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6 blogs found for International Students
by admin Posted 3 December, 2021

Hi! My name is Ana Castillo Botto and whilst writing this I am currently undertaking a year-long web development placement at Barbour as part of my Computer Science degree. With the pandemic, I started off working in the office for a few days a week but now I’ve been working from home since January.

At 7 am I wake up; well, I try to. One of the perks of working from home is that I can get up later than I would usually have to. After getting ready, I have my breakfast. I usually like to make a cappuccino to wake myself up. I also have a playlist I listen to in the morning to hype me up for the rest of the day.

At 8:45 am, I begin to work. I open Teams and read my emails to see if I have any messages. I then start writing my notes for the stand-up meeting. In my notes, I write what I did the day before, and what my plan is for the day. I like doing this as it allows me to organise my thoughts and set my priorities for the day ahead.

During the stand-up meeting, I listen to what my team members are going to do for the day. This helps me keep informed and it allows me to know if anything they are doing will affect my work plans.

After the meeting, I start my tasks for the day. I play my working playlist as this allows me to focus. At Barbour, we use the Laravel framework for the web apps that we are working on. This is a framework that uses the language PHP.

Usually, I work on business applications that other employees at Barbour use. The one I am working on now is the Repair and Reproof app, which is used to process repairs of jackets. The customer service team, the factory team, and the finance team all use this application, so they frequently send requests for new features and improvements.

Sometimes when there is a request for a change in the application, we need to do it quickly, so we do this as a hot-fix. My manager sometimes assigns these to me. So, as a start, I create a new feature branch using Git. This is to separate the work I was doing before from the new work I have to start. An example of a hot-fix I did was adding a new filter to the jobs, which allows the users of the application to filter through US jobs and UK jobs. This was a request from someone on the US Customer Service team.

So, after coding for a bit I join the “Development Open Room”. This is a Teams meeting that is open during the morning, and anyone from the Development team can join whenever they want. There is no pressure to join but it is just there in case anyone wants to have a chat as we are unable to do this as we usually would in the office. Whilst being in the Development Open Room I continue to do my work and if someone joins, I have a conversation with them. I usually leave the open room before lunch.

When it is time for lunch, I go downstairs to eat. Usually, I have something quick to eat, like a sandwich. If the weather is okay, I go for a walk. I am lucky enough to live near a park, so I just walk down the street and go walk in the park. I think this is important as it allows me to add more structure to my day and gives me a chance to clear my mind. In the park, there is a small coffee shop so I get another cappuccino from there. I like to go there at lunch time as there are usually other people who are on their lunch breaks or elderly people, who always smile at you or greet you, visiting.

After lunch, I get back to work. If I am working on a hot-fix I continue to research the problem and code the solution. When I believe it is at a great standard and I have tested it out on my local, I commit the change to the branch then I push my branch into the Azure repository. After this, I make a pull request to the Development branch and then approve it so it can merge into the Development branch.

I then must test this on the staging server. So, I log into the staging server and pull the change using Git. Then I test the change again on this server.

After I see that it is working fine, I have to put it on the production server. To do this, I make a pull request to the Lead branch. Then I approve and complete the pull request, merging the change into the Lead branch. I then log into the production server (this is the live version that the users are using) and I pull the change onto the server using Git. I then test this change to make sure it is okay to use.

When I am done doing this, I tell my manager and he tells me to send an email to the stakeholders who requested this. So, I spend some time composing an email to send to them. I feel happy when I complete a task like this as it shows that I am making a difference in the company that I am doing my placement in and they appreciate the work that I do.

Usually, by this time, it is 5 pm, which is the end of my working day. So, to celebrate I take a nap.

I sometimes see what events the Student Union is running. Occasionally they do quiz nights or game nights, so I always like to get involved in these as it is a good way to reconnect with people from university or meet new people. Also, they always give away great prizes at these events!

Also, I like to catch up with my friends, this can be through calling them or just by messaging them.

Typically, I eat quite late, usually whilst watching TV. I do not have a specific show I watch at this time but whatever is on I’m happy to watch.

Then after this, I get ready to sleep. I usually scroll through social media in my bed for a bit before sleeping. By the time I put my phone away it is probably around 11 pm or 12 am. I always try to go to sleep early (usually I fail though).

