Preparing for my international student adventure

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Picture showing the Laurier International office.

Although my time as Laurier student taking on England is approaching quickly, there are still a lot of boxes to check before departure.

There are more steps to becoming an international student at an accredited institution in the UK than I was aware of before applying.

Picture showing the Laurier International office.
Sadiya Teeple

One of the steps required includes attending in person meetings with the international exchange team at Laurier to make sure that all steps are being completed before leaving.

Before departing, each student must fill out a SHERM safety plan.

This is a form that forces you to research the location you are going to in order to find out about the potential hazards you could come across such as pick pocketing, tourist attacks and street accidents.

After researching these potential hazards, you are required to fill out the form and complete a plan for each issue you could face and what you would do to contend with them.

This part of the process was interesting because a lot of the hazards were things I was not aware I would run into.

Another part of preparing to become an international student includes applying to the host institution.

This is made up of tasks such as picking courses, sending in your transcript from Laurier and applying for housing. These are some of the last steps, but also some of the most confusing ones.

Applying to the host institution was easy since they email you the information you need to apply.

From there, you fill out your personal information and program requirements at your current institution.

It is only after this step that you submit your transcript.

Unfortunately for me, my form got lost in the mail and the individual receiving it was on vacation.

Due to this, I was incredibly worried that it would not be accepted in time. Luckily, everything managed to work out and I didn’t have to spend more than fifty dollars to sort it all out.

The course selection process was one of the most enjoyable parts. In the UK, the credit system is different from Canada’s, and they require 60 credits per term.

This equates to six courses weighted at 10 credits each, or three courses weighted at 20 credits each.

Most of the courses within my selection were weighted at 20 credits each, so I will likely only have three courses for the semester.

The course selection for English majors at the University of Birmingham has a lot of different classes, ranging from topics like Harry Potter to Shakespeare.

The courses I chose to take include “Fantastic Beasts”, “Literary Discourse” and “A Common language? English in the UK and the USA.” If I don’t get into these, I plan to take courses on poetry, decadents and moderns.

Lastly, I was tasked with applying for housing. The university recommends the residence buildings on campus, as living there makes it easier to connect with other exchange students and make friends. There were five different halls to choose from when selecting housing, and most offered a room with a shared bathroom. I selected Tennis Court, which is slightly far from the centre of campus.

When selecting housing, the host institution will provide a link to your email and then login credentials which assist you in selecting a room in a particular apartment.

I picked a room in an all-girls apartment that has people from France, Germany, and two other unspecified locations.

As of Jan. 2, I will be an EU citizen for a six-month period


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