Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

UCB Table Talks: International Students

UCB Table Talks: International Students

Hi everyone,

This week I have a very different post from the ones I usually write. For this post, I am here to talk to you about UCB’s new series of videos called UCB Table Talks.

Last Friday, the first episode came out. It is about four UCB students who originate from different countries: Natalia Parzygnat (Poland), Mubashir Mehmood (Pakistan), Rochana Richardson (St Maarten) and Rui Ma (China). They sat down together and discussed their experience at UCB so far.

The first question they answered is “How has life been in Birmingham so far?”. Most of them say it’s been perfect, but when they came, it was hard, leaving their families and their country. In my case, it was the same. When I arrived it was hard, but now I am sure that coming to Birmingham was one of the best decisions that I ever made. Answering this question, Rochana also talks about making connections between further education (FE) students and higher education (HE) students. Rochana believes this is one of the best things because HE students can give honest opinions and advice on progressing to HE.

For the second question “Why did you choose Birmingham? “ the students talk about the partnership with the University of Birmingham and about it being one of the best universities in the United Kingdom. They also refer to the value of the university courses, the support that UCB gave to them since English was not their first language and the job opportunities they found. The last thing but the most important was the diversity of students and culture that is at UCB. This is personally a highlight for me also. At this university, one of my favourite things is being at a university full of variety. For example, my best friends; one was born in Africa, the other is from Greece, the other one is from Poland, and the last two of them are from Croatia. As you can see you have a massive variety of cultures and in my case, I have a lot of holiday houses.

Around minute 10 of the video, the students discuss the meal that they cooked.  Mubashir brought a typical dish called Biryani. Natalia brought Polish dumplings with cheese, spinach that were gluten-free and a polish dish called pigeon which is rice and pork wrapped in cabbage. Rui also brought a Chinese version of dumplings and a desert. Finally, Rochana brought a Caribbean dish called Johnny Cakes with ham.

On the third question “What is it like working as an International student?”. They share their work experience, and Mubashir and Rui share that in their country you never work when you are studying. Where I came from it is almost like that as well, so for us finding a job and liking it is hard. In this question, they also share that it is essential to have work experience when you are a student. It helps with networking but also understanding better the industry that you want to work in, in the future.

For the penultimate question “What do you like about Birmingham?”. The group discussed the matter, saying that Birmingham offers a lot of spaces for the different cultures. Birmingham is also an excellent place to start a business. It is also a city with easy accesses and great transportation links. When I came to Birmingham, I was shocked but pleased to see so many cultures together, because I was only used to having Portuguese people surrounding me.

Finally the last question “What advice would you give to students coming to UCB?”. The group said everything that I agree with. They started by saying about having an open mind. They also recommended trying to talk with and meet more people because sometimes its more comfortable to stay with the people from your home country and not make an effort with others. They also said to enjoy all the UCB facilities, which I agree with. UCB has many services to offer to the students, including The Guild of the Students, CASE, finance services and more. The last thing said was to prepare yourself for the “big world”, and I agree. If you want to join UCB next year or even in January and you are not sure, because you are leaving your country, your family and your friends I have one thing to tell you COME! Coming to the UK was the best decision I have ever made in my life, and I am sure that I will never regret it.

If you would like to take a look at the video yourself you can find it through the following link. I hope you enjoyed this week post and see you all next week,

Madalena Ribeiro



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