So, this is a day in my life. Although every day may be a bit different this is the usual structure.

One thing that I think is great is that the University of Sunderland allows you to do the BSc Hons Computer Science course with a placement year. This has helped me develop as a professional as I have learnt a lot of new skills and I also have the chance to apply what I have learnt in my degree so far.


by admin Posted 30 November, 2021

Currently I have just finished my second year and will be entering my third year at the University of Suffolk studying IT & Business Management in the autumn of 2021. During my first two years at University I have met loads of new people and certainly learnt a lot, although to say that there have been many ups and downs in my time so far would be an understatement.

To start my journey off and immerse myself in university life I attended the well-known Freshers week. This is a week ran by the University, full of events and activities for new students to allow them to meet other freshers and some of the staff at the University of Suffolk. To begin withon the Monday we had the Induction talk. This was a talk simply welcoming us to the university and giving us the much-needed information, as well as the history of the University and Ipswich itself for students who are perhaps not as familiar with the area. Next on the Tuesday I attended the Freshers Fair which was held in the waterfront building, at this there were various stalls about clubs and societies at the university as well as local partners of the University giving any vouchers and telling people what exactly they do.

The location for me is a real positive for the University of Suffolk, with it being only a 15 minute walk from the train station - making it ideal for people who commute like myself. It’s also only a 10 minute walk from the town centre. The waterfront where the University is based is also a stunning and modern looking area of Ipswich, providing a fantastic view of the docks. In my opinion the University buildings also give off positive vibes and I have friends who are very happy with the student accommodation being so close to where our lectures are held.

One of the main challenges that I encountered, and am still currently adapting to, is the pandemic. The government announced a lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2021. This ended up affecting my studies massively, it originally meant that no face to face lectures or seminars would be able to take place and instead they were shifted online, making everyone thankful that we are able to do this with the technology available nowadays. I found there were both positives and negatives to this, firstly this meant that I didn’t actually have to physically go the University and instead giving me that bit of extra time in the morning, which usually allowed me to have a slightly longer lay in. Like myself many students were a fan of this. Since I also got the train to Uni this meant I was able to save that extra bit of money just staying at home. 

There are many aspects of my course which I have enjoyed, however one of the highlights was in my Introduction to Marketing module. A talk was arranged with an entrepreneur called Scott Russell who is the CEO of Paddy and Scott’s which is a coffee producer in the UK. Scott talked about how the adventure starting and growing the business had taken him on and also went over the different aspects of the branding of Paddy and Scott. From this I not only learnt how Paddy and Scott’s became what it is today but also the mindset of an innovative entrepreneur like Scott and about how he goes about his daily life.

From the 26th-30th April 2021 I also attended the some of the various webinars at the Careers Week sessions. Usually these would be held in the lecture rooms around the University but were held online instead. In the week I attended three different ones; Coderus, UOS Enterprise Skills Programme and Fourier. Overall I found these beneficial as I got to learn about both of the companies. Coderus is a leading software and app development company in the UK based in Ipswich, and is one of the partners of the University. Fourier provides contract and permanent personnel to clients including investment banks, hedge funds, fintechs and so on. Both of these companies are also in sectors which I’m looking to go into so definitely worthwhile!            

Another memorable day for me was in my Business Economics module I also went on a trip to the Business Show 2019, in the ExCeL building in London. This again was a fantastic day out arranged by the University. This was full of new and thriving businesses, speakers, entrepreneurs and so on. Aside from getting loads of free stuff I overall found it a great experience and definitely got to meet and network with ambitious people like myself.

More recently near the end of my second year I began the Micro Placement Scheme ran by the University. So far I have starting doing a placement on the Waterfront Reception / Student Life centre which has including myself helping out on the social media channels and the rebranding of the Student Life Centre, as well as shadowing others in this department to see what they do and how they do it. This has also allowed myself to meet lots of new people around the University and most definitely increased my network. It is also incredibly flexible to fit around studies. For example when most of my time was taken up by various assignments near the end of my second year I was given less work, and was instead allowed to focus on them. When I had finished them and had a lot of free time I was given many more hours.

