Warwick’s annual International Orientation is a programme designed to help International and EU students arriving at Warwick to start their degrees. However, the programme offers so much more than just an introduction to the UK and Warwick…
by guest blogger Francesca Alberigi (Orientation Helper, Team Leader, Coordinator and Warwick Alumni)
In my time at Warwick I have experienced the difficulties that come with being far away from home. Most of these are common to all students, starting with missing friends and family. However, as an International Student homesickness has a completely different significance. Being away from home isn’t just about missing people and places, but also about everything around you changing and not being quite right. I remember the first time I visited a supermarket and didn’t find what I was looking for, or worse a version that didn’t taste quite right. The struggles of moving away from home don’t finish when your flight lands, because reminders of the differences of your new home and old home are all around you!
Orientation services are made to make students prepared for the upcoming academic year, offering students a chance to enrol early, register with the police, get used to campus and the local area with our tours and trips, and find out more about university study in our Key Skills sessions. Most importantly the programme offers a unique chance to socialise with students who are experiencing exactly the same sensations of homesickness and confusion, with its evening and night events as well as its society run activities. The atmosphere at Orientation is contagiously exhilarating, and this is purely due to the fact that with each activity the programme allows students to sweep away their fears and concerns, replacing them with excitement and fun! From the Coventry trip to the Sports challenge, all Orientation activities offer you an opportunity to learn more about the University and the UK, while allowing you to explore new places and activities, making new memories that give students a sense of belonging.
Orientation played a vital part in defining my University experience and identity. While working as a helper in my second year at University, I made friends without whom I could not imagine my university life, but most importantly I found my place within a larger community. By taking part in Orientation I became a part of a larger community of students who all have this amazing programme in common. I have kept in touch with all the attendees, helpers and team leaders I’ve met and I have been happy to see attendees I met join the Orientation team the following year. Through Orientation, confident students at the university give back the help and support they received to less confident new students, therefore establishing an atmosphere of friendliness and enthusiasm throughout the entire week, which perseveres until the next Orientation.
I’m really excited to be Orientation Coordinator at this year’s Orientation, and can’t wait to welcome new students to Warwick and introduce them to this amazing programme!
Keep an eye on The Study Blog for further tips and advice on settling into your new University and Library!
Image by Marcin Wichary / CC BY 2.0