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5 things people don't tell you about moving country

By UALHalls 12 Oct 2020

“Oh my god, you are going to be so free.”

“Damn. It’s going to be such a life-changing experience.”

“You are going to have a blast. I am jealous.”

These are just a few of the reactions I got when I told people I would be moving to London for my Master's degree.

Although you are gearing up for the time of your lives by moving to a different country, let me tell you a few things that people won’t tell you about the real experience. 

1. Homesickness
When all the chaos of packing-boarding-unpacking dies down, the feeling of being so far away from all the people you love and the place you called your home can hit you hard. You might be sad, lonely and you may want to go back and feel the warmth of your family and friends.

My advice: ​It’s tough, folks. BUT the good part is you will be fine in a week or two. Just go out for a walk, video call your fam and your friends back home or just do whatever that makes you happy. Or, sign up for Tea and Talk where you can catch up with your Halls Rep. 

2. Administrative paperwork
Ugh. You did A LOT of immigration and VISA work back home so you’d think it would be all over once you get to London right? Wrong. There will be another load of paperwork you will have to go through.

How I dealt with it: ​It’s going to be overwhelming but the best way to deal with that is to take a deep breath, make a list and just keep ticking it off one by one. Before you know it, it will be over. Also, check out Halls Life where you will find a number of articles that will help you through your admin. 

3. Your support systems will change
You always had your ma, pa or someone to fall back upon in your home country. Here, it can feel like you have to do everything on your own. From cooking to making decisions, to managing finances. This responsibility is huge. Sometimes you will just want to give up, curl up in a corner and cry, which is fine too. 

Remember: ​Although it can be tough at the start, it’s going to be liberating and you will be proud of the person you will become in the end. Never be shy to ask for help, you're not alone. Get in touch with the various support facilities at UAL. If you don't know them yet, your Halls Reps will be able to point you in the right direction. They are here to help. 

4. Starting everything from scratch
Back home you had your set of friends you would always go out with, knew all the shops and cafes around your city and everything was easier. Now, you are here without those friendship groups and you don't even know where the nearest takeaway place is. It’s a new process altogether and it can feel very alienated.

My remedy:​ The UAL community is great and you will make friends in no time. You are not alone in this. A lot of International Students are going through the same situation as you. Try to get out, reach out and make new friends! The Social Programme will be running events all year, this is a great way to start.

5. The feeling of not belonging
Last but definitely not least, one of the strongest feelings that you will have to overcome not feeling like you belong. You are in a country where you have no roots, the culture is different, and language is different. Things feel different to home and you will keep thinking things like “I don’t fit in here” or “I don’t belong here”.

My remedy: ​The best way to get rid of this sinking feeling is to embrace the place, its people, and the culture with all curiosity you can. Go out, explore, talk to locals, befriend them, immerse yourself in their daily culture and soon find yourself feeling at home in no time. 

These are just a few things I experienced and found that people don’t often talk about when you are moving countries.

Nothing (not even the above points) is going to change the fact that moving abroad is definitely going to be a life-changing experience for you. It’s going to be exhilarating and will mould you for the rest of your life in the best way!

Here I am after a month, reflecting on my experience of moving to London. I love it here, have a great circle of friends and feel absolutely at home.

So gear up, you braveheart, and set upon this new journey of life. :D

Cue in *The time of my life – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes*

Written by our previous Halls Rep, Niharika