As for now I’m applying to become a Student Ambassador and hoping to welcome new students onto the Campus from September 2021 - Covid restrictions permitting. Also I’m looking forward to starting my final year of studies after the summer break.

by University of Leeds Posted 30 November, 2021

Today I am going to share with you my experiences in joining a workshop “How to write a CV for UK Employers as International Students” organized by the Career Centre of University of Leeds The workshop was helpful for me as an international student to learn how to create a UK style CV. Here are a few things that I have learnt from the workshop that I am happy to be able to share with you: 

  1. What is a CV? And how many CVs are there? 

A CV can be considered as your marketing document which aims to provide employers a very brief introduction of a candidate’s skills, experience and qualifications when applying for a job opportunity. There are four main types of CV that you can consider when applying for jobs: 

  • Traditional CVs: 

A traditional CV is among the most used CV style. A traditional CV is normally included with different sections including academic records, work experience, skills, achievements, which are representing in reverse chronological order where you start with your most recent study or jobs. 

  • Skills based CVs: 

Many jobs will require strong employability skills from the candidates. For that reason, you can choose to create skills bases CVs to highlight/put more emphasis on your skills/personal qualities and explain how they meet the job requirements. 

  • Academic CVs: 

Academic CV is normally used when you want to apply for research-based, post-doctoral research or lecturing roles and will highlight your research and academic achievement. 

  • Creative CVs: 

Creative CV is normally used when you want to apply for a role that require high creativity such as marketing, advertising, media, graphics, and publishing…The layout/design of your CV plays a critical role but not more important than its content.  

  2. Before starting to create your CV, think about what you can offer as an international student? 

Before beginning your CVs, spend time to think about what your strengths are as an international student and what you can contribute to the organization. Reflect positively on your international background, knowledge, and experience. 

  • Language skills: 

Knowing more/ Being fluent in more than one language besides English can also be your strength as you can contribute to support your future company to communicate with their overseas markets/ partners.  

  • Cultural knowledge and awareness: 

Your diverse cultural knowledge and background can be useful if your employers are interested in exploring and creating the right impact on new overseas market/customers 

  • Overseas contact and network: 

Again, this can also be useful as you can utilize your contact and network in your home country/region to help your company reach the right people/ partners.  

3. Developing your CV.

Step 1: Deciding what kind of CV will be suitable for your application. 

  • Do some research about the company that you want to work for, about the role/position that you want to apply for. Then decide on what style of CV would be the most suitable for the application. 

Step 2: Use positive, professional and enthusiastic language in your CV. 

  • Use proactive words and phrases that can convey your ability to achieve. Start your sentence with ACTION words, here are some examples: 
  • Keep your sentence short and precise. Focus on highlight the impacts that you have created. 
  • Be confident in presenting your skills and qualifications. Avoid using terms like “I hope/ I believe/ I think”. 
  • Step 3: Use the STAR method to include in some examples.

    STAR method stands for “Situation- Task- Action- Result”. 

    • Situation- what was the situation that you were in? This should be just a brief description. 
    • Task- What tasks that you and your team were allocated to do? 
    • Action- What action did you take? Why? How did you do it and what skills you used? 

    Note: you are advised to highlight the action part of your example and clearly demonstrate the skill you have used. 

    • Result- Describe briefly what the results of your action, what impacts you created and what you have learnt from this experience. 

      Step 4: Check your spelling and grammar. 

    • Utilize the active voice to describe your actions/ experience. Avoid using passive voice.  
    • Do not use too much of the personal pronoun “I”, it might make your CV less professional. 
    • For all studies or work that has been completed, you can use simple past tense. And for studies or work that is currently going on, you can simple present tense or present perfect tense.  
    • Always check to make sure that your CV has no spelling or grammar mistakes. You can ask for your friends’ support to help you proofread your CV.  

      Step 5: Utilize Vmock or book a CV check appointment with the Careers Centre to check and improve your CV. 

      The Careers Centre of University of Leeds offers a lot of supports for students, especially international students to be able to create the best and most effective CVs. You can book an appointment with staff from the Careers Centre or you can utilize Vmock – a smart online CV-checking platform. 

