International, Portsmouth, Student, Study, Time Management, Uni Life, Uni services, Work experience

6 things International Student needs to know

For most international students, coming to study in the UK can be exciting, or intimidating. In order to enjoy both studying and living abroad, it is crucial to be fully prepared. After staying in Portsmouth for 8 months, I’ve spoken to a number of international students and marked down a few things that international students have to think about before arriving in the UK.

  1. Research

It would be good if you speak to anyone already in the UK or the alumni from your country. I’ve asked my friend who is a graduate from the University of Portsmouth and she helps me a lot in the process of applying the course. The next step is have a look on the University website for an idea of the things you might need to consider. Besides, don’t be afraid to contact the university directly to ask about the course details or other arrangements. Besides, there are always local advisers or agencies that provide details on studying in Portsmouth. Learn about the clubs and societies here at the University of Portsmouth.

2. Be academically prepared

If English is not your mother tongue, try to improve it to a level where you can feel confident about using it both academically and socially. Check out Global café in Park Building on every Wednesday, you will be able to meet friends from all over the world.

3. Working in the UK 

International Students usually pay a higher tuition fees than domestic students. Luckily, the Purple Door supports students to find jobs or career planning. Getting a part-time job not only provides some extra money, but also an opportunity to extend your networks and improve your language skills.

4. Student accommodation
Accommodation is one of the most important things that you’ve to concern about because this is where you’ll spend most of your time, meet your first friends and where you have to sleep! Normally you will get into student halls as an international student, here are some advice on choosing student accommodation.

5. Freshers’ Fayre


This is a week held at the start of the academic year which involves all the way from induction to huge bar crawls, find your way around your campus, clubs and societies and start to get used to living in the UK. As an international student, you’ll find some particular events that are designed for international students such as coach trip to Brighton or Oxford.

6. Finally, the Weather

The weather in UK is unpredictable. Even if the sun is shining, rain clouds can quickly appear and result in short, heavy downpours. Make sure you bring appropriate clothing and always carry an umbrella (even though sometimes it’s too windy to use an umbrella).



As always, feel free to ask questions or add anything else in the comments below. 🙂

Free time, Other University Factors, Reflection, Student, Uncategorized, Uni Life, Work experience

Not-Quite ‘Bucket Lists’

Anyone who has read any of my posts before knows I am a list maker. I LOVE WRITING LISTS. They keep me feeling calm and organised (even when I’m not!).

In case anyone missed the post I wrote back in January, I have started a little tradition with myself at the New Year. Here‘s the link for anyone curious. I don’t quite think I can call my mini ‘bucket lists’ a tradition yet as I’ve only done one, but I wrote a ‘to do’ list for the academic year.

On my very first day in my new house in Portsmouth, 4th September 2015, I sat down and I wrote a list of everything I wanted to achieve this year. This included things like actually getting into the sea (still haven’t done it – it’s so cold!), pitching an article to The Debrief (I did it!), travelling to Budapest or Croatia (Budapest is booked for June), performing at an open mic poetry night (I now help to run one as well) and finally showing people my music (I have my fifth gig on Tuesday). So all-in-all seems successful. I feel like I may have forgotten some things I haven’t done so I am going to have another look over it and see what else I can tick off before September comes around again.

First year went so quickly for me and I felt, whilst I loved every second, I could have done more. I could have made the most of it more and pushed myself even further. I wanted to ensure that now I am settled in Portsmouth that I did more. My list has helped me to do that, to ensure I am achieving all the things I want to achieve. It helps me to push myself and focus on my goals.

Of course there is the argument that if I find, come September, that I have failed many of my goals I may feel unnecessarily sad despite what I may have achieved. I prefer to look at it like this: say I haven’t achieved half of my goals, that would be a shame, but I HAVE ACHIEVED THE OTHER HALF. Even if I only achieve one goal, that’s still one goal more than I had the previous year. Here’s a little advice on how to get started.


  1. Don’t set unreasonable goals – you’ll only be disappointed.
  2. Really think what it is what want to achieve. It’ll help motivate you.
  3. Don’t set too many! Pick your top five uni/career goals and your top five life/leisure goals. Do a few simply because they’re fun!
  4. Push yourself, but not too hard. Know your limits. Have you always been too scared to try out for a sports team or too shy to talk to that girl in your Monday afternoon class who seems great? Push yourself to do the things you want to do but don’t say you want to achieve a first in every single piece of work you hand in. That’s pushing yourself too far and setting unrealistic goals (unless you are a complete genius – but even genius’ mess up sometimes!).
  5. Don’t stress too much over it. I find mine helps me focus and subconciously makes me do things I perhaps would normally shy away from.
  6. Have fun!

