Adjusting to university life as an international student

Moving away from your home country for university can seem daunting at first, from travel to adjusting to the UK time zone, and even figuring out what to eat, there’s plenty of changes you’ll need to consider before moving abroad. As a second year International student living at the Canterbury campus, here’s my advice on moving away from home and making the most out of university life.

Adjusting to the UK time zone

As an international student, jet lag can take its toll on your body. This can interfere with your studies and social life if you don’t take time to properly adjust. My advice for combatting jet lag would be to set your body clock to the BST time zone, eating all three meals a day at the right time. There are two co-ops on the Canterbury campus, which are great if you want to grab a quick meal. This may seem like a small matter, but if your body is still running on your home country’s time zone it can have an impact on your day-to-day life.

Making friends

Now that you’ve got yourself adjusted to your new time zone, you’ll be starting to think about meeting new people and making friends at university. It’s natural to worry about this, but remember that everyone is in the same boat as you. University of Kent have specific social media groups and pages that allow you to connect with other students before starting university, such as the Kent Facebook freshers group. During arrivals week, there’s plenty of events happening on campus, which are a great way to meet new people who share the same interests as you. There’s also over 200 student groups to choose from, including sports, societies and community action groups. Most will offer tasters sessions, which are a fantastic opportunity to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Dealing with homesickness

University life is very exciting and a great time for personal growth. However, as an international student, you may experience homesickness from time to time, which is completely natural. It’s important to find time in the week to connect with friends and family back home, either over a phone call or a zoom call. By doing this regularly, you’ll remain in the loop about what’s happening in their lives and you can share what you’ve been up to too.

Adjusting to university study 

On the academic side of university life, ensure you’re asking your lecturers and seminar leaders any questions or doubts that you have about your course. University is a step up from A-levels or IB, and if you didn’t study these, you may have to adjust your approach to writing and studying. There’s a great support system for international students at Kent, but it’s down to you to come forward with any concerns you have and make adjustments accordingly. There’s plenty of opportunities for you to develop yourself academically at Kent, you just have to put yourself out there.


This blog post was written by second year LLB Law student Ishita Kariangattil