Inès' experience of moving to the UK to start university

28 November 2022

Undergraduate ambassador Inès shares her experience of moving to the UK to start university.

Born and brought up in France, I needed a change of scenery. I was given this opportunity when I decided to apply to universities in the UK. Having previously visited the UK on vacation, it was shocking to find quite how different life in the UK differs as a full-time student. This article will give you a sneak peek into my experience of moving to the UK and how this journey has changed me. 

My first feeling of fear came from the drastic change in routine. Back home, my routine was determined by school and extracurricular activities. While, at university, I also have to consider my academic studies, and social, and personal life. Not only did my routine change but so did my habits. It’s unsettling to have to change your normal routine, no more usual grocery store run that I’ve been doing for the past 9 years after basketball practice at the same court nearby my family home. Routines change.

Cultural difference is something apparent in the UK and I felt that instantly. Even though France and the UK are only two hours apart – the social rules, language, food, etc, all differ. Initially, the excitement overwhelmed me as I discovered a new place full of different possibilities but after a few months, I started to feel homesick. This is something a lot of you might experience, the situation where you start to miss what you left back home. Surprisingly, I missed the French language because I’d never been in a situation where I was expected to only communicate in English. It took numerous trips to and from Paris to embrace the new cultural diversity I was exposed to in the UK, and this is something I learned to appreciate over time.

Personally, I feel that the best part of moving abroad for university is the immense pool of diversity within Warwick. It’s enriching to see the vast differences amongst people that all share the same commonality of being away from home. As you start your university life, you begin to learn more about the real world, and not only do you gain skills to take into the university curriculum but also a massive opportunity for personal development!

As you grow up, you painfully realise that sometimes you might end up taking different routes to your childhood friends. For me, I thought I’d always remain close to all my friends, but it turned out that with some staying in France and others moving to different countries, it became harder and harder to maintain that close friendship. Time differences, busy schedules, and settling in makes everything more complicated but some of the best advice that I could pass on is that moving abroad taught me to keep the valuable things in life close and to learn to let go. As hard as this may seem, it’s all part of the journey, and while it might not happen to everyone, it’s always best to be prepared.

At university, you’ll discover what’s important in life to you. Funnily, complaining is one of the worse traits that’s tied to French culture, as for me, I used to complain about my country because it was the only place I ever knew. Going abroad taught me that every country has its flaws and I learned to appreciate the little things about France. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Relationships matter and it’s so important to preserve these.

People always attribute moving abroad to consequences on mental health and well-being. Although, since I moved to the UK, I was surprised by the amount of support and kindness of people. I’ve suffered from panic attacks through high school because of its high-pressure setting, and truthfully, changing my environment with a real support system helped me through this and improved my well-being in ways that I thought never could.

This journey is going to transform you in many ways, not everything you’ll experience will be up to your expectations but that being said, you’re going to learn so much more than you ever could staying at home! If you have the chance to study abroad, do not think twice, it’s so worth it!

Are you ready to embrace independence and start your undergraduate journey? If you would like to discover more about Warwick Business School, you can download our Undergraduate brochure.

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