The international applicant student journey

Two University of Bath applicants share their experiences as they come to study in the UK for the first time.

Time out (Nishesh Jain)

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I was pretty confused about what I should talk to you about in this blog as a lot has been happening in the last few days. After uploading my first big essay for my module I felt very stress-free and relaxed. Therefore I decided to take a timeout for the weekend (which actually continued through the week too). Tagging along with my friends Agam - young happy go lucky chap; Utkarsh - who wants to know everything and thus gets mocked a lot; Bhavin - a mature student who generally remains quiet; and others, we went for the much anticipated and unarguably the best bond movie – Skyfall. My first cinema experience in UK with a bond movie, can’t ask for more.

Sunday was even more eventful as me, Agam and Utkarsh with some of my other close friends, a mature student but never acts like one - Priyanka, my classmate Malvika and Parul – both self-proclaimed photo queens; went for the Roman Bath tour and the Abbey. It was a very fascinating and beautiful experience to see Roman culture and lifestyle in Bath, their engineering techniques and beliefs and rituals. Being a student of Architecture, I actually spent the whole day there still wanted more time. Later we went to my friends place and cooked a lavish dinner. A day well spent.

Roman Bath tour

The highlight of all the recent events, which is still clear in my mind, is the Scholarship Reception event for international students at the Roman Baths. I was feeling very privileged, proud and fortunate to be there at the baths in the evening (baths are open in evening only on special occasions), meeting the mayor and getting our scholarship certificates. The whole experience was overwhelming.

nisheshfinal

The timeout is still on with my planned trip to London over the coming weekend before going back to my studies. 

 

Winter is here! (Joon Yoong Loh)

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It's getting so cold now. When I first arrived, I was rather optimistic about the weather, thinking it still manageable. These last few days, it's been simply freezing, and it's going to get much worse!

 

Wintry weather
Wintry weather

 

 Anyways, aside from the weather, this week has been pretty interesting. I was running to be Community Rep in the ISA (International Students' Association), competing against more senior students; asking friends to vote for me, and even made two speeches at lectures! The speeches were really terrifying, and I couldn't sleep the night before. Although it was my first time making a speech in front of over a hundred people, my friends said I didn't look nervous; a great achievement that I am proud of. But anyway, I didn't get the role! Somebody else won! Life goes on, and ahh--at least I tried!

Also, I'm going to be starting Capoeira again! What is that, you ask? Its a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, that originated 400 years ago, and resembles breakdance. The first class was last week, and a little advertising: classes are every Friday, 8pm at the dojo in the STV. Do join, its great fun! Here's a URL for more info? https://www.facebook.com/capoeiraunibath?ref=stream
Also, I'm beginning to get a little bit closer to my housemates; and we even go to church together now! Cooking is getting a bit better too, mainly because I don't need to cook as often these days. This is because:
1. There are buy 1 free 1 deals at the Parade Bar on Monday's and Thursdays
2. I have a friend who cooks fantastic Chinese food
3. I'll be getting a slowcooker soon.

Before I end, 2 random pictures:

bathabbey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The imposing Bath Abbey by night

 

friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrated a friend's birthday; surprised him at 12am with a cake and a song!

 

In the next few weeks, I will be having to study more and more, and yet I hope to be even more active in co-curricular activities. I will be working on debating, taking up Capoeira again, performing a 16 minute piano solo at a recital (hopefully), acting in a play, and hopefully much, much more!

And as for you, dear reader, do enjoy your University life, and may you take full advantage of your position. All the best to you! This would be my last post; I hope you enjoyed reading my blog; do say hi to me if you see brushing past in corridors or whatever, I don't bite!

 

Cold, homesick and Hindi music (Nishesh Jain)

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It has been a long time since the last post. It would be a little mean if I were to blame it all to the long assignment, extensive research works and the Friday submission deadline because partly I was also coping with the cold I had caught. I can’t blame the forever dramatic English weather for the cold, as it was a result of my antics last weekend, roaming in night without a jacket.

