Agnieszka, from Biala Podlaska in Poland, is flourishing on the Asia Pacific Studies course at UCLan, whilst also balancing a job at local cocktail bar Forum and a busy social life with friends from all over the globe whom she has met since arriving here in Preston in September 2018.
“Having a real sense of adventure through having the experience of meeting people from other countries, such as Korea, France, Lithuania, Nigeria, India and Italy, has been a real highlight for me so far during my time at UCLan. Yes there are challenges, like having to write in academic English just when you think your English is good, you have to go up a level. But I have found all of the Tutors and Professors to be really nice, more like friends, which adds to a supportive and chilled environment.
“In Poland there’s a more professional relationship with Professors and you must refer to them as ‘Professor’, but here in the UK you are not afraid to talk to them and ask questions. It’s certainly less stressful here, according to my brother who studies at a university in Poland he has a large number of exams in a short space of time and he must learn the knowledge for these exams word for word – then he just ends up forgetting it all! Here you might have an essay due in two months’ time – this is one of the reasons I came here instead of remaining in Poland.
“I chose to study at UCLan for a number of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to try a different area of England, instead of just London. I wanted to experience different people and a different accent.
"Secondly, this University is very good for language students and the course seemed very interesting, with options for Masters courses after graduation. Finally, from Preston I can explore so many different parts of the UK, like Scotland for example!
“My first impressions on arrival here were so different from my expectations; it was not what I imagined at all, but better! I was instantly welcomed and felt included. There’s no patronising, no hatred and everyone is so accepting of the LGBT community. I enjoyed being able to be myself, it’s a nice experience being able to express yourself and not be judged. UCLan really focuses on culture and there have been many different events at the University: Slovak, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Korean and more. There are Polish lecturers teaching Japanese, which is cool! There’s a really nice mix of people.
“I use the free University gym for general fitness and also my flat mate introduced me to fencing there! I work in a bar/ restaurant in the city centre, but when I have time, I socialise with my friends at a climbing centre called Boulder UK or we go for drinks at places like Kuckoo. Preston is a convenient place to live – small and walkable. If I want to go shopping it’s a 10-minute walk and if I am going to work it’s a 15-minute walk! I am used to walking home at 1am due to my work and I have never had any issues with regards to safety.
“At first, the northern accent was a challenge, but I am used to it now! On my first day I tried to buy some essentials and didn’t understand the lady in the shop! There are two or three Polish supermarkets, which is great and they are cheap too. I am quite an outgoing person so I had no difficulties making friends. My advice is just pluck up the courage and talk to people from your flat or from your course – it also helps to meet people if you are working somewhere in the city. Don’t give in to the language barrier and don’t care if you make a mistake – keep going!
“If you want to study in the UK, it helps to know why you are doing it. I am working here to fund my studies, I do not have student finance, but I am not stressed or unhappy or homesick because I have a clear purpose, which is something you need to have to stick to your goal.”
Agnieszka came to the University of Central Lancashire with the help of Global Education. She said: “I met the Global Education team at a student fair and before that I had not even considered studying in the UK – I had chosen a university in Poland. Global Education changed my mind and they were extremely helpful with members of the team constantly available to speak to over text, email and Facebook. They would always remind me of important dates and information, it was so much easier than doing it myself. The team really tell you the truth and don’t paint a colourful picture of every aspect of studying abroad, for example they say you might experience homesickness etc. They are all experts because they have studied in the UK themselves, so they have first-hand experience.”
10 February 2020