“Home is not where you live but where they understand you.” – Christian Morgenstern
It was not too long ago that I first boarded my flight to the UK. At that moment, I was admittedly nervous – wary of the unknown, feeling strangely alone. I have never been so far away from home, or stayed away for so long.
Looking back now that I am in my third year, I have had some of the most amazing experiences in Nottingham. Indeed, many of my initial worries were unfounded. Here are some things I wish I knew when I first arrived, and hopefully, they will allay that gnawing sense of anxiety once and for all.
Rumours about law school
While you may have heard remarkably outlandish tales of horror about law school, they are for the most part untrue. Neither should you expect law school to resemble anything you have seen in Suits. Instead, expect a plain conventional academic setting. Be prepared to work hard, study smart, and display your understanding of the law.
Nobody said a law degree will be easy to obtain. Thankfully, tutors at Nottingham understand this and are around to guide you when necessary. Do not be worried about asking silly questions that you think will make you look stupid; last I checked there are no penal sanctions for asking dumb questions at common law or in statute.
Ties that Bind
If you start to feel homesick, remind yourself that you are not the first person to study overseas, and neither will you be the last. Nottingham has a vast population of international students so you will find friends who are from a very similar upbringing. Talk to them, share your worries, and try new things together. With so many opportunities to explore the UK, you will be spoilt for choice.
In addition, tap onto the experiences of your seniors in law school. I cannot stress how important this is and I am very much indebted to the many seniors who have guided me along. Your seniors are the people who have completed the journey that you are now starting on, and they will invariably have insights on how to cope. Of course, be prepared to share your own experience with your juniors in time to come.
I take this chance to mention that the law school has an excellent mentoring committee, so look out for programmes that will be rolled out over the course of the year. Equally, we have outstanding Societies that I wholeheartedly recommend you get involved in. A wide participation in activities will really add to your undergraduate experience.
The tips shared above are by no means reserved exclusively for international students. In fact, anyone who is finding it hard to settle into school will find the advice useful. Things may seem impossible initially, but you will soon adapt and grow as an individual and as a law student. Truly, you are embarking on a very exciting journey at this point in time, and I have no doubt you will find the experience both rewarding and enjoyable.