But cold or no cold through the week I was tied up in academic work, sitting on my desk with screens and just working. It was sprinkled with little periods of sanity though, in and around my English academic writing and French classes.

As I was studying through the week and recovering to full health (feeling a little homesick too), I decided to take the weekend off from studies and course mates and went out with my Indian friends to enjoy some time Indian style. We went out for a walk around bath in the day and had Indian food at a restaurant in the city and a party in the night. The following day was even more enjoyble, at one of my friends' place, we amateur cooks made a table full of Indian dishes, with loud Hindi music playing and ate it while watching a Bollywood comedy movie. The weekend couldn’t be better than that. With everything recharged and ready now the focus shifts to working for Friday's essay submission and Saturday's James Bond Skyfall.

Cluttered workspace - now my permanent station

Cluttered workspace - now my permanent station

All that you can eat.

All that you can eat.

 

Worn out (Joon Yoong Loh)

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I've learnt the importance of prioritisation over the past few days. I've been ambitiously trying to make the most of my time; signing up for more societies, events and talks that I could handle - to the detriment of my studies.

They do say that self-study is essential in University, and I finally realised its full meaning today; (a good point brought up by a friend). Well, I could not follow what Prof Sessions was teaching at the economics lecture! And that was because I didn't prepare for it; problem is, there are so many good things to do in Uni, and I'm too worn out to study!

Also, before I went off, my mother told me that when I arrive in Uni, the first thing I should do is:
1.Get into a church
followed by:
2. getting friends,
3. and finally studies.
She's right. Another reason why I didn't feel like studying was that I was feeling isolated. I'm having trouble fitting in with my housemates - excluded from many conversations and activities - due to cultural barriers. And to make things worse, I'm not hearing much from my Malaysian friends either; they live on the other side of campus. However, if you are concerned, I just got back from dinner with some of them (as I type this), so I feel somewhat better.

Community. Real important stuff.

Harpsichord

Harpsichord

Don't really have any pictures this time, but do you know what that is on the left? It's a harpsichord, the ancestor of the piano about 400 years ago, AND, they have it in the practice rooms in Uni. The keys that would be white on the modern piano are black on the harpsichord, and the keys that would be black, are white. Cool isn't it?

As of now, I have much time management stuff to sort out. Thank you for reading!

 

A very intense first week of study (Nishesh Jain)

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Fresher’s week ended with a lot of fun and excitement and nervousness, for the lectures started from the first day. The first day was more an introduction as we learnt about the new modular style of teaching and got introduced to our faculty and rest of the cohort. It was very interesting to know that from a group of 21, we had 14 different nationalities (very global).

Teaching began from day two and that was the start of a very intense week ahead. Lectures scheduled from 0930 – 1700, left us with truckloads of information to dig into. Also, our in week assignment kept us at the library late in the night till 1-2 am. Nevertheless we had a very conversant and well-versed faculty who patiently taught us through it.

In-week assignment presentation

In-week assignment presentation

Final day of the module before the weekend was a big relief and I can say it ended successfully, with just a long essay to be submitted at the end of the month.

Next module begins in the last week of October so before that there is some time to relax. Consequently over the weekend, with free minds again, I, along with my friends went to see more of Bath and Bristol. Two sunny days of exploration!!

The beautiful Bath Skyline walk

The beautiful Bath Skyline walk

 

Time to study! (Joon Yoong Loh)

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Only a week has passed, but it feels so long. University life is exciting (at least in the beginning), but quite honestly, I feel lost. Career development, skills development programmes, sports, societies, language classes seem so interesting, yet I can't do them all! And of course I still have to study and take care of my eating and laundry; quite overwhelming, really.

After one gap year which I filled by working in Starbucks, serving coffee, beginning to study again is VERY strenuous. I hadn't done a single maths question for almost a year and a half, so I'm in for a difficult time until I catch up on everything! Also, because I was studying pure science in my A-Levels, I find it so difficult to keep up with the economics lectures. Textbooks are also a tedious thing to sort out. I haven't gotten any yet, but have managed to borrow some from the library. For sure, purchasing brand new ones is not an option for me.

