Making friends through international food nights

food-salad-dinner-eating

By Mohit Mahajan, a current International NTU student 

Life at NTU for me is filled with wonderful weekends, vibrant environments, a cheerful atmosphere, fantastic friends, delicious and wide varieties of food, unforgettable memories and stress busting games.

I arrived in this new country and city not knowing anyone. Initially, it was tough for a couple of days however when Welcome Week came around, I decided to make most of every opportunity during all the different events and this really helped.
The thing that I found most interesting was that by interacting with lots of nice people, I increased my knowledge by discussing different cultures, languages, and many more fascinating things with every person I met. These interactions with unfamiliar faces allowed me to deal with the fear of uncertainties of studying in a totally different country. I tried to be outgoing and extroverted to engage with a lot of people that were not from my own nationality. Yes, I felt overwhelmed, but I was delighted to talk with other international students. At first it felt like an uphill battle to make new friends in a totally new environment but making myself start conversations with others was so important. Its natural every student feels a bit shaky and shy when approaching strangers, but it’s great when you bump into nice people and start to build friendships.

It was during Welcome Week that I met a wise friend and we decided to organise an International Food Night where everyone would bring positive vibes along with home cooked food from their own culture. Through our food night, we built networks and found others wanting to get involved. It all started out from a little idea we had to create something new. We may have our own groups of friends from our own nationalities but since starting this, our international group has become a special diverse community with a common vibe.

Although at first it was great to just have this group to help with food struggles and surviving in a new country, to me the most important thing I got from this was true friendships. Having friends from different cultures gives you lots of knowledge about lots of other places around the world. . I’m really glad that I gathered the courage and willpower to participate in the Welcome Week activities and found such great friends.

Throughout the year the food night also gave us much-needed time away from studies and an opportunity to relax and de-stress. We arranged a food night every weekend covering festivals like Diwali, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year, Pancake Day and St. Patrick’s Day. Having things to look forward to, like the food night, helped us stay motivated and focused with university; the evenings are always filled with lots of hilarious moments!

We are a group from 12 different nationalities, yet we are one community of great friends. It helps to have amazing friends by your side, especially when university gets tough! Even just the little things like studying in the library and seeing lots of familiar faces it makes me instantly happy knowing that I have lots of friends around. It feels like I have a little Nottingham family and have some amazing memories to cherish forever.

Although the majority of students go on night outs and clubbing to socialise, , I feel there are so many other ways to enjoy your time at university. So my advice is to try new things, like our international food nights, as you never know who you might meet and what amazing friendships you might make!

For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.

Personal Pastoral Support at NTU (general worries and anxiety, homesickness, loneliness, a relationship breakup, or a bereavement)
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Depression advice
Counselling
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness

We are always looking for NTU students to write for our blog so if you are interested please do get in touch at healthyntu.@ntu.ac.uk


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