The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.
The moment you were waiting for a long time is finally here and you got that email, that you wanted so bad. You hands are shaking, you take a deep breath and you open it!
YOU GOT ACCEPTED!
You still can’t believe in what you are reading, suddenly you don’t understand anything, you call you brother/sister and ask if they understand these words. Well, you understood every single word. You got accepted in the university of your dreams! That was a long ride, my friend. But, then it hits you…man, you are leaving home!
First and foremost, I have to tell you a big and huge ”Congratulations on this success” (I still can’t believe that I’m heading to the UK for postgraduate studies and I’m counting days) Either you are leaving from Greece for undergraduate studies or postgraduate studies or for PhD, I am more than happy to share with you a few tips that really helped me getting ready and organise everything. I know, the whole situation is crazy, all the paperwork, long talks with the bank, money transfer..I’ve been there! Let me help you out!
#1 TO DO LIST
It is extremely important to make a really good and organised to-do list. I mean, write down everything. EVERYTHING! Find those things you really want to carry with you on the trip and on your new home and let the other stuff behind. Take with you objects/clothes etc that you actually need. Where are you planning to stay? Is it a student accomodation? Is it a flat? In that flat, will you be on your own or will you share rooms? Think about every little detail and perhaps, you will find out that you don’t have to bring everything from your old room with you. There will be plenty of shops in the place you are going, where you can find whatever you’ll need. An essential detail is to also think of the airplane. You can’t have a lot of weight in your luggage, so that extra set of towels or sheets is probably unnecessary. Think smart!
Oh My God! That was the hardest part. We are talking about a new life here, so choosing the clothing pieces that you will need is a complete nightmare. Although, here is an important tip. Read very carefully. You don’t need your whole wardrobe! Come, on, we both know that you are not wearing half of your clothes. Do not forget that you will find a bunch of new shops in your new area, you will buy many clothes during the year. Choose those pieces from your wardrobe, that you’ll wear 100% no matter what. 2-3 jackets, 4-5 sweaters, 4 (!!) pairs of your favorites shoes and jeans and you are definately good to go!
Please, tell me you are as excited about all of your new modules as I am! While you are waiting for the new academic year to start, why don’t you search online everything about your new modules? Every information that you need, to help you have an idea about your course is right there. Search for the names of your lecturers, your library, the books you’ll probably need, everything that cross your mind. This will give you a bigger picture of your module and be sure, that the moment you’ll arrive at the first course, you’ll be more ready!
#4 BREAK THE ICE WITH YOUR FLATMATES
Are you one of those students, who’ll live in a shared flat? Welcome to the club, my friend! One of the things that made me really nervous a while ago, was the fact that I would share a flat with other people. Don’t get me wrong, I love challenges and I am always really open with people. But, a bit of privacy is always important. At the beginning, it might be scary, but It doesn’t have to be awkward. You can find groups on Facebook from your university or accomodation and get to know these people. Talk to them, learn where they are from, what they like, their hobbies or their taste in food! I was really lucky to have the chance to meet almost all my flatmates through my accomodation’s mobile application. We are now already talking as friends and we haven’t even met.
#5 ESSENCIAL BOOKS
When you go to an other country to study, one thing that is really important is to carry with you books that will help you fit in better in your new life. For example, a dictionary. You have no idea what a necessity a dictionary is. You do not know every word and, for sure, when you go to a country when you can’t speak with your native language, carrying a dictionary with you is the perfect idea. Pocket size or not, it’s the number one book you need. In addition, if you go to a country when your speaking level is not that high, then I suggest you to buy a book with dialogues. Daily phrases, easy dialogues that will help you communicating with the locals the first months. Do not underestimate the power of that book. It is the key to buy products in the supermarket and to open an account in the bank. Last but, certainly, not least, if your undergraduate degree is in the same field as your postgraduate one, then you might need to take with you some of the huge and big books you ‘ve studied the previous years. Not only they will help you remember things you might have forgotten, but it’s also a quite good opportunity to keep them from dusting in your library.
You have to admit it, our generation is the “Social Media Generation”. Scrolling on Instagram, posting on Facebook and on Twitter is like a second nature to us. Take advandage of it! Search on Instagram photos and videos of your new city, by using every hashtag that comes on your mind. #sightseeing , #food , #nightlife , everything that you are interested in. Discover the “in” places for coffee and a glass of wine, find out where is the most instagrammable wall of the city and save it for your future pictures. Find some other new students and send them a direct message. You may enjoy a cup of tea in the campus later on. Social media are a true treasure of information, do not waste it. Find everything about the societies you may have, join some university groups on Facebook and ask questions. Involve. You will thank me later!
You are noe one step closer to your new page and new chapter of your life. Don’t be afraid to turn the page. What you’ll see next is beyond compare! Take your time to get ready, to feel stressed, to drink those ”goodbye” coffees with your friends, to hug your family tight in the airport. But then, smile. Everything that’ll follow is pure magic.
Enjoy your new chapter!
Feel free to write a comment or to send me any question that you may have. I would be more than happy to chat with you and read your own experiences and stories!
Lot’s of kisses,