February 13, 2015, by International students

International students – 4 ways you can give back to Nottingham

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Coming to study here in the UK from another part of the planet is a valuable, exciting and life-changing experience. You might have always been told how beneficial it is to obtain foreign experience, by developing your language proficiency, expanding your horizons and stepping out from your comfort zone. Without a doubt, being away from our families to live in the UK is an eye-opening chance, especially being in Nottingham, when you come across fellow students from over 150 countries all over the world. What you gain includes global cultural awareness, independence and many more personal skills.

However, we should not only focus on what you can gain from studying overseas, but should also think about what you could bring to the university. You can actually provide rich cultural knowledge to other students and stand out to contribute to the university.

Here are a number of examples of how you can contribute:

  1. Join a society which is culturally orientated

There are tons of societies which are closely related to cultures, religions and nationalities, ranging from the East African Society, AmeriCan Society, to Romanian and Serbian! You will be able to find yours. If not, just create one! These societies are devoted to providing a platform for you to immerse yourselves to learn about a specific culture. Whilst you’re adapting to British culture, you can also be teaching by joining your society to make friends, to let local students experience your culture!

For example, by being a member of the Contemporary China Society, you act as an ambassador to promote your authentic Chinese culture to foreigners who are captivated by all things Chinese!

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  1. Take part in a language exchange through pairing

Instead of burying your head in grammar books, why don’t you get into pairs with someone who speaks the language you’re learning when he/she also learns your native language? By doing so, you don’t just learn, you teach at the same time; it’s a win-win situation. The School of Contemporary Chinese Studies is offering this scheme for Mandarin learners. Find out more from the Nottingham Language Centre.

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  1. Run for position as a rep of your hall/ school

To immerse yourself in the organisation of the uni, regardless whether it is a big or a small role, you are doing something amazing. You shine your own culture, you understand the problems of your people, and then you are fuelled to voice out for them. You can make a real difference by being a rep. Your community will thank you.

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  1. Seize a chance to work at the University

Apart from utilising your cultural advantages, you can give back to the university by working with them. There are various job roles available in Student Union’s shops, one-off events or local businesses in Nottingham. You might do it out of the intention to fill gaps on your CV and to enrich your skills, but it is also a chance for you to contribute by providing them your qualities. They need you too.

No matter whether you’re here for a couple of years for your studies or on an exchange programme for only one semester, there are always opportunities for you to make an impact. To make the most out of your uni life is not merely how much you have learnt when you look back, you will be proud of what you have given to others and the environment, too.

Paula Chung, an international student from Hong Kong studying BA International Media and Communication Studies at The University of Nottingham.

Posted in Cultural integrationSocieties