My experience transitioning to university as an international student

By Kevon Mukabi a 1st year Marketing NTU Student

Joining university about eight weeks late into the term was not how I thought my experience was supposed to start. Despite this being as a result of circumstances that were not within my control, it was still quite daunting to say the least. I felt anxious, left out, scared that I was missing out on so much and feeling as if the world was moving on without me. The thought of coming to a completely new country for the first time with all this going on took a heavy toll on my mental health. I was stuck in this realm of unfulfilled expectations and pent-up disappointment which heavily affected my emotions – my copying mechanism was to completely close off. Looking back, it was probably not the best solution then but hey, I’m in a better place right now.

How did I get to where I am? I must say that I had to have a couple of moments of self-introspection, in order to understand what I was feeling, why I was feeling this way and what would be the best solution at that moment. I found it very beneficial to be present, particularly with my emotions, as that had a direct correlation with my overall mental health. As such, I was more intentional about how people and places made me feel and was more conscious of putting myself in spaces that gave me positive and happy emotions – that is how I found myself at the Global Lounge. As an international student, being at the Global Lounge provided an opportunity to share my experience with people who resonated with me, and it made me feel that I was not quite alone. My stress levels reduced as I was more open minded to exploring new things that would enable me to acclimatize to the drastic change in the overall culture. The Global Lounge also offered free lunch every Thursday, and for people like me, who food is the key to their heart, I found myself there quite often. It was a great opportunity to feel that I was part of something, which is the whole predicament that most international students face – the need to feel a sense of belonging.

I also found journaling to be a great source of emotional reflection. I was able to pen down my thoughts, especially when I did not have any other outlet. Journal prompts were of great help too as they made me get into a deeper connection with myself away from the general journaling which at times only involved me venting out my emotions. Overall, my mental health has gradually improved as I have become more self-aware and accepting of the wonderful community and support that NTU has to offer. To all those international students out there, trust me, you are not alone, help is there.

To find out more about NTU’s Global Lounge head to the NTU Website

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

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