January 9, 2015, by International students

Great friends are my graduation ‘gift’

Korean student Kuemju at her graduation
“Now, you have a strong connection all over the world.”

When the Vice-Chancellor finished his address on my graduation day, his last words touched my heart. This is because that reminded me of my friends whom I met in Nottingham last year.

Graduation was my “GREAT” excuse to come back to Nottingham. Since I went back to Korea in September, I really missed my friends whom studied with me. We all studied different areas: psychology, business, engineering, architecture and English. Also, we are all from different countries all over the world. Some people might think one year is not enough to make a “true” friend, but I strongly believe it is enough.

As an international student, it is not easy to study in a strange land. New things including language, food and all environments sometimes take away psychological stability from us. I had to mingle with people who have been grown up in different countries and had to deal with strange food. To be honest, it seemed like a punishment to live with DELICIOUS English food.

My friends I met at the University were not only friends but also my new family. They were willing to give me hands when I needed help, and they were always next to me when I missed home. Whenever I was thinking about giving up, they raised me from the bottom. Over one year, we laughed and cried together. I might have felt lonely, frustrated, and depressed without them. I don’t think I could have managed to finish my study without my friends.

Korean student Kuemju at graduation with a friend
After we all submitted our dissertations, we decided to have reunion time during graduation period. Finally, we made it in December of 2014. We flew into the UK from all over the world. Some friends came for graduation with family, and some came with their friends from their home country. Even though my family couldn’t make to come for my graduation with me, I didn’t feel alone. This is because all my friends were there to congratulate my graduation, even their family considered themselves as my parents and their friends considered themselves as my friends from my home country.

Before I went to the graduation ceremony, I stopped by my supervisor’s office. I wanted to say “thank you” to him. While we were talking about our last year, he asked me about my experiences in school as an international student. I could tell him without any hesitation because it was too obvious. The most valuable thing I got from school was friends. They stayed with me last year, and I know they will stay with me for a long time.

It is not easy for international students to decide to study in another country. Many students give up the idea of studying abroad with so many reasons including worries about new life. I was the same as well one year ago. However, now I know my great friends are my graduation ‘gift’ from The University of Nottingham.

Kuemju Byeon, international student from South Korea studying MSc Work and Organisational Psychology at The University of Nottingham.

Posted in AcademicCultural integrationFoodFriends