Produced by Meet Jain
BA (hons) Marketing communications with digital media
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When I embarked on my journey as an international student at Bournemouth University, little did I know that my first year would be a masterclass in personal growth and cultural integration. Reflecting on my experiences, there’s one thing I wish I had done differently: fully immerse myself in the vibrant world of clubs and societies that the university has to offer.
In the flurry of adjusting to a new country, making friends, and managing coursework, I underestimated the potential of joining clubs and societies. Looking back, here’s what I wish I had known and done during that crucial first year:
- Embracing Diversity Through Shared Interests: Bournemouth University boasts a wide array of clubs and societies catering to various interests – from sports and hobbies to cultural and academic pursuits. By joining a club aligned with my interests, I could have instantly connected with like-minded individuals who shared my passions. This would not only have facilitated friendships but also provided a supportive community that understands the challenges of being an international student.
- Professional Networking Opportunities: One missed opportunity I deeply regret is not exploring societies related to my field of study. These societies often organize workshops, seminars, and guest lectures that could have helped me gain insights into my industry and build valuable connections. Being part of such networks can significantly enhance career prospects and open doors to internships or job opportunities.
- Enhancing Cultural Integration: As an international student, I initially gravitated towards fellow students from my home country. While these connections are essential, joining societies or clubs with diverse membership could have accelerated my integration into the local culture. Engaging with students from different backgrounds would have enriched my understanding of global perspectives and broadened my horizons.
- Developing Transferable Skills: Clubs and societies are not just about fun and socialising – they also offer opportunities to develop crucial life skills. Whether it’s leadership, teamwork, event planning, or communication, taking an active role in a club or society can enhance skills that are highly valued in both academic and professional spheres.
- Balancing Academics and Extracurriculars: At times, I hesitated to join clubs due to concerns about time management. However, I now realise that effective time management and prioritising things would have allowed me to strike a balance between academics and extracurricular activities. Engaging in clubs could have served as a refreshing break from coursework, ultimately enhancing my overall university experience.
In flashback, joining clubs and societies in my first year would have been a transformative decision. While I can’t change the past, I’m determined to make the most of my remaining years at Bournemouth University by actively participating in the university’s vibrant community. I’ve learned that these opportunities are not only avenues for personal growth but also windows into a world of diverse experiences, lasting friendships, and professional advancement.
So, to all incoming international students, take my advice: seize the chance to be part of something bigger than yourself. Embrace the plethora of clubs and societies Bournemouth University offers, and embark on a journey of self-discovery, cultural integration, and personal excellence. Your first year might just become the foundation for a university experience beyond your wildest expectations.