When Stress Strikes

May is the month where all the work that has been done in the university year is put into its final details and it is submitted. It is when students are taking over the university in high numbers and the library becomes as noisy as the refectory. In times like this one, it is almost impossible to remember how to avoid stress issues and how to be organised when your mind is pulling information from all the academic year in order to decide how the final paper will look like.

I have been going through a complicated moment due to personal concerns and university decisions. I am on my way to change my course from Criminal Psychology to Criminology and Sociology, this is my first year and the expectation of submitting successful work is not that high but still exists as its feedback will be essential for my personal growth in the course, and I have been attempting to build a proud cv since I first stood my feet in this university. Consequently, I am stressed.

When I added my personal concerns to these other ones that already existed, the thought I would not make until the place I planned to achieve tortured my self-confidence for a while. Life can be cruel more often that we would like to be reminded of. I did allow myself to suffer a little because we all need to express our pain one way or another, and after I have had enough I had to force myself to leave that spectrum of despair. I have some consequences of those moments following me now, but they will either pass, or I will soon learn to live with them.

However, I write this as a reminder to myself and as an advice to whoever reads it. Although it is obvious, there are moments that I question everything around me, from friends to career choice to what I will eat tonight. Sometimes I think these questions become more frequent as time goes by, and a friend has already told me that experiences will always make us have more questions to be asked than answers to decipher. Therefore, the best to do is to keep evolving, adapting to what you find best to and improving yourself as an individual.

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Easter break – Gloucester Quays

Hello everyone! I’ve been very busy with my studies, but I finally have something to write about: the Easter break!

I went on a trip to London on Friday(14th) to meet some of my Brazilians friends that were there, I came back on the same day so I got really tired, but it was very fun! I spent the rest of the weekend in my bed trying to recover from the long-walks and tiredness from London. But on Sunday I found out about an ‘Easter Market’ in Gloucester Quays and I decided to go.

It’s very easy to get to Gloucester Quays by bus if you live in Cheltenham, and the Easter Market is definitely worth it (there are some really cool events there throughout the year as well).

In the Easter Market you can find a great variety of food, e.g. homemade cheese, jam, pies, chips, sweets, cakes, etc. There are also people selling plants, crafts, jewellery, and much more.

I’ve tried some delicious food in there, and they were very cheap! I started with some churros but sadly no photos were taken so I’m going to show you some of the foods that I tried there:

0 tais pulled pork

This is pulled pork with chips, and some onion salad on the top. It was one of the most delicious food that I’ve tried here in England, it was 5 pounds for that.

Tais 🙂

Always, Always Say YES to chances for authentic Christmas meals!

So it is almost Christmas time already and I am so happy for all my friends and myself who completed another term of our course, this means one more step closer to our goals! But now is the time to enjoy our holiday break and refresh ourselves to face next term with full energy. Many international students go back to their mother countries at this time of the year to see their families and friends and celebrate Christmas holiday. However, there are also many other students who plan to stay in the UK for many reasons.

For those who have planned to stay for whatever reasons, I would like to share a tip what my other friends recommend me all the time. It is to always say Yes to invitations from your English friends or teachers to join their Christmas meals. It is always good to experience a traditional Christmas meal (roast turkey, vegetables, stuffing and gravy) with an English family which you cannot have outside of the England or after you finish your degree here. So while you are here, it is the best to join their special day and see how they celebrate this most beautiful time of the year.

I have already received an invitation from one of my teachers who also lives in Cheltenham and this year I am going to join his family Christmas meal with some of my classmates. I am so happy and excited about this and I also would like all my international friends to have this wonderful experience as well.

Wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Have an awesome holiday!!!

A special visit and Christmas’ break.

Missing my family has been my biggest challenge since I arrived here. But I was lucky that while I go to university in England, my boyfriend goes to university in Portugal, which has been very positive for us since we are both going through the same experiences as international students and we get to see each other more often than if he was in Brazil for his studies.

Two weeks ago, he surprised me by coming to Cheltenham without telling me anything about it, it was a shock for me and I couldn’t be happier. He stayed here for 5 days and he was amused at Cheltenham’s beauty.

