International students went through a special welcome programme last week to sample Middlesex and London life.
For many students, it’s their first time in the UK, and the Welcome to Middlesex Orientation Programme is designed to familiarise the new intake with all aspects of living in London. It provides the students with the information and practical skills needed to get the most out of their studies at Middlesex.
“The whole purpose of the programme is to take away the initial concerns students might have when they first arrive in the country and ease them into London life and their studies quickly,” says Chrisy Savva, the International Student Liaison Manager.
Middlesex staff and student ambassadors greet international students at Heathrow airport and take them to their halls of residence, or help them to their accommodation if they are living elsewhere. Students also benefit from advice and guidance on opening bank accounts, registering with a doctor and are even shown around the local shops for provisions.
“Students enjoy the orientation programme because not only does it help sort out their administration and logistics but they also make friends quickly through the various social events we organise. It means they feel part of the University and are less likely to feel homesick,” added Chrisy.
Social events and day-trips are a key highlight of the programme. Students are given a guided tour of London, visiting famous sights and museums, as well as receiving tips on how to get to grips with London’s transport system. Day trips outside London are also organised, and the whole week culminates with a final boat party on the River Thames.
“When I arrived, I was a nervous wreck as it’s the first time I’ve been in the UK. But having so many student ambassadors and teaching staff available on campus to answer my questions was really helpful,” says Dominique Fray-Aitken, a US student from Houston, Texas.
“The orientation programme allowed us to meet new people from around the world, learn new things about different cultures, meet fellow students from home countries and learn more about Middlesex and what it has to offer. It made me feel right at home,” she adds.
Manoj Velvela, from Hyderabad, India, says he enjoyed the tours the most, especially the boat party on the final day: “It was very helpful seeing the different sites and understanding the culture and traditions of this country. I’ve also made a lot of new friends, so the process has been very helpful.”
The international orientation happens twice a year, with the next one happening at the start of the year for the January intake.
“It is demanding organising nearly 1000 students and ensuring they have a smooth and stress-free start to life at Middlesex. But we know the programme makes it easier for the students to settle quickly and begin their studies,” says Chrisy Savva. “A lot of these students are new to the country and it can be quite daunting for them, so it’s always rewarding to see them happy. “