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Marissa Lim – First Year as an International Student

Writing and photography by Marissa Lim, BA (Hons) Graphic Communication.

Hello, I’m Marissa, a Year 2 Graphic Communication student from Malaysia. Here I’m going to write about my experience as an international student in Norwich University of the Arts.

Having packed my bags and said goodbye to my family and friends, I flew to Norwich, 6,500 miles away from my home. I could still remember the whole range of emotions I had during my 16-hour flight, from excitement and anticipation and even the occasional apprehension.

Marissa Lim

Like any international student in any university, my first thought was to quickly settle in. The various events hosted by the International Office of the University were very helpful with that process. During my first week here, we had a whole week of activities for all international students so that we could meet peers and get to know people. It was extremely helpful as I was all alone in a new country, I’ve even met people who are the closest friends I have right now. 

There was a treasure hunt event for new international students to help them get to know the city more. As I was feeling adventurous during that time, I decided to participate and managed to convince a friend who I’d just met to help me. We were required to go to the different places indicated by clues written and take pictures as proof. That was a fun couple of weeks of researching and exploring new territories, we were even lucky enough to win the cash prize in the end!

“During my first week here, we had a whole week of activities for all international students, I met people who are the closest friends I have right now.”

Marissa Lim, BA (Hons) Graphic Communication

Last winter, international students had the chance to visit Nottingham. We visited the Nottingham Contemporary Musuem where I’ve had the chance to appreciate Marguerite Humeau’s FOXP2 installation exhibition. We also enjoyed the Nottingham Winter Wonderland. It was quite an eye-opening experience learning about the winter culture in the UK. There was so much stuff on sale, from the variety of food and snacks to little trinkets. They even had an ice-skating rink set up!

Marissa Lim

Besides having big events, the international office also host various small events to make sure our experience in the new country is as comfortable as possible. We’ve had a lunch in Middleton Steakhouse where I experienced my first ever English Roast dinner. We celebrated American Thanksgiving by having donuts (because no one here does pumpkin pie properly apparently). We had a picnic under the great sunshine of the UK. There was also a travel workshop where we learned the different means to travel effectively in the UK. I applied some tips and tricks learned from the workshop and planned a winter holiday in Scotland.

The international student community is also very supportive. We all sort of understand each other’s struggle in settling down a new place and hence grew quite caring of each other. We also host our own events, to help to get to know each other a little better. There was a barbecue event where I had the chance to experience foods from other countries and also promote the food culture in my country to other students. During Chinese New Year a few friends and I also hosted a steamboat event, which is a traditional way of celebrating the New Year. Not only have I experienced UK culture, but also the other cultures from other countries as well.

Marissa Lim

I’m very grateful that I decided to study internationally for University as it has been a very beneficial experience so far. All the various events has helped me settled down in the new country as quickly and comfortably as possible and I’m very pleased with my first-year experience here in Norwich.

NUA is a place where I can further develop my creative skills, since I have the freedom to develop my practice, I’m free to experiment various directions where I can take it. The university features a variety of resources that are able to aid me with the process. I’m looking forward towards the summer break where I’m going travelling in Europe, since I’m here I’m taking every opportunity to visit UK/Europe as much as possible to open my eyes to new cultures and cities.

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