In September 2019 Nela left her home in Sosnowiec, Poland to begin her journey to study Psychology with Psychotherapy and Counselling at UCLan. Having settled well in Preston, Nela is now balancing her studies with a busy social life and has rekindled her lifelong passion for dance by joining the University’s Dance Society.
“I cannot choose one specific thing that has been the most enjoyable part of my UCLan experience so far, but I am really enjoying the learning style. I like the fact that I have just two days of classes per week, with the rest of my time being focussed on self-study – this is new to me and at first it was challenging to adapt to. At home in Poland it’s completely different because there are classes from 8am until 8pm and you can be asked to learn an entire book on which you will be tested and graded. Here in the UK, books are suggested to you and it is in your own interests to read it – at first it was hard to find the motivation to self-learn instead of watching Netflix!
“Another big difference between education in the UK and in Poland is the relationship with Tutors and Professors. Back home this relationship is very formal, but here we use their first names and it’s not like speaking with a teacher. In general, they are all really nice and so supportive. What is obvious is that all my Tutors are so interested in what they do - an example of this is when my Tutor could not attend the class so she took the time to make a voice over on a presentation so we could still learn – they really love what they do!
“When choosing a university, I originally looked at Criminology courses, but I didn’t know if I would like the subject matter, so I changed my mind and applied for Psychology at five different universities. I was accepted to all five, but UCLan sent me a booklet and I saw the Psychotherapy element of this course which no others had – I knew this was for me! I had to gain high grades to meet the entry requirements which was challenging but I took the risk, made UCLan my first choice and it paid off.
“Before arriving to enrol in September 2019 I came for a tour of the University. I thought ‘wow, this place is huge!’ and I was impressed with how organised all the different teams were when working together. Everyone is always smiling, open and talkative, so I was very pleased with what I saw.
“I have used some of the student services which has been helpful, for example, The <i> for any general questions and WISER for structuring essays, which was good as I wasn’t used to writing essays so this helped me to put everything in order in my head! I love the fact that the University gym is free because I’d be the kind of person who pays for a membership but never goes – I use it when I can, and I like the disco style exercise studios.
"I love that there are so many societies here at UCLan. I used to attend ballet school in Poland and dance has been a big part of my life, so I am happy that I can still dance by joining the Dance Society and now I compete for UCLan against other universities.
“I live in the IQ Kopa accommodation, which is really nice and cosy. It is clean, new and I have my own bathroom, which is amazing! Most of the accommodation is close to the campus, so if you can’t concentrate in your room you only have a 5-minute walk to the library and it is open 24/7. Near to my accommodation are 3 different supermarkets and some fast food restaurants that are open late – perfect for something to eat after a party!
“Preston is a small, cosy city where everything is close. I have Polish friends living in other cities in the UK and they tell me some scary stories, but even at 2am it feels safe here in Preston and I’ve never felt scared. It is really easy to make friends because people here are very open, even when you are new. People ask about you and are genuinely interested in you – I’ve never been in a group situation where I have felt ignored. In my spare time I socialise with friends a lot, there’s a local German kebab place that we love! And I spend a lot of time practicing with the Dance Society too.
“My advice to you if you are thinking of studying in the UK is don’t stress too much and give yourself specific goals. Be open to new people and the new culture, get out of your room because there’s lots to do here with societies, clubs and socials.”
Nela came to the University of Central Lancashire with the help of Global Education. She said: “I was really surprised that Global Education do all of this for free! They recommend universities when you tell them what course you’d like to study, and they respond quickly with everything. It was much, much easier than I thought it was going to be and Global Education gave me instructions on what I needed to do – I wasn’t as stressed as I would have been doing it alone”
6 February 2020