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What happens at international student orientation?

Starting at university can be scary. For international students who travel across the world leaving their homes behind, it is even more so. Naturally, upon receiving the email, I signed myself up for the International Student Orientation programme to help ease the process of moving into a completely different country.  

What is international student orientation? 

The aim of the international student orientation programme is to help adjust to the new city, to get to know the university better and to give us an insight into life as a student in Brighton. It was held two weeks before classes officially started, from 13th to 24th September 2021, and was divided into two parts —online and in-person. 

Exploring Brighton streets on international student orientation

Online orientation

The online meetings were hosted on MS Teams. It started with a Welcome Talk which was accompanied by a presentation and a Q&A session afterwards where we got to meet the International student support officer.  

One of the best parts of the day was where we were introduced to the student ambassadors and got to know them and ask them about their experiences. During the time, all students travelling from abroad were stuck in quarantine.  

The online portion of the orientation helped us get acquainted with not only real-life students, but also with other international students, thus making the transition between online to offline (especially within a post-pandemic setting) less daunting.  

In-person orientation

I was particularly excited about the in-person portion of the orientation programme as was the first time we were getting to experience the campus and get a taste of student life. We were split into smaller groups each led by a student ambassador, and were taken on a tour around the campus.  

Student sitting in a colourful Brighton cafe

We got to see the lecture halls, auditoriums, recreational spaces, cafes and student shops. We were taken in and out of each building and left to explore afterwards on our own. We even got a short tour of the city and all the popular spots.  

Social events on the orientation programme 

The social events that marked the end of the week were my favourite parts of the entire orientation programme. There was a BBQ party held in the fields of the beautiful Falmer campus where we sat in the grass, played volleyball and ate hot burgers. I even made my first friends there!

International student orientation: what happens each day? 

Each day had a discussion on starting out in the UK. This included opening a bank account, getting the biometric residents permit, registering with the local GP, sorting out visa issues and travelling within the city.  

I found the talks on budgeting and saving money particularly useful, as there were lists of affordable places for grocery shopping, restaurants, bars and stationery stores with student discount, and even a list of 24×7 pharmacies. Every day also involved a social activity to increase interaction between the students, like pub quizzes and film screenings. 

Brighton Pier

So, should I go to international student orientation?

To sum up, these activities really helped me ease into my role as a full time student in Brighton and I would definitely encourage all the new students to attend the programme.  

Word from the uni…

You can access wellbeing support at any time and in a way you feel most comfortable. There are also Student Support and Guidance Tutors to help if you feel any issues are affecting your studies.

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international student

Trisha Dasgupta • 27th September 2022

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