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The transition to UK University

I am currently in my fifth year as an international student in the UK. Compared to other countries, I have always preferred studying in the UK because I had visited the UK multiple times and became familiar with the Country; I also had family living in the UK. However, I was unsure how the university experience would be and how to adapt to the new system. I began applying to several universities and decided to go with the University of Bristol.

Initially, I was unsure between doing the fast-tracked A-levels or foundation programme, and I chose a foundation programme. This programme allowed me to adapt to university life and the new learning techniques different from what I was familiar with from Nigeria. I was inexperienced with conducting research and drafting reports since most of the previous assessment methods I had undergone were written exams. I had also not developed essential skills such as time management, accountability and critical thinking. Learning and developing these skills are very important for undergraduate study. Additionally, Self-discipline is a crucial trait to possess as there is no one present to ensure you attend lectures or submit your coursework’s on time. The lectures or lessons provided are insufficient, so hard work, personal study and revision are critical for success.

One of the significant advantages of being an international student is connecting with people from multiple countries. I have learned and established relationships with individuals from different social and ethnic backgrounds. The diversity has provided me with various perspectives and has widened my scope of the world. As a student, I have explored some of my interests and hobbies by becoming a member of university societies and attending organised events. As a massive Formula 1 supporter, I joined the Formula student team and participated in the functional design and manufacturing of a race car. Attending socials such as the weekly African and Caribbean society events and Mech-socials helped me de-stress and kick back with some friends. Taking time out to chill can be very important as university work can be sometimes overwhelming.

Active involvement in career-related activities such as internships, seminars, and placements can help you apply for jobs and access your chosen industry as an international student. My advice is to be disciplined and make good use of your time at university. Most importantly, explore and have fun.

Oladokun Akintola

Student, BA in Mechanical Engineering

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