    In conclusion, the workshop was interesting and useful for international graduate students like me. Thanks to the event, I have learnt a lot on how to design and create a good CV, which help me to prepare myself better for the application process. I am really looking forward to more workshops like this from the Career Centre in the coming future.  

by admin Posted 23 November, 2021

My journey began in October 2020, a year full of hopes and dreams and quiet anticipation. I traveled to Glasgow from India right in the middle of the pandemic and landed myself into 14 days of self-isolation upon reaching Glasgow. The journey itself was not too difficult, two flights and 14 hours later I landed in this beautiful city. Right from the first moment I realized that “people make Glasgow” is 100% true! The city welcomed me with open arms, albeit with terrible weather. Would highly recommend packing good winter wear and raincoats.

The isolation period wasn’t too bad, I had friends who got me through it. It was a tough situation for us all, but somehow, we made it through. The first few days were mostly spent in the kitchen, trying new recipes, and making new friends (virtually, of course). We were introduced to our batchmates and professors on zoom calls, and we slowly came to realize that this was the new normal. Everything from classes to tutorials, to submitting many, many assignments was done online. As the days passed, it got better. I never struggled with online classes, as UofG always made us feel comfortable. The professors were encouraging and engaging. They always made sure that we got the information needed to learn, but also took time to ask us about our mental health and well-being. The library and reading room were open throughout the lockdown which was a huge advantage. Firstly, it’s nice to see other people, rather than being cooped up at home. Secondly, it was a quiet environment for me to get my work done without any distractions. The breathtaking views of the main campus are a bonus!

Glasgow is a beautiful city, with lots to explore. There is always something to do, or somewhere to go. Once the lockdown restrictions were lifted, things got much better, and we were able to go out and meet our friends. Overall, there is nothing inadequate about learning online. If you can work through it and support each other it is a wonderful experience.

by Posted 24 June, 2020

It’s not unusual for students who are interested in studying in the UK to feel overwhelmed and confused. There may be many ideas and opinions from different sources contributing to this. They may start to overthink certain details and then draw conclusions that lead to an uninformed judgment.

Questions that may concern new students are

Is the place I have chosen going to be okay? Will the university life suit me? Will I be able to navigate my way through the new places.

There may be many contributing factors that can cause doubt and leave students wondering if they should give their dream of pursuing a qualification by studying in the UK up.

Here are five common fears and how you can get around them:

  1. “Studying abroad is too expensive.” This is a fear that many students have that prevents them from pursuing their dream. It is an undeniable fact that studying abroad is going to be more costly in comparison to studying in your home country. However, the experiences you will gain while studying abroad outweigh the extra costs. Even after finishing the degree, you will continue to benefit from the diversity of experiences and the network you will have gained.

  2. “Studying abroad is dangerous” Everyone rightfully fears for their safety when thinking about new places to relocate to. Particularly parents to young adults. And that usually affects the students’ perception.  Any place can seem dangerous at first. That is why it’s important to empower yourself with knowledge.  It’s better to choose universities that offer clear guidance and secure protocols for international students. We also advise choosing a peer group that will help international students feel secure enough to enjoy their student days while having fun at the university. It’s better to be prepared and think about the steps to take in order to feel secure about their plans.

  3. “Making friends while studying abroad will be too difficult” Making friends has its challenges, even if you are good at it. This is especially true when you are in a new country. Most universities have separate programmes and events to connect with international students. There are also groups that are formed to help students to get to know those with similar concerns. Before you know it, you will be making plans for the weekend with friends you will have for life.

  4. Being homesick Everyone misses home when they’re away. This is something that everyone has to deal with when they are about to embark on their educational journey. The feelings can be daunting and you may start to worry that you might miss out on making more memories with your friends and family in your home town. Technology allows us to share special moments with loved ones, even from a distance. You can make video calls or have a Zoom gathering. With love in your hearts for the people, you care about you will always stay connected.

  5. “Will I be satisfied with the career I have chosen?” If you make the best of your circumstances and maximize every opportunity that presents itself, you will surely grow and be successful. Make good life decisions and expose yourself to as many experiences as you can. Remember to utilize your guidance counselor at the university. And hold yourself accountable and driven in your journey to success.