As for everyday life, cooking has also been an interesting experience. For the first time in my life, I have to prepare my own food, from A to Z; from buying the groceries to taking out the meat from the freezer the night before! In time, I will get better and better at it. Was great fun the first few days, but now it's become quite a drudgery.

Lastly, I've been looking for a church to join, and I think I have found the one! St. Bart's is a very warm environment, and the people here are very friendly. I think I would be quite happy here.

It's been a great week, but before I sign off, I'll end with a few pictures. 

Trip to Bristol with my friends. We went to IKEA to get many household items we needed

Trip to Bristol with my friends. We went to IKEA to get many household items we needed

Beriani rice in town! Very nice indeed.

Beriani rice in town! Very nice indeed.

Dinner

Dinner!

 

Freshers' week (Nishesh Jain)

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Bath, Uni and Beyond

It’s just halfway through freshers week and it feels so much longer. Not because it’s boring or time is running slow but actually I am doing so many things that it feels like a week’s accomplishments already. So I think this would be a longer post this time and pardon me for dragging you through it.

My first glimpse of England

My first glimpse of England

Leaving home for this long adventure was a little nostalgic at first. But as I moved away from Delhi, excitement kept increasing. It was such that I didn’t even notice that it was a 9 hour long flight and arriving in Heathrow was really fun. I went along with some of my Indian friends, who were on board with me, and got on the coach to Bath. The weather was pleasant and warm with the sun shining, contrary to my expectations of a cold and rainy welcome. The bus moved through the English countryside giving beautiful and magnificent views. As we approached Bath up and down the hills the glimpses of the city and surroundings were even more attractive than what I had imagined.

From the bus stand we moved to our new accommodation at Cleveland Buildings, as pretty as the rest of the city. The rooms were a little smaller than my expectations, but housekeeping staff and the resident tutor really helped me to get settled in. In the evening, along with my friends, I walked down to see the city centre and to grab some dinner. And it was the end of a stunning welcome to Bath.

At Heathrow

At Heathrow

Sunday morning, the weather did not disappoint this time, it was raining! I headed to the University, planning my day for the boring admission related formalities (which I will try to refrain from elaborating here too much).  The day was actually just the opposite. I saw the most beautiful campus of all, the University had organised loads of events for international students to come and know fellow students and make new friends. And by the evening I was having coffee and snacks with Grant Walle and Verena Wang, making tens of other friends along the way.

Our LINC mentor group

Our LINC mentor group

The following days were even more enjoyable (with more subtle weather conditions) and there were many events organised by the university LINC program for the international students.  The LINC mentoring session was one of the highlights as I finally met our helpful and friendly mentor Lucy and my fellow mentees Jiejang and Alexandra. This was a great opportunity to get to know and learn anything about British culture and to adapt to it. Lastly, apart from the parties you obviously enjoy in the night I am pretty excited to try my hand at sports which I have never played before. So the enjoyment continues at Bath……

Nishesh Jain

 

Fitting in (Joon Yoong Loh)

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Hello dear reader(s). The past few days have been most eventful, and for that reason I have held off posting an entry, but now I absolutely must write. Well, I moved into campus on Saturday, and even within these few days there have been ups and downs!

Well, day one was a down. Awkwardness and timidity, was the character of the day. Obviously, the new culture made me timid; I was not as outgoing as I could be, and had much frustration trying to listen to my flatmates' conversations! Very disorientating, and I felt really, really, lost. Also, they were 100% equipped with everything. Pots pans, knives, groceries for a full week; everything, and I had none of that. While I had to run around town trying to get utensils and groceries, they could just chat comfortably in their kitchens! Their circumstances were different from mine, and I could feel a barrier to connection. Fortunately, some of them were kind enough to lend me their things; the first kind of warmth I received. One especially kind housemate even gave me advice on cooking; I had never really been independent before!