This is us enjoying the coldest day here in Cheltenham:

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On the other hand, it is almost Christmas, and not everyone is going home to stay with their family, just like me. If that’s the case for you too, then I suggest you to keep yourself entertained with your friends or classmates so you don’t feel alone. There are a lot of international students going through the same situation as you, that’s why you can always find someone to be friends with.

A good option to have fun with your friends in the Christmas’ break is to cook together. I’ve always loved baking and I decided to bake some cookies with my friend Camila, from Colombia.

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I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a happy new year!

December

So, it’s been a while now and here I am assignments done and exams coming up. It’s a stressful time but everyone goes through it. Here are some of my recommendations for getting through the winter months:

  1. It’s getting darker earlier and colder so not too good if you’re used to sunny weather. Just remember to plan ahead, because I didn’t and I’ve had to buy jumpers, scarfs, hats, gloves… so yes, even though September isn’t too cold once December hits it’s freezing.
  1. December here at university is also revision, revision, revision… The noise in halls is a bit unpleasant when trying to study but as a last resort there is a 24hr computer room that is available to all students. This is brilliant if you need one of those nights with no sleep and like 60 coffees
  1. People are still going out but if you’re like me and prefer to stay in don’t worry. The university has loads of different clubs and socials you can join One of the most common ones for international students is the International Café which takes place every Wednesday at the FCH chapel. It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends. While sipping a nice hot chocolate, and gives you plenty of time to study.
  1. If you’re an older student, from personal experience, I do recommend looking for a house if you can before coming to university instead of halls. I think it’s the one mistake I made because I’m now living with 18 year olds when I’m 22 so it isn’t what I expected and I would recommend attending a house-hunting event Especially because you can meet people before moving in.
  1. December is also a good time to get involved with UK Christmas culture and food as it may vary depending on where you’re from. For example, something new to me has been mince pies or mulled wine. A good place for this is the Cheltenham Christmas market, located on the promenade about 5 minutes from FCH.
  1. Another recommendation is to book your Christmas flights well in advance to be able to get the best rates but do remember to book these around you’re lectures, assignments, exams… if you’re not too sure you can always talk to your personal tutor beforehand. I’m really excited to go home as it’s only a week now until I get to see my family. The hardest thing for me has to be being separated from my loved ones.

Cooking as a skill, a quality and a friendship symbol!

When you are studying in a foreign country, you will miss traditional or homemade meals as much as you miss your family and friends. Even though many readymade meals, restaurants and takeaway chains offer your food or similar, you will definitely miss your homemade food very much. However, the good thing is that you can prepare for this very easily.

Many of us know how to cook basically, but it can be very useful if you learn how to make a few traditional dishes or meals before coming to study in the UK. You can simply ask or watch what your family is cooking or learn from many online cooking channels. I can’t mention the benefits of this simple and easy preparation. Being able to cook some of my traditional meals helped me to get through my homesickness a lot and it can be very cheap compared to eating out all the time.

The most important and fun part of cooking is that you can exchange your cooked meals with other international friends who are always happy to taste your home food. I have experienced many dinner celebrations with my international friends and we always cooked our own food together and offered to taste them. I would say these dinners helped our friendship to become stronger and better. This was one of the best parts of my study experience in the UK since I got to learn many different and delicious kinds of food from different countries. You won’t regret it if you give some time to learn some basic cooking before you come since it will be so fun and beneficial for you. Just three or four kinds of meals will be of great help for you.

 

How to bring Malaysia to Jamie’s Italian: Have dinner with Malaysian entrepreneurs

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Put twenty high-ranking business people from Malaysia, ten Malaysian-students and one English woman into an Italian Restaurant. Quintessentially it’s the whole country in one building, but officially it’s called a ‘networking event’. The University had organised this dinner to give students a chance to make contacts with the business group who were visiting the Cotswolds area from Malaysia.

Continue reading “How to bring Malaysia to Jamie’s Italian: Have dinner with Malaysian entrepreneurs”