Written by Sammi Li
BA (Hons) Communication and Media
During my A-levels, I didn’t have a lot of friends because everyone was busy with studying and working. Also being so far from home, I was a bit terrified with all the new faces and environment. Coming to Bournemouth, I thought I might not be able to make a lot of friends being a foreigner as well. However, making sure every international student would fit in, the university has formed an internationally community along with other programmes and activities like Global Buddies and the Global Cafe. I got to know people from other countries and local students before I even arrived in Bournemouth. With this assistance, it took me no time at all to make great friends.
Other than international programmes, I also became close friends with my flatmates as they are the people that I will be living with for the rest of the year. My flat i s quite diverse as there are two Chinese, a Portuguese/English, a Romanian and two English girls. We got along quickly as everyone is very welcoming and open to different backgrounds and cultures. We would do shopping, cooking and go out together, encourage and boost each other’s confidence going into the university life. So far we have had three pizza nights, one pancake night and two Sprinkle days. It is great to take a break from all the essays and projects, just having some fun with your friends.
Studying Communication & Media (BACOMM) is great, we all enjoy diversity and differences as we believe in the benefits of creating a global village where everyone is welcomed and equal. We are divided up into seminar groups with about 20 people therefore students can have a chance to get to know each other better. Just a tip, it is a great idea to make friends with someone in your course who can help and give you advice on coursework and you can study for exams together. Companionship is essential when you are facing a challenge or lacking motivation. Despite my lack of fluency when communicating or writing in English sometimes, everyone is the seminar group still treats me as a part of the team. Their patience and support really helped when I was lost with all the information given at the beginning.
Although I like hanging out with my friends, homesickness is something that cannot be avoided being so far from home and the things that I was familiar with. My solution for this (call me nerdy), I watched a lot of TV dramas, films, anime and variety shows; read the entire Harry Potter series and many manga (like a lot!!); I also fangirl more than usual (huge K-POP and J-POP fan). This means I stayed in my room for quite a bit at the beginning but then I realised it’s much more fun to fangirl with your friends so…my flatmates are now fangirls as well (LOL).
I understand the fear and insecurity coming to a foreign country and being away from home but trust me, everyone feels the same. What we need is support one another during the transition. There are many channels for both international and home students to find and make friends, don’t hesitate and try participating in one of them. You might meet your life-time friends in Bournemouth University.