International students discuss their first year at NUA
We asked international students Gigi Soh (Singapore), Micah Moreland (USA) and Tara Mayo (USA) about their first year experience – living in student housing All Saints Green, making new friends, trying new foods and becoming independent.
What do you like about living in All Saints Green?
Gigi: The rooms are so spacious and clean. The communal rooms are so amazing here. It’s not like student accommodation. Having a personal bathroom is really important for me so ASG is pretty good.
How easy is it to get from All Saints Green to university?
Micah: The location is really good – the bus station is right across the road, the supermarket is right there and it’s a 15 minute walk to everywhere you need to go for school.
Tara: The walk between here and uni is so nice too because you go through the market and see a bunch of churches. It’s a nice walk as well as being close.
How easy did you find it to make friends?
Tara: Pretty easy. We’re not forced, but we interact with people in our kitchens. Everyone in my hallway is really nice and accommodating.
Gigi: Because everyone’s away from home everybody has that in common. It makes you closer because everyone just wants company. I like that we have our own personal space but we can mingle if we want to.
Do you hang out with your flatmates often?
Tara: It’s really nice people not necessarily being on your course but being at your school. We celebrate everyone’s birthdays and we have game nights where we all play video games together. When we know everyone’s stressed out with submissions, we’ll say we’re all going to go out for dinner tonight.
Gigi: I hang out with the girls in my flat more than the people on my course. Surprisingly my flat has five Asian people. I thought I’d be the only one! So we can speak different languages and they’re very chilled and open.
What have you learnt about living with other people since living in ASG?
Gigi: You learn to compromise. Everyone comes from different places so everyone’s habits are different, so you learn what each other’s pet peeves are and try not to poke at those!
If you have a problem in your accommodation, is there someone to help you?
Micah: Yeah absolutely, the staff here at the accommodation are really good.
Tara: Yeah, if you go to them with a problem they’ll be really nice about it and get it done as soon as they can.
How much a week do you think you spend on food?
Tara: I think the most I’ve ever spent was £30 in a week and I had someone visiting that week too, so I was buying a lot. I think it’s usually closer to about £20. It’s reasonable.
Micah: Yeah, I think the most is about £30.
What do you think about the atmosphere at NUA?
Micah: Everyone’s really inviting and welcoming, and considerate.
Gigi: Everybody’s just so chilled. You can just go up to someone and they won’t be weird about it.
What do you think about Norwich?
Micah: I just love the look of the city – the beautiful buildings and the architecture, the cobblestone streets. I think it’s crazy that part of the campus looks like Hogwarts! I can’t believe I go to school here!
Tara: It’s a really pretty city. I took a gamble when I came here because I’d never been to Norwich before, but even through pictures I could see that it just looked so beautiful and so British. There’s a castle, and I love being able to walk to school. It’s just so cool to be in a place that has so much history. It’s honestly my favourite place in the UK that I’ve been.
Micah: It has a really nice atmosphere as well. I noticed it the first time I visited. I thought it had a creative atmosphere which suited the school really well. It’s just a really creative, safe place.
Gigi: The café culture is very strong here. I like wandering and exploring different cafes.
Do you ever feel homesick and what do you find helps?
Micah: I do sometimes miss friends and family, but I think there’s tonnes of things you can do to not feel as homesick. You can always FaceTime family, or if you’ve been lucky enough to be placed with someone in your flat that’s from the same place you’re from, then that’s someone you can instantly relate to and talk to.
Tara: I’m part of the international society at uni so we celebrated Chinese New Year, made paper lanterns and did some origami, listened to music. So the international society usually knows when a holiday is coming up and will talk about it, so that’s nice to be a part of that.
Have you learned to cook new recipes since starting university?
Gigi: Previously I didn’t know how to cook at all. But now I know how to stir fry, and sometimes me and my flatmates will make big meals for Christmas and New Year. For instance we cooked up a Korean feast for Chinese New Year. It’s just fun to cook together and learn new stuff.
Tara: I learnt how to do some stuff when we had our Thanksgiving meal – we had a reverse Thanksgiving with half British food and half American. I learnt how to make bread pudding and I really liked that – I never had that before.
What British food have you tried and did you like it?
Tara: I go to Bill’s in town sometimes, just because their sticky toffee pudding is the best thing ever. To get tea with it is really nice. That’s probably my favourite British thing to do.
Micah: I really love the cheese here – there’s such variety. It’s a bit stereotypical, but I do like fish and chips, especially from the little coastal villages.
Have you become more independent since starting at NUA and if so in what ways?
Gigi: Definitely. Over here you have to do everything yourself – you have to clean your room, be in charge of the kitchen, cook your own meals. You learn how to be more responsible.
Micah: Yeah, it’s really scary at first, especially with things you’ve never really done before. But once you actually start doing it, I’ve learned that it’s okay to make mistakes because that’s the only way you’re going to learn and that goes for any situation.
Tara: When I first moved, not only was I getting used to living on my own for the first time but it was in a place that was unfamiliar to me because I’d never been to Norwich before. But it didn’t take me that long to get comfortable here and once I got past that stage, I was really proud of myself for being able to make that change in my life and learn so many things.