Pursuing your goals: Reflections of a second-year international student

By Stephanie Antoniou

Stephanie Antoniou grew up in Cyprus but her dream of studying abroad led her to the UK; she is currently a second year Chemistry student at the University of Chester. In this blog she shares how she has immersed herself into UK culture and adjusted to the cosmopolitan atmosphere and multicultural blend of people.

Stephanie Antoniou

My studies began in September 2019 and although I always dreamt of studying abroad, at the beginning it was a bit of a bumpy road. I found it difficult to adjust, since everything was so new to me: the language, the climate, the environment, even the social attitudes of people.

My eyes for the past 18 years had been waking up to the crystal turquoise of the sea and suddenly all I see is green! This feeling didn’t last long though, I soon got used to the beauty of the endless green. The wonderful locations in the countryside, amazing walks along the river and castle visits have made my study experience fascinating.

'I get to see a different world.'

I get to see a different world when visiting other towns too - the excellent public transport makes these towns feel so nearby. I became very familiar with using trains and my travels started. First, I visited London, then soon after other cities followed. I went to Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Huddersfield.

Apart from the surroundings and different traditions that amazed me, it was also the cosmopolitan atmosphere and multicultural blend of people. I have the opportunity to visit high street stores and gaze at the extraordinary window displays, this makes me feel like I am in the heart of fashion.

One of my best experiences was the Christmas lights last year. I could really feel the Christmas spirit and the festive joy. The cold weather and Christmas carols made the experience even more spectacular; it was something I had never experienced back home.

I was amazed to find out that so many other international students are also studying in the UK.'

Because the UK is so multicultural, I have also had the chance to try so many different foods and see fellow international students celebrate their special days in unique ways. I was amazed to find out that so many other international students are also studying in the UK, including many Cypriots. This made me feel that I wasn’t alone!

Unfortunately, I don’t have the chance to see my fellow students that often anymore, since Covid-19 has resulted in online classes. I’m so pleased that I do have many face-to-face laboratories and I can put theory into practice when experimenting. My studies are very intense, and I remain focused on the true purpose of why I am here. I now spend most of my time in my cosy on-campus apartment, studying hard and determined to reach my goal.

If you are a student and wish to study in the UK, you will benefit in various ways. Firstly, you will gain a British education, secondly you will have the chance to see so many places that are different to your home country and thirdly you will become friends with other students from all over the world. Friendships that will last a lifetime!

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