Each month we ask our International Wellbeing Ambassadors some questions to find out how they’ve got on living in the UK. This month hear from Shuchi, a Psychology student who is originally from India but has lived in Dubai her whole life.
What is the biggest similarity between your hometown/country and Bath/UK?
The smell of rain pervasive in the UK and greenery remind me of India since we don’t really get much rain in Dubai. The architecture is also very reminiscent of Mumbai owing to colonial influence.
What do you miss most about your home country? How have you overcome this, was there a positive outcome?
I miss my family the most when I’m here, but I’m grateful for video calling software which allows me to talk to them often and feel a bit less homesick. I also miss authentic Indian food which was hard to get when I first came to Bath, but there have been a few relevant food shops and restaurants popping up recently which is exciting to see!
What’s something surprised you about moving to/living in the UK?
One thing that really surprised me about the UK is the tendency for shops to close very early in the day (especially on Sundays). Most shops are open till late at night in Dubai, and Sunday seems to me like the perfect day to run errands if shops weren’t closed. I was also surprised by how early it gets dark during winter.
What are your top three things to do in Bath?
My top three things to do in Bath are exploring the fabric of the city (history and hidden spots), discovering good food, and hanging out with the cows at Bathwick Field (or getting out into nature really).
Are you part of any clubs/societies at Uni or in Bath?
Definitely, I’ve been very involved with societies since my first year and have held/am holding a couple of committee positions too! I’m also Outreach Liaison on the Activities Executive Committee this year which is a new role I am excited to facilitate collaborations across societies in. Societies and clubs are such a great way to discover hobbies and meet people whilst being productive. I am also an avid volunteer.
What do you love most about living in Bath?
Bath is such a beautiful city steeped in rich history – it’s incredible to think I’ve been in the same places Regency era high society probably were at some point. I love that living in Bath affords me the opportunity to roam around taking all the beauty and history in, whilst also feeling safe and secure.
What’s your favourite place to eat/favourite takeaway in Bath?
So many great places, it is really difficult to choose only one, so I am going to cheat a little bit and say Bath has really good pizza places in general – The Martini Restaurant’s goat cheese pizza and Dough Pizzeria’s variety in crusts are a must-try.
What’s the best or worst thing you’ve eaten since being in the UK?
The best thing I’ve eaten in the UK that I hadn’t tried before is the kouign-amann at Maison Georges Larnicol. I also love sticky toffee pudding and would absolutely petition to make it the national dessert. The worst thing I’ve probably eaten is the unspecified brand for legal reasons, fast food that tends to be good in Dubai and great in India (finger-licking good even).
Is there somewhere in Bath/UK that you’d like to go but haven’t been yet?
In Bath, I’ve been meaning to visit the Holburne Museum or go for the famous Skyline Walk for a while now but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I also want to travel within the UK while I have the opportunity to; I’ve been to Scotland so far and it was breathtakingly scenic. I’ll hopefully be visiting Liverpool and Manchester next year too!
What’s your favourite or weirdest UK tradition you have learnt about?
I am always delighted to be in Bath around Christmas time because the UK tends to be very festive and get into the holiday spirit more than anywhere else I’ve been. It’s not so much a tradition anymore (or I would hope not) but when I visited the Tower of London, I saw the innovative devices and tactics employed to torture people which was interesting but also a bit weird (they got very creative with it).
What’s your favourite British slang/word?
I’ve really come to like ‘Cheers’ for saying goodbye or thank you; I only ever used to say it when toasting but have since begrudgingly adopted it into my vernacular. I also quite like ‘Peng’ to be honest.
What’s your top tip for International Students?
My top tip for International Students would be don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and not only experience what university has to offer but use the opportunities you have to shape what experiences university has the potential to give you and your peers. Don’t feel like the International Student label is there to exclude you from other students, but instead sets you apart as a person with diverse experiences that you can share with everybody and thrive in. Don’t feel pigeonholed into only engaging with traditional activities if you don’t want to, you should absolutely put yourself out of your comfort zone and try something different – the worst things to regret in life are the ones you haven’t done!