International students Sarra, Tino and Andrea share their LJMU stories

Three international students who have studied at LJMU share their experiences and advice for new international students moving to the UK to start their studies in Liverpool this September.

Sarra: Navigating my new life as a student in the UK

Sarra Boumellil is an Algerian student who has just finished studying for her master’s in digital marketing with advanced practice.

Head and shoulders image of a student named Sarra

“Being an international student brings both excitement and some challenges. Settling into university life requires adjusting to a new environment, managing homesickness, making friends, and finding somewhere to live. I'm sharing my personal journey and offering tips for fellow international students on these crucial aspects.”

Settling into university Life

“Arriving in a new country for university can be overwhelming. However, my university, LJMU, provided a welcoming orientation program that eased my transition. Attending orientation events, coffee breaks, joining societies, and participating in workshops helped me connect with other students who were in the same boat. Engaging in Mount Pleasant campus activities not only helped me meet new people but also familiarised me with the university's resources and the Student Life Building.

Coping with homesickness and LJMU's support

“Homesickness is a common challenge for international students. To overcome this, I stayed connected with my family through regular video calls and maintained a good daily routine that included exploring my new city. LJMU was incredibly supportive, offering counselling services and social events aimed at creating a sense of community. Engaging with these resources played a significant role in easing my homesickness and making me feel more at home.”

Building friendships and finding like-minded people

“Making friends might seem daunting, but it's an essential part of the university experience. I found like-minded individuals by attending social events, participating in study groups, and joining clubs that aligned with my interests and by also being an International Student Ambassador. These settings provided a platform to bond over shared hobbies and academic pursuits, leading to lasting friendships that enriched my university journey.”

Connecting with peers

“Join Campus Connect or social media groups for international students before you arrive to get advice and recommendations from others who've been through the process.”

Making the most of your time abroad

“Navigating university life as an international student is a rewarding journey that comes with its challenges. With LJMU's support, I found settling into university, managing homesickness and making friends to be an enriching experience and I was able to make the most of my time abroad.”

Tino: Discovering the heart of Liverpool, a journey of friendship and exploration

Tinotenda Simata, is an international student from Zimbabwe studying architectural engineering.

Head and shoulders image of a student named Tino sat outside of the Liver Building

“As an international student at LJMU, my experience has been a whirlwind of excitement, growth, and cultural discovery. From the moment I set foot in this vibrant city, I knew I was in for an unforgettable adventure.”

Joining societies

“One of the first things I did to ease into university life was to join the Afro-Caribbean Society and BGM Student Network. These groups not only helped me connect with like-minded peers but also provided a sense of belonging in a new place. Through club meetings, events, and social gatherings, I have formed friendships that have now become an integral part of my student journey. These connections made adjusting to a new country much smoother.”

Being open-minded and curious about the city

“My top tip for fellow international students looking to settle into Liverpool is to be open-minded and curious. Embrace every opportunity to explore the city, its people, and its culture. The more you venture out, the more you'll discover the unique charm that Liverpool has to offer. Don't hesitate to strike up conversations with locals – Liverpudlians are known for their warmth and friendliness.

“There's an undeniable energy that courses through the streets of Liverpool, what captivates me most about this city is its vibrant hub of creativity and innovation, manifested through its dynamic arts scene, captivating music, and soul-stirring poetry.

“Liverpool's multicultural events have been a highlight of my experience. From food festivals that celebrate global cuisines to cultural exhibitions that showcase art from around the world, there's always something exciting happening.”

Finding your home in Liverpool

“My journey as an international student in Liverpool has been an enriching tapestry of friendship, exploration, and personal growth. Through student societies, the embrace of the city's unique charm, and the participation in its diverse events, I've found my place here. Liverpool isn't just a city; it's a home that welcomes all, making it an ideal setting for an unforgettable university experience.”

Andrea: A once-in-a-lifetime experience

Andrea is an international student from Lima, Peru. She graduated as a graphic designer and illustrator in July 2023.

A student called Andrea sat at a desk in the Student Life Building

Reflecting on the application process

“During my application process, I received support from Studies Planet, an agency in my home country that connects students from Peru with LJMU. They helped me with all the paperwork, visa application and BRP. Thanks to the agency, my application process was easy and not stressful.”

Settling into a new city

“Moving to the UK alone can be scary and challenging to get comfortable in an entirely new culture with a new language and new friends, but once in Liverpool, you can see the city's charm and feel the warmth of the lovely and friendly people. Studying at LJMU is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I recommend.”

Making the most of opportunities and activities in your first weeks and during your studies

“My first week at the university was incredible. I had artistic workshops such as life drawing, printed on 3D printers and made creative interventions with wood. What helped me settle in was that the teachers were helpful and friendly. During the workshops, I had the opportunity to meet and chat with my classmates. As a result, I met two of my best friends, Natalia from Poland and Maya from Mongolia.

“One of the things I really enjoyed in the first few weeks was the Freshers Fair, a fantastic event where you can join different societies, workshops and student groups.

“A big thing I will miss as an art student is the printmaking room, which is located in the John Lennon Art and Design Building. This room is so special to me because I spent hours there experimenting, painting, drawing, screen printing and doing cyanotype and gelli, mono and lino printing.”

Getting involved as a Student Ambassador

“During my last year of uni, I was part of the international team as a student ambassador, and it was such a wonderful experience; I met charming people, and the work environment was exceptional.”

International student info

Find out more about this year’s international student induction and welcome activities, as well as everything you need to know about moving and settling into life at LJMU as an international student.


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