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Hello, my name is Patrycja! I’m from Poland and I study BA (Hons) Computer Animation Art & Design at Bournemouth University. There is so much to do in order to prepare for your new life as a university student. Whether you’ve come through Clearing and you’re trying to organise everything at the last minute, or you’ve been thinking about it since you got your offer months ago, there never seems to be enough time. So here is a little guide to arrivals week that I wish I had when I was starting university a year ago. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, remember that for the first few weeks you’re going to probably spend a lot of time cooking pasta (because it’s the easiest thing and a student’s best friend) and using Google Maps (because you will be lost in a new place a lot.) That’s totally okay! We all started like this, had fun and survived.

Know how and where to arrive

The first things worth mentioning – especially for international students like me – are the Meet & Greet and airport transfer services that BU offers at various airports. I used them and, to be honest, I was so grateful that they existed because they made my life so much easier. I was flying for the first time in my life, and the fact that there were other students and I didn’t have to look for transport from Heathrow on my own made me so much less stressed about the whole situation. Airport transfer saved me in another way too because they gave us some maps of the campus and the surrounding areas. My internet connection was behaving weirdly when I arrived, so it really saved me when I had to get to my new house after collecting keys from Talbot Campus. So remember: check maps and buses beforehand to know where to go when you arrive!

Try to contact people before you get here so you have people to socialise with

There are lots of Facebook groups that are worth checking out before you arrive in Bournemouth. There are accommodation groups that BU creates, and also a general Freshers group. They are really useful for getting in touch with your future coursemates and housemates. Maybe that might even inspire you to organise an ice-breaker meeting with your coursemates before lectures start. You can even find out if there are some other people from your country studying at BU. From my own experience, finding your flatmates before you start living with them and starting a group chat is really useful. Not only can you talk about who’s bringing cutlery or who’s bringing a frying pan, etc. but you also have people to call if your suitcase breaks on the way to your new home (based on personal experience!)

Know what’s happening around Bournemouth

Okay, so group chats can help to determine a date for a night out with your housemates or coursemates, but how do you find out where to go and what’s happening around Bournemouth? There is a lot happening during Week One. There are lots of events organised by ResLife and SUBU; some are free, some are not. In Bournemouth there are lots of pubs and clubs and places to go, like The Old Fire Station: a club run by BU students. If you like clubbing, you can get a wristband that gives you access to most of the events during Freshers’ Week. Of course, Bournemouth also has the beach and gardens if you’d rather do something relaxing or would like to organise a beach barbeque with your new friends. Everyone can find something to do, just please try not to sit in your room for the whole first week; go and make some friends! And be prepared to go to the annual Freshers’ Fair where you can (and should) join some clubs and societies that can really enrich your university experience. For all the information about various events, it’s best to follow BU social media channels and groups.

Beware the Freshers’ Flu!

Last but not least, take care of yourself, and be aware of your health and limitations whatever you do. The freshers’ flu is legendary, and it will always happen to some students. I didn’t start the year with a runny nose (although I ended it with one) but a lot of my friends had their fair share of the freshers’ flu and, as you can imagine, they were not happy about it. Remember, the weather in Bournemouth might be a bit different from the place you’ve come from, so register with the doctors here when you arrive so you can easily get help if the flu gets you.

That’s the end of my guide to Week One, so find the nearest shop that sells pasta on Google Maps and HAVE FUN! You’re only a fresher once.

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