Abdullah and Tricia: Making a community of international students
Abdullah from Pakistan and Tricia from Singapore are two of our student ambassadors at Cardiff University International Study Centre. Both students are currently studying the International Foundation Year with us. Recently, they collaborated and wrote a blog about the importance of making friends as an international student.
Meeting new friends at the International Study Centre
Our first interaction was through email when AJ (Abdullah’s nickname) asked for my contact. Initially I was quite nervous as I didn’t know other students outside of my foundation pathway. But through our conversation on WhatsApp, I learnt more about AJ, his Pakistani background, as well as his foundation pathway, which is Arts, Law and Humanities. I think it was really nice just knowing more about each other and we hope to meet each other in Cardiff.
When Tricia and I met over WhatsApp, we were both open with each other, and felt like we could talk freely, as you would with a friend. We communicated and there was not a moment where both of us were confused or worried. We started to get to know each other. I found out that she is a 23 year old, Health, Medical and Life Sciences International Foundation Year student.
Interesting things we learnt about each other
Tricia currently lives in University accommodation in Cardiff, while I continue to study virtually overseas, with the hopes of travelling so we can meet each other in person. She recently moved to Cardiff and seems to be having a controlled amount of fun, of course, due to COVID! We both just finished our exams and are enjoying the 5 days holiday. It's relatable to find other students that feel relieved and proud after the exams are over.
AJ is much younger than I am. He is 18 years old and I found it really inspiring that he wanted to pursue a LLB Law degree and eventually work as a lawyer. Although he is still in his home country doing the International Foundation Year, he hopes to come over to Cardiff when the pandemic situation improves.
Building a community as an international student
As an international student, nothing is more consoling than knowing that another student is going through the same experiences as you. The importance of trust and communication builds a strong bond, and that individual bond creates a stronger community. Friendships are easily accessible to students, as we are aware that everyone is going through the same issues and connecting with someone that has the same interests is crucial.
I think it was really comforting to know someone who was also an international student facing the same dilemma of whether we should leave our home country to move abroad during the pandemic. Knowing more students from different pathways and backgrounds also introduced me to different cultures as well as the subjects that they will study at Cardiff University.
All in all, having a community of international students makes the university experience even better! We both are excited to meet each other and all of you in Cardiff soon! Meanwhile, take care, stay safe and enjoy your online lessons while getting to know each other!