MY INTERNATIONAL STUDENT STORY BY NEWCASTLE RESIDENT, CHARLOTTE
By Rebecca Maher on August 30th, 2023
Name: Charlotte Ong
Studied Psychology at: Newcastle University
Living at Verde for: 4 years
Started on the 14th of September 2019 when I arrived in Newcastle alone for the first time. However, my time was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and I had to move back home for the rest of first and second year. Returning to Newcastle in 2021 was quite a nerve-wreaking and anxiety provoking experience given all the new regulations and uncertainty, but I was very blessed to have found a home and a community here with Downing Students.
Upon my arrival back in Newcastle, I was required to self-quarantine in student accommodations and the staff at Verde made it such an easy, stress-free two weeks. They helped with bringing up and posting my Covid tests, and even bringing up groceries during that time. All in all, it made my experience so smooth! I know that the thought of moving to a foreign country is scary but it’s really not as bad as you think. I’ve had the best four years and I am really sad that my life as a university student is coming to an end. It was really easy to make friends (I wrote a blog on my top tips for making friends in student accommodation!) and there’s always something going on (either at uni or at your accommodation), so you’ll never get bored.
Of course, as with anything new, there was a learning curve and a whole new culture to experience. One thing that I do really want to highlight was how impressed I was with the range of activities and sober events that were on offer. As you may (or may not) know, Newcastle has quite the reputation for being THE party city. However, throughout my time here I never felt pressured to drink or do anything that I wasn’t comfortable with. There were so many alternatives put in place for people who want a quieter chilled out social, so you’ll never feel left out!
My absolute favourite thing about staying with Downing Students, was at the beginning of every month, a new poster will be put up with all the activities and events that would be happening that month, and the hot drinks station that is at reception every day. My flat would always send pictures of the events board and we would plan our schedule around those events. As a flat, we’ve done ornament painting, flowerpot painting going on to plant seeds and pumpkin carving. Besides these events, there are also smaller scale events such as blueberry muffin day, self-care day, national mental health day where you just pop to reception and collect your sweet treat or face-mask. Attending these events with my flatmates and chatting with the reception team has really helped all of us bond and feel like a family.
Overall, my experience as an international student has been a very positive one. If there’s one thing you remember from this article, let it be this: You’ll definitely enjoy yourself, be courageous, and treasure this time. It passes by in the blink of an eye.