If you give it a go, let me know. It’d be great to hear what some of you are putting on your lists. I’m off to begin writing mine for next year now!


Portsmouth, Student, Uncategorized, Work experience

The Perks of Volunteering!


 We’re 6 weeks into uni and the weather is getting more and more intense by the day. We didn’t have any snow here like in other UK cities but I can safely say that we’ve been experiencing lots of strong winds and rain, but hopefully we will have some sun soon.

 In this post I want to talk about the benefits of working while studying at uni! In addition to my studies and being a Student Blogger, I also volunteer at the Business Support Desk, located at the local Central Library which is a part of the Portsmouth City Council. They provide various services that assist people who want to start or expand their business, give funding as well as provide other public services such as the National Numeracy Challenge, a FREE and fun way to check out your current level of maths and use the online resources to brush up on areas you need to improve on. (Make sure to check out what they do, they’re really awesome 🙂  Take the challenge check-up today using access code uopst).


 I applied for the position through Purple Door, the center for careers and recruitment of the university, where students can apply for any type of job position they want, such as full time, part time, graduate schemes and volunteering work. I personally chose volunteering work as it stands out more on a CV when applying for paid jobs as well as gaining career experience in different fields and it allows you to learn valuable expertise such as social and relationship skills that will come in handy later on in life. Did you also know that 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without?

 Moreover, by having any type of position, your chances of employability increase greatly.

Do you have any type of work position at the moment?

 XOXO Ntina

Course, Coursework, Free time, Future, Work experience

Done and dusted.

It is the 3rd of March and I’m proud to announce that  my dissertation is printed, bound and on my desk since Friday, together with all additional materials, ready to be handed in tomorrow – ONE FULL DAY before the actual deadline! And that is quite an achievement, especially for a person who usually finishes assignments at 5am on the day of the hand in. Having said that, while I was waiting in the queue to get my work printed, a girl behind me asked to be let through in front of all of us, as her dissertation was due in an hour! If I was in her shoes, I’d probably have a breakdown! I never felt so calm about my work.

It’s a funny feeling, but once  I got it printed, I became extremely bored. For the past few weeks all I did was working on my dissertation, and suddenly that work is done and I have nothing left to do… What can I say, it has been a very lazy weekend. But I deserved it 🙂

I’m aiming to have a few relaxed days and then back to work it is! Unfortunately there is still another deadline I have to make and two pieces of coursework to hand in. And I’m not gonna lie, they are quite extensive. One of them is a number of “blog entry” type short essays, centering around the idea of self. The other is a portfolio for my work placement. I’m guessing this will be the one I’m going to start with, as the deadline for the Master’s course application is fast approaching and my personal statement is still to be written. And that placement is the experience I am relying on to get onto that course, so… fingers crossed!

And once that coursework is done, it will be time for a break! And I’m really looking forward to that. I can’t wait to see my family and the new house they’re moving into. Just over 3 weeks to go…

Course, Future, Work experience

Final year and the post-graduation plans.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a very happy new year! In the Mayan history (yes, I’m really going for this…) end of a calendar doesn’t predict end of the world, but predicts big changes, so I pronounce the year of 2013, the Year of Change. Let’s all take this opportunity to, for once, stick to our new year’s resolution, and prepare for things to be different.


But let’s get to the point. I am a final year student and overall I love the experience of University. But it doesn’t last forever. University, in a way, does prepare you for what’s waiting for you out there in the real world – especially if you’re studying for a degree that will closely relate to your career. Career advisers will help you explore your options. They will tell you that, nowadays, you can’t get far with just a degree – you also need relevant experience or volunteering. What they don’t tell you is when to take action.

I always thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do after I graduate. But the reality is that it was only recently that I decided on my career path. I would like use my passion for psychology to work with mentally disordered offenders. What does this mean for me? Further studies. At least to a Doctoral level.

So I know where I want to get, but how do I actually get there? What do I do when I graduate? Do I go on to do a Master’s course that’s designed exactly for what I want to do, but is very competitive? What if I don’t get in? Do I apply for another course? Or do I forget about the Masters and apply for a Doctorate straight away? Or maybe I take a gap year (or two) and work to get more experience?

