulton) Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

The place where you can find all you need for your studies, assignments, personal interests and where you can find quiet as well as bigger and specified rooms.

The place where you can find all you need for your studies, assignments, personal interests and where you can find quiet as well as bigger and specified rooms – the Library and Information Centre Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Poetry meetings, a cafe to chill out with your friend or a lecture room, Taliesin has it all.

Poetry meetings, a cafe to chill out with your friend or a lecture room, Taliesin Building has it all. Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Want to be an inspiring journalist or a brilliant director? If you study Media, Communications, Journalism or translations this is your place to go.

Want to be an inspiring journalist or a brilliant director? If you study Media, Communications, Journalism or translations this is your place to go. Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Studied a little bit too much? Overworked? Go to the wonderful campus park to have a coffee/tea/hot chocolate and maybe relax a bit or have a lovely chat with a friend.

Studied a little bit too much? Overworked? Go to the wonderful campus park to have a coffee/tea/hot chocolate and or maybe just relax. Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Except of the lovely rainbow that is maybe the only good thing that comes after a Swansea downpour, you can find any financial guidance in the Finance building ahead...

Except of the lovely rainbow that is maybe the only good thing that comes after a Swansea downpour, you can find any financial guidance in the Finance building ahead… Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

If you are still a little bit confused and want a very quick and basic guide stating the most important places for a new comer please follow the link below:

10 ways to survive in Swansea as a student

1. Get spotted!

Go out, meet people from your course or people with similar interests as yours and there you go – you have a friend for your term-time or maybe a friend for a lifetime…

Warning:Be aware of rainy weather…  Even though sometimes the best things happen in rainy weather, right? You might meet your future husband/wife somewhere out there seeking for someone to keep her/him under their umbrella.

The notebook

2. Have a walk by the beach side and also visit as many places as you can.

Ok, even if the weather doesn’t look good for swimming, you can still have a walk across the amazing Swansea bay and have fun with your friends or have a quiet walk on your own admiring the view.

You can also enjoy one of the free university trips to Gower (the most beautiful place in Wales) and you can book a trip to Cardiff, the capital of Wales and visit the ancient Cardiff castle and merge to Cardiff’s history.

Sunny Gower where dreams come true Photo|Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Sunny Gower where dreams come true Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

An extraordinary view of Cardiff city from the top of the tower of the castle | Photo: Antoniya Gerimpapazi

An extraordinary view of Cardiff city from the top of the tower of the castle. Photo Credits| Antoniya Gerimpapazi

After the tide came... Photo|Antoniya Gerimpapazi

After the tide came…
Photo Credits|Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Warning: Be aware of tides… They come when you least expect… The last thing you want to do is to be washed out by the tide and come back home like a muddy monster scaring off your neighbours and damaging the laundry.

3. Don’t be afraid to make the first step.

If you live in halls, that is a great way to meet new people and make some friends. Just go out there and simply introduce yourself. It could be as simple as: ”Hi! My name is George, I am from Greece and I really like…feta, the Greek cheese? Have you tried it?” And there you go, you’ve made the first step. The conversation can continue and extend from this point ahead.

Fresher's Fair is an amazing way to get to know many people and make friends Photo | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Fresher’s Fair is an amazing way to get to know many people and make friends Photo | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Warning: Some people may not have a good day and if you meet them at the point when their mug has broken, they’ve burnt themselves or they’ve simply had a bad day, they could be quite rude and let you down. This should not discourage you to meet other people though or even to go back to the same person, but some other time.

4. Socials are great for relaxing after a hard day and meeting with people who have similar interests to you.

Swansea University offers so many societies that you’d be surprised by their diversity – from Hogwarts, Disney and Game of Thrones society to Film Society, Music Society, Poetry society, Dance society, etc. Not only you can make friends there and meet amazing people, but you can also experience what you love doing, e.g. dancing, having Harry Potter quizzes even playing Quidditch!

Is that the next Voldemort and...hmm... Harry? Photo | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Is that the next Voldemort and…hmm… Harry? Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Warning: Quidditch is a full-contact game… So be aware of people trying to take you off from your broom!

Flying as a world class level Photo | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Flying on a professional quidditch level. Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

5. Sign up for a sport.

If you haven’t done so, I do recommend you to sign up for a sport. This is a great way of doing something you enjoy – like football, volleyball, basketball, frisbee, tennis, swimming, martial arts or try something new like lacrosse, etc. By joining a sport you are also sure to keep fit and healthy and to let the steam off after a hard day at university.

Warning: Sport may lead to addiction!

6. Go to a free counsellor session.

Did you know that Swansea University has free counsellor sessions? Well, you do now. If you ever feel sad, lonely, depressed, homesick or you simply want to have a chat with someone, get a free appointment with the counsellors. I can assure you they will make you feel better about any kind of problem and everything is kept strictly confidential, so you don’t have to worry about you secrets being revealed. So don’t leave your problems unsolved and don’t be shy to make an appointment.