Support from fellow Malaysians has also been very important. Because we have similar needs, we identify with one another much better, and truly, I need them. Feels like home when they're around, and I truly value such fellowship.

Day 3 - Much better. Never been the clubbing sort, but hey! It was REALLY fun. Though I felt awkward, not fully participating, I enjoyed the high energy levels, and I was really happy when I began meeting new people! It really got me warmed up, and I met some really nice people that night! Forgive me if I'm wrong, but the British can seem to be able to make friends only at night. Anyway, they were very kind, very considerate, and concerned about me fitting in. Overall, I am adapting slowly, though I still have communication problems. I still haven't got all my cooking utensils, but in time, I will establish myself. Inductions have just begun, and I will soon have a routine. So much to do, and so much in store.

The night before I moved in, in my hotel in Bath city, I tried to imagine what it would be like, imagined what I would do, how I'd meet people, etc, etc

Miserable day in the rain with fellow Malaysians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An utterly miserable day in the rain with my fellow Malaysians! We had to go shopping in the city though it rained the whole day. Really cold too, but it was fun!

Joon Yoong Loh

 

My final week of preparation

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My final week of preparation for Bath was a very frantic one. It started with having back to back meals with various friends and groups on the weekend and almost having a bad stomach at the end of it. But the following weekdays I, with my cousins, went for a roadtrip to Shree Mahavirji, Rajasthan, a sacred place for Jains to take blessings from the divinity (it is customary in our part of the world). It was a wonderful small trip, before a long one. The cool and present weather through the drive made it even more special.

Dinner with Friends at Barbique Nation, Delhi

Dinner with Friends at Barbique Nation, Delhi

Returning on Wednesday was the beginning of the countdown. Most of the time was spent anxiously preparing all the documents, going through arrival checklists, printing maps for the city and contacting friends in the UK for guidance. Lucy, my Mentor from the University was of great help in clarifying all my doubts and patiently answering my innumerable queries. Kudos to her 🙂
Excitement is at its peak now, as the final few hours approach. I am just stuffing in all I can carry (especially gifts from my family and friends), keeping in mind the generously stingy luggage allowance by British Airways. Leaving for the airport right now is giving me goose bumps as the fun filled, exciting, packed schedule of the fresher’s week approach with an extraordinary opportunity to make new friends. I simply can’t wait for my rendezvous with the English culture and the beautiful city of Bath.

Temple at Shree Mahavirji

Temple at Shree Mahavirji

Nishesh Jain

 

A dream come true

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Coming to the beautiful city of Bath to study architecture is a dream come true:  a city which is known for its rich and ancient architecture, heritage and culture.  Receiving the Acceptance of Studies from the University of Bath was just the start of a long and exciting preparation schedule. There is so much to look forward to coming to Bath this year that I have to prepare myself on so many levels. Firstly there is the excitement of coming to the University and meeting new friends, then to settle in and adapt to a new culture, then to live alone far from your relatives and lastly to prepare yourself for the studies.

Apart from going through the formalities for completing the paperwork for my visa and other documents, I am getting ready to adapt and soak in the new atmosphere at Bath. I am reading about the history and culture of the place, learning the local lingo and ways of English people.  At the University the freshers’ week and the events there are all so exciting that I just can’t choose what to do.  Scheduling the events in my calendar and preparing for what to wear is difficult. As they say, the first impression is the last impression.

Exploring all the societies and activities beyond studies are very exhilarating. Living alone for the first time, away from family has made me take cooking classes, and do budget planning (not at all easy when you do it alone!).  This entire thing aside, the most time consuming but most satisfying and rewarding is the shopping part of it. In the end, the remaining time I am visiting my friends and relatives, to meet them all before going.  I just can’t wait; I am literally counting down the days left on my fingers.  I am super ready and excited to become a member of the Bath family.

Nishesh Jain