I have found myself thinking back to the time that I first came to study in the UK quite often. Sometimes it was just a random thought and my mind kept wandering back to those old days. It was not easy, of course, with lots of worries and struggles and I’m glad that I was able to settle down. But back then, the differences in the culture, language, lifestyle, or basically everything, were a huge part that makes everything seem so impossible. I don’t think I could make it without giving up half way through if it was not because of my friends and people around me who helped to make that process much easier and more enjoyable.
It explained why when Emma from Helpzone mentioned, in one of our international meetings, the scheme called ‘International Welcome Buddy Intern’, it has ‘clicked’ in my head almost immediately. So it turned out that I can be that helpful person to whom I’ve been so thankful too. It’s not like I’m doing this for people to feel thankful towards me like they’ve owned me anything, of course, I just want to help in making their first days in the UK a bit easier as I knew how hard it can be to walk that path alone.
And I literally signed up for that without any hesitation.
So basically, the ‘International Welcome Buddy Intern’ is a programme set up by University’s Helpzone, in which each current home or international student is matched up to a group of new international students, in order to integrate these students into social events and activities, providing them with the opportunity to really experience life as a UoG student in Cheltenham and Gloucestershire.
Firstly, I have to admit that I’m not that interesting and outgoing kind of person.
Secondly, I’m not good at socializing and working with people.
What I have is just a bunch of (hopefully) useful experience of how to survive in the UK as an international student.
Hence, this is a fantastic for me to improve my communication and interpersonal skills as well as getting some experience of working with people from a range of backgrounds and culture or at least getting me some new friends. Who knows where this would lead to, it’s not like I’m going to lose anything anyway.
So after reading through the information sheet again to make sure everything is ok and if I am someone who they’re looking for, I quickly completed and submitted the application form. It led to a talk with a Helpzone advisor (Emma, to be specific :), have I mentioned that I really like her?) to confirm my visa conditions and check if I am allowed to do it. (Because although this is a voluntary internship, it will still count and add up to my allowed 20 working hours per week).
Fortunately, everything was fine and I got an email offering the post just a day later. I met up with Emma again to discuss a bit deeper about the scheme, my responsibilities and points of contact if I have any difficulties being a buddy intern. She also mentioned there would be a training session in May (as I can’t make it to the April one) on how to best support the student group, which sounds really excited and I can’t wait to meet the new students coming to university this September!