I’m a third year student, with all these ideas and options; having missed one application deadline, with another approaching soon, where I will have to fill out an extensive application, on top of my dissertation and coursework and exam revision.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is okay to go to University without knowing what your next big step will be, but it is worth to start thinking about your future career early enough to meet all the deadlines. And no-one will tell you when to do that. It is in your best interest to figure out when that time comes. So, all future 3rd Years – make a mental note of this. Think in advance. Get that relevant experience. This is your future and nobody else’s.


Christmas, Free time, Work experience

Christmas break.

So Christmas is finally here! I was really looking forward to the break, but when I think about how much work I need to be doing over the three suposedly free weeks, it makes me sad…

The last week of term was busy, but I actually had a lot of fun. On Tuesday I did my last shift of the year at the Salisbury hospital. I’m glad I don’t have to wake up so early anymore, but at the same time it has become a routine thing, so it feels weird when I wake up every Tuesday morning and the clock doesn’t say 6.30am…

Wednesday was the day when I had an induction for my new placement, which I am hoping to start as soon as I can in the new year. The placement is at the Kingston prison in Portsmouth, where I will be assisting with art sessions. Because this will involve working with so called “vulnerable population”, I need to undergo a thorough security check, which can take quite a long time (usually around 4-6 weeks). I am very excited about doing this.

Thursday consisted of another trip to Salisbury for a team meeting, which I thought was really worth attending as everyone got to say what they thought of the project, and we found out about the new developments. Later that evening my friends and I had a lovely Christmas dinner which involved very nice food (cooked by Maria and Richard – thank you!), christmas games, colouring in, dragon and A LOT of mulled wine. It felt like real Christmas and at that moment I honestly didn’t want to go back home.

But the real Christmas is now here and it feels equally as good. For my family, Christmas starts on Christmas Eve, so we are starting our feast tonight! This also means I get to open my presents tonight!

While I’m typing this, I can smell all the amazing food that my mum has been cooking over the last couple of days. I guess it’s time to set the table…

I wish you all  Merry Christmas! Make sure you spend quality time with your family!

Clubs and societies, Course, Exams, Work experience

The Final Year

So here I am, a 3rd year Psychology student, about to start the work on my dissertation, and the next graduation at the University of Portsmouth will be MINE.

The time really flies and you don’t realise until you get to the point where I am right now. A 3-year undergraduate course my seem like quite a bit of time when you first start University, but with all the fun, partying, drinking, lecturing and report writing going on… I have no idea where the time went.

Uni officially started a month ago, but only now I found some time to write. And to be honest, it seems like only about a couple of weeks passed by. That’s what happens when you have a busy schedule. I started off my year with the Freshers Fayre, of which I was part of again this year, promoting Film & Photo Society. I loved every minute of being there, despite the long hours, the noise, the issues with Union; even despite the fact that after two days of shouting at people (not in the mean way – it was just very loud in the tents 😉 ) I almost lost my voice. But as I always say, this will always be one of my favourite experiences at Uni. Below is the photo of me and Iain – society’s Vice President – at our stand.

But society isn’t just fun and play. Running it requires a lot of planning and preparation, which is something that takes quite a lot of my time in the week. And it needs to be fitted around all the Uni activities. Fair enough, I’m only in three days a week, but this is where independent studies come in to the picture. Independent study was never my favourite thing; in fact, I tried to stay as far away from it as possible. And I managed to “wing” my way through the first two years 😉 That’s obviously a joke, I actually managed to get to this stage with good marks, but this time, I really need to spend a lot of my time doing research and background reading to graduate with the mark I want.

So, lectures. This year I actually get to study exactly what I want as all my modules are all electives. I am not so happy about having the exams at the end of year though, but now that I think about it, it’s probably better this way. For third years anyway. With the dissertation hand-in day being early March, we really don’t need exams in January. Even if I only have two.

One of my modules is a work placement, and for this I am actually continuing with my volunteering at Salisbury Hospital. Since summer ended, I’ve had two real, all-day shifts and I’m beginning to feel more confident with what I’m doing with every shift. Sadly, this means I have to get up at 6am every Tuesday, work all day, and then run to the society’s meeting straight from the train station… But hey, who said this was going to be easy? Welcome to the real world. I’m only hoping I can get used to getting up so early.

A month into Year 3, and I’m already looking forward to a break. Now let me get back to my dissertation research…