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Armaan Kaushik, Insight Project: Transition into Higher Education – From Canada to the UK

Insight Project will be publishing a series of blogs over the coming weeks. The second week's blogs focus on the experiences of its team transitioning through education.

This blog is written by Armaan Kaushik, Insight Project Team Member

Abstract: In this post, I reflect on my decision to study abroad in Leicester as an international student and the various thoughts and concerns I had which ultimately added to this memorable experience.

Transition into Higher Education – From Canada to the UK

Transitioning from High School to Post Secondary is a big step but deciding to study abroad was an entirely different experience in itself. There is so much I can discuss from the planning to leaving my hometown, to the experience of being in Leicester. Ever since I could imagine, the concept of studying abroad always intrigued me, being able to have an experience where I could study an area of interest but also have a chance to explore the culture and meet new people from different ends was a once in a lifetime.

Many factors were needed to take into account when deciding to go such as figuring out if it was financially appropriate but also if I am capable of being on my own for the first time at just 18 years old. See, in my hometown, most students usually attend the local university and in doing so, live at home or near family. However, with me, I knew that it was too big of an opportunity to pass up and that I would be visiting for the holidays but also can video call whenever. Looking back, I recall feeling excited knowing that this would a new chapter in my life that will shape my future but also nervous at the fact that this was a ‘fresh start’, and I won’t know anyone at the school other than my cousin who also went with me. However, all feelings of nervousness were put to rest upon arrival at the university knowing that over 300+ students are all equally going or have gone through the same adventure as me and so it made it much easier to get to meet new people; we were all here for similar reasons and so it was a common ground. Moreover, it was really easy to meet people through involvement in the various societies the university offers such as Pro Bono, Canadian Law Society, Leicester Law Society, Bhangra Society, etc.

However, it wasn’t always good as there were many things I had to learn as they came my way. Since I had never been to the United Kingdom before moving for school, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of whether or how things work in the United Kingdom. For example, I come from Calgary, Canada where it’s usually cold and snowing most of the year and growing up I have not been the biggest fan of cold weather. Therefore, moving to the United Kingdom where it was cold and raining most of the time was not on top of my list. Secondly, I had to learn many things in terms of finding accommodation and understanding a lease agreement and the various charges that come with accommodation. Besides, living alone really forced me to focus on my time management by going to class, taking care of my physical health, revising, but also making time for dinner and being social. Thirdly, the fact that Leicester didn’t have an airport of its own made things tough at times when traveling. However, all of these ‘issues’ were extremely minor in the grand scheme of things and added to the very fun and memorable first-year experience as an international student.

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