Warning: Don’t fall in love with your counsellor… Well, not at least while you are a student and he is a professional!

7. Go at least to one free workshop.

Swansea University offers some free workshops. They have different types of workshops covering topics such as anxiety, exam stress, interview skills, how to write a covering letter, etc.

Warning: Weather can put you off from even bothering to go to the university. Don’t let this happen-after all the workshops aren’t in the rain… they are in a warm and nice place called a lecture room.

8. Get involved with the SU TV or The Waterfront newspaper or why not with both

Are you a budding journalist or just someone who really wants their opinion and views and stories to be seen, heard or read? Even if you aren’t but you still want to get involved in something exciting, make sure you sign up for the SU TV or the Waterfront student newspaper or why not for both? Get yourself out there and who knows maybe by participating in your university media will open your doors for your future in a way that you have never expected.

SU tv               WF-back-Custom-3

Warning: No, you can’t put down in your CV: I’ve worked for the BBC instead of the SU TV…

9. Go clubbing/pubbling, have a movie night with your neighbours, cook together or simply do something out of the university.

Ok, it’s true that you have come here to study on first place like me and everyone else but a little bit of chillaxing won’t hurt, right? Have a go – go clubbing/ pubbing somewhere in the town centre, dance all night, have a couple of drinks (not too many though) and enjoy!

Or if you are not the clubbing type why not organising an international dinner when everybody cooks a popular dish from their country – it’s a great way to have fun and at the same time learn some great recipes and surprise your mum in the future!

Alice made that smiley Italian cake with all her love Photo | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Alice made that smiley Italian cake with all her love Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi

A simple movie night would do as well. Why not organising your flatmates, friends, teammates, etc on a movie night of a film that everybody agrees to watch? It’s a great way to laugh your heart out or cry your eyes out (depends what kind of movie you are watching) and socialize with your friends without spending much money for club entries, going out etc.

Warning: Headaches… Also, do not do any of the upper activities if you have an early lecture on the next morning.

10. Chilling out with a book and a cup of tea?

Some people are quiet. This is nothing to be scared or ashamed of. If you don’t fit into the upper stated activities why not getting a nice book, curling up under the duvet with a cup of tea and immersing yourself into the exciting world that your book characters live in. Save a kingdom with them, live a wonderful romance with them, or just think of life matters… Why not? This is a great way to relax too!

Warning: No, you are not Hermione Granger and you will never be…

This is a simple guide to ”survive” in Swansea. Readers are encouraged to contribute to adding new ways of ”surviving as a student” by emailing it to: andy92@abv.bg.

Swansea will take care!

Swansea University offers its international students a great atmosphere, warm people and  the best supporting structure for international students according to the current masters student Swapnil Mali.

Swapnil Mali, a twenty-six year old student from India dared to grab the offered opportunity and leave his country, in a return of education abroad, and more specifically in the Swansea University, United Kingdom.

Swapnil after his successful undergraduate graduation. Credits| Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Swapnil after his successful undergraduate ceremony. Photo Credits| Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Being and only child in his family and the first one to come and study abroad, Swapnil’s parents are proud of his courage and ambition but like all parents, they miss him a lot and keep in touch regularly through the social network sites.

Swapnil Mali has a unique story like everybody else. Having done his five years undergraduate degree in Engineering back in his country India, he decided to come out of his shell and face the challenge of studying abroad and living on his own. Swapnil doesn’t come from a rich family, he even described his family as a ”poor” one, so he has had a really hard childhood but that never made him give up his dreams. In fact, he shared that one of the reasons why he is here is because Swansea is known as a really good university and his Engineering department is known to be one of the best.

Swapnil’s dreams are big – having already designed and put together two of the first supersonic cars back in his country, he can’t wait to get his hands on some big project about designing cars here. What is more, his big desire is to work for cars used by the Formula One.

Swapnil has a sensitive and kind personality even if he tries to hide it between all the jokes he makes. Even with such a busy schedule like his one, he can still fit in sports, societies and he socialises and feels by his words more than ever like home thanks to his corridor mates in halls.

Being happy with his choice of university, he agreed to be interviewed and to tell us more about his student experience so far. Please follow the link below regarding the interview:

For Swapnil, Swansea University is a great experience and he seems to have all it takes to combine his studies with socializing, making new friends and taking advantage of all the help and support the university offers. He is ready to begin a new chapter of his life!

Swapnil and his friends having an international dinner together Photo| Antoniya Gerimpapazi

Swapnil and his friends having an international dinner together Photo Credits | Antoniya Gerimpapazi