Friends With International Benefits

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An outsider’s view of Britain: quaint villages nestled in green fields with cricket matches and cream teas. Now compare this to Southampton and the night life in Jesters. A stark contrast if ever there was one.

For international students, taking their first steps into a new country, it can seem that the unique experiences Britain offers are lost in the hustle and bustle of Southampton University life.

Southampton students should ensure that international students do not miss out on the British experience. There are some easy solutions on our doorstep. Winchester offers the historic ambience of King Alfred’s Britain and the New Forest provides a timeless landscape from the Norman Conquest – it is hard to get more British if you tried!

A Sunday lunch is another good activity, and if too lazy to cook, the vast array of pubs in Portswood offers a handy alternative. For the James Bond fans, Asda’s Vermouth is an affordable substute to Martini (I would not recommend drinking the whole bottle in one go, it is not very 007, but perhaps quite British?)

Having close international friends while at University definitely makes social activities more creative. Christmas in first year became an opportunity to show Chinese students in our flat how we celebrate the holiday. The next year, we witnessed the sumptuous delights of a Danish birthday.

University is a time of life changing opportunities and new experiences. There will be very few moments in your life again when you will be launched into such a bubbling crowd of strangers.

In a global world there are only benefits in embracing the unknown. So when shy international students become left out of conversation, make sure to make every effort to include them and find out what they have to say. It is a guaranteed way of enhancing your University experience and making friends for life.

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