April 11, 2014, by International students

Try something new at Nottingham

Coming from Japan as an exchange student, I was determined to make the most of my stay in Nottingham by getting involved in societies. When I went to the Welcome Fair, I simply had too many societies I was interested in, with hundreds to choose from! I was torn between trying something new and continuing my hobby in playing music. In the end, I decided to try something new – ‘something that anyone and everyone can do, no matter what your shape or size’. That is why I decided to join the Belly Dance Society.

Belly dance was something I was always interested in, but I had never had a chance to try it. I still remember going to the first practice feeling nervous about not knowing anyone. But soon I realised most of the people at the practice were also beginners just like me. Weekly lessons and performance rehearsals took place in a very friendly atmosphere so I was able to make many friends.

Miku (far left) with the Belly Dance society

Miku (far left) with the Belly Dance society

A few weeks after I started taking lessons, I took part in the first performance of the year at Asian Society’s formal dinner. I really enjoyed performing in front of the audience. Taking part in performances helped me gain confidence and now I absolutely love belly dancing. I am hoping to continue my new hobby when I go back to Japan.

Miku (front and left) at an event with the Japanese Society

Miku (front and left) at an event with the Japanese Society

I also joined the Japanese society. The society helped me with the transition to Nottingham by organising a city centre tour during the Freshers’ week and a trip to the Bonfire event in November. I soon realised the society is not only for Japanese students. Through socials, I was able to meet many people studying Japanese as a foreign language or those who are interested in Japanese culture. Joining the Japanese Society gave me an opportunity to think about Japanese culture from a new perspective.

Looking back, getting involved in societies helped me adjust to university life. Not only I was able to make many friends who share the same interest, I now have a new hobby I can continue when I go back to Japan. Societies definitely made my year abroad at Nottingham enriching.

I would recommend international students to join a student society since you can widen your social network beyond your course and halls of residence. Taking part in societies made me feel I am contributing back to the university as I got to participate in events in the local community. There are hundreds of societies to choose from and many ways of getting involved. There is certainly something that suits each individual. Whether you want to do something new or carry on with your interest, joining a society will guarantee fun experiences and wonderful memories you can cherish. ​

Miku Itakura, international exchange student from Japan studying Sociology at The University of Nottingham.

Posted in Cultural integrationFriendsSocieties