After you accept your unconditional offer at university, you will receive an invitation from the international office to attend the international student induction programme; sometimes referred to as international orientation. International induction programmes are usually one to two weeks in duration and take place before classes begin. At the beginning of the semester you will also be required to take part in a course induction, where you will learn all about your course and meet your fellow students, but international induction is designed specifically for international students to teach them all they need to know about living and studying in a different country.
Because attendance is not compulsory you might decide not to go, and instead spend one or two more weeks with your family in your own country before you fly out to start your new adventure. However, these programmes are created for a reason and you may find yourself struggling to adjust later on if you don’t attend. Here are five reasons why you should go for international induction:
1. Get to know the international office representatives
This may not sound important now, but throughout your time at university, it is essential that you know who the international office staff are, and where they are located, as it is likely that you will need to access their services on at least one occasion. From information regarding permitted working hours during your studies to visa support and advice, the international office teams will be on hand to assist you throughout your journey, therefore it is imperative that you get to know them sooner rather than later.
2. Meet a ‘buddy’
Most international induction programmes will have a ‘buddy’ or mentor scheme where you will be paired with another international student; usually a second or third year. New students are sometimes wary of asking university staff for advice, but these students have been through it all before and know exactly what it is like to be new to a foreign country. There is no such thing as a stupid question and it is likely that these students asked similar things when they arrived, so make sure you utilise the time you spend with them.
3. Mingle with other international students
Although you will meet lots of students throughout your time at university, the international induction is a great way to meet other students who are in exactly the same position as you. You might even find that some of them are living in your accommodation, or are studying the same course as you, and it is always nice to see a familiar face as you walk into an overcrowded lecture theatre.
4. Learn the local culture
Again, this is something you will learn about as time goes on, but the international office staff will take the time to integrate you into your new surroundings and talk to you about the local customs and cultures – more specifically what to do and what not to do. This can be really useful and save some potentially embarrassing moments further down the line.
5. Explore the campus and local area
The international induction will include a tour of the campus and nearby places of interest. A campus tour will be on offer to domestic students when they arrive, but once again it is good to get a head start as everything will be a lot less familiar to you. Additionally, they won’t have access to a tour of the surrounding areas, which is something you should take full advantage of. Things such as how to pay for a bus and the location of places such as clinics or supermarkets will come in really handy when you start to explore the new environment on your own.
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