March 14, 2014, by International students
A Spaniard in Nottingham
My name is Juan, I’m a final year Law student and this is my experience spending a few months studying at The University of Nottingham in the most famous wet island in the entire world. I had been to England before, but not further than London, which is not the most typical English city.
Before arriving here from sunny Spain, there were two things that I expected were going to be tough: the weather and the food. I was prepared to cope with that, expecting it to be like living in ‘Mordor’ (the fictional land of Lord of the Rings) and to eat fast food all the time. But nothing could be further from the truth. The weather is not that bad (locals told me that this year we were lucky) and I live in a self-catered hall, so I do not need to turn to takeaways as much as some friends who live in catered halls.
The next step after getting used to my new daily life was to be part of the University community. One problem for foreign students in any country is that we find ourselves outside our comfort zone and the easiest thing is to isolate yourself in groups of people with the same culture or language, which does not help you if you want to have an authentic experience in a different culture and society. I do not mean that you have to ignore people from your country, because sometimes you need them, and it is good to feel at home, but I wanted to challenge myself. That’s why I decided to join different societies to try to meet English people.
I started my integration by living in halls. It is true that halls are more for freshers, but I thought that living in one of them was the easiest way to meet English students who could help me adapt to a new lifestyle, and I found that that was the case.
I joined the Law Society, which provided me the opportunity to be in touch with the legal sector. All the meetings and networking events with law firms have helped very much with my career plans. Being part of its football team gave me the chance to meet great people. I really enjoyed its amazing socials. I think it is one of the best organised societies on campus. I also joined the International Society and its football team, who organise excellent international parties with lovely people and offer language partner activities which helped me with my English.
The Sailing Society gave me the opportunity to spend time travelling around the country and having fun. A special mention must go to the Rugby League Society, because even though I had no experience of the sport, they made me feel part of their team. Unfortunately, I could not attend a lot of matches and activities due to my other obligations but I enjoyed this society so much because they are the friendliest guys on campus.
In addition, I saw a few Nottingham Forest football games and went on a lot of trips. I visited different places such as York, Cambridge, Liverpool, Oxford and Warwick Castle. In short, I tried to make the most of every day.
Last but not least, I am very happy to have joined the Intercultural Awareness Nottingham Award module. I recommend it to everyone because thanks to the excellent staff in the International Office, I was able to understand what living abroad really means and how to deal with the challenges of being in a different society.
I am very happy to have come to Nottingham and I would encourage everyone to live abroad, because it pushes you harder, it helps you to know yourself better and it is an amazing experience. Seriously, the world is very big, try to explore it with a positive attitude and with a sense of fun!
Juan Faus, Spanish student on a study abroad placement in the final year of a Law degree.