Fulya Simavi, who has lived in England for many years returned to Turkey and joined Istanbul Language Centre's education staff and is working as an Overseas Education Consultant shared her experiences for students who will be travelling to UK.
Congratulations! After months of searching, reading forums, arranging finances, filling up application forms, you are on your way to London. Being a student in London is pretty amazing, your time in London can be exciting, rewarding and unforgettable. While friends and family can prepare you for your journey, once there, the experience belongs to you. You know they say; happiness is a choice. Choose to make the most of your trip.
New Country, New Culture…
I strongly encourage you to do your homework on British culture to avoid what is called culture shock, a term which is used to describe the anxiety and feelings of surprise, disorientation, confusion, etc.
First when students arrive their new home in a new city, they are fascinated with everything that is new however following the initial excitement, feelings such as frustration, anger, anxiety are possible. Sleeping and eating patterns may be disrupted. Sometimes individuals react to this frustration by rejecting the new environment in which they feel discomfort. It is quiet likely that students blame the external environment for the bad internal feelings. It is very important to take responsibility at that point and it’s time for a change; it’s time to be true to our greatest self; it’s time to stop blaming others.
It is good to be connected…
Being in touch with your new friends, neighbours, teachers, colleagues will enhance the quality of your life and also will help you to feel stronger.
In addition, to stay connected with family and friends in your home country will support you.
Especially for students to call their own country, can become a major expense item. While there may be expensive overseas calls, it is good to keep in mind that there are cheaper ones, too. Investigating before you go abroad or if there is a consulting company helping you, taking their suggestions is a good idea.
How to Pack a Suitcase for Emotional Emergencies...
Make sure you take your favourite bed side book with you, choose couple of cd's which make you happy, family, pet photos and perhaps your favourite snack. I highly recommend you to keep a journel. It would remind your real purpose of being there and it is a great tool to off load your emotional luggage and start a fresh page the following day. Talking about purposes, it is very important to write down your reasons for this journey and plan for it. The ultimate goal might be to learn the language for a better employment reasons, brighter future, etc and socially it is a good idea to plan the places to see, visit depending on what you are interested in. In London, there is always something new to see or experience, even by just walking on its streets. There is so much to do in London and you just simply can’t do it all so it is best to plan. The bus is a great way to get you orientated in a foreign city.
Best Things To Do In London:
1. Regents Park: Regents Park is one of London's most peaceful and relaxing spots. There are cafes, football fields and beautiful green areas with colourful flowers in every corner. .
2. Neal’s Yard: Pure bliss... I couldn’t think of London without remembering this blissful place.
3. Famous Selfridges Shop : I would definitely recommend you to eat a salt beef here.
4. Hampstead Heath Park: Ideal for a long walk and see plenty of dogs, this is a wonderful green paradise in the bustling city.
5. See Foyles Bookshop if you are interested in books: Bookstores, antique have always been my personal favorites. Foyles would be a place where you would loose yourself and go to different lands. A feature of this place is it was opened in 1903 and is London's oldest bookstore. I think it is a must.
Put Your Health First
Please remember to take your regular medication with you as it is almost impossible to get any medicine without prescription unless you are after painkillers as such. Getting sick is the last thing in a foreign country so you must keep your body resistance consistently high. Vitamins in this regard will be your greatest helper. The most valuable asset is our mental and physical health. Please remember our most valuable wealth is health.
Please Learn To Love The Things You Can NOT Change….
I suggest you stop complaining immediately Complaining about the weather is a daily habit of most Londoners but other than that there are 2 situations especially when complaining is not liked.
1. To tell someone that you're tired.
2- To tell someone that you are not feeling good about yourself.
These type of complaints in a way abuse the people you are complaining to because complaining leave both sides drained and doesn't help you to feel better. It is important to except the fact that you might experience problems with your lessons, teachers, new friends, your landlord, the family you live with, the food, transport system or the weather.
Let's have a look at accepting the things you clearly can not do anything to change them. Weather conditions, time, flow rate, taxes, certain prejudices between nations. Of course, we can add our personal characteristics. For example, your age, height, general appearance, dying relatives, your temperament ...
You Are In Control...
Trying to control or change above problems is a waste of energy. Trying to control these possible problems will only keep you more attached to them so it is best to look at these as opportunities and try to see the humour in them.
Nobody knows what the future will be. Life is a risk in itself.
If you want to get what you want from life, put aside the thoughts that leads to feel worried and chose to look at your blessings and make the most of your life. Appreciate life as it happens and you will enjoy the process of living.
In fact, fearful thoughts exist only in our minds. They do not like too much to face the truth. It is best to face these worries, fears and be in control while getting ready for your journey
In ancient times a wise man said "I am an old man, my life has come and gone with unrealised fears,".
A new country presents a wonderful opportunity to have many beautiful experiences.
Choose to experience this adventure without unnecessary fears, worries unlike the old wise man. I am suggesting all students who travel to England to enjoy and make the most of this constructive choice. Because it is a privilege to try different food, see different parks, meet new people and learn a new language!