A smiling man at a beach, ocean in the background.

What our students have to say

Andrés David Bermúdez Jiménez

Can you describe your pathway into LJMU?

I completed my foundation year in Bogotá via the Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK) programme. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make the grades I was hoping for and had to seek another entrance into University. However, the UK education system has options for students to reapply for alternative programmes in this situation and enter through a clearing system in August. I took advantage of this and eventually gained my place at Liverpool John Moores University last year.

How was your arrival into the UK?

It was all quite quick. As I entered through clearing, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about things before I was ready to make my journey. I managed to arrive in plenty of time for the welcome events which was a really good experience. I was met in Manchester airport by another student, one that the University had sent to help those arriving on incoming international flights. He was there to help me get not only into the city of Liverpool, but directly to my accommodation. This only took about 45 minutes from the airport. The University paid for the transport so I didn’t need to worry about cash on arrival. I was glad he met me to be honest. He was from America so he had an accent I was familiar with and he was easy to communicate with after a long journey.

Image of Andrés David Bermúdez Jiménez

I feel safe in Liverpool...I really like the freedom you have here to walk around the streets at all hours of the day and night.

How did you find the practicalities of setting up home here?

I had a bank account in Colombia, so I had money to begin with. I put the UK bank account down as a later priority. The first thing I did was collect my Biometric Residence Permit [BRP] from a local post office. Students get 10 days to collect this after arrival so I managed to do it in plenty of time. I actually found it all quite easy. My second priority was to register with the police. For that, it was a little further down the road at another University campus. The police talk you through the process of registering your presence in the city and this all gets sorted quite quickly, within the first couple of weeks. During those days, I also registered with the National Health Service, it was fast and easy, especially for me as the Health centre is located in the ground floor of my accommodation building.

I opened a bank account a lot later but that is all sorted now. There are so many different banks offering student rates in the city, the choice is endless. I have since applied for my national insurance number so that I can start to earn money. I can work up to 20 hours per week on my Tier 4 student visa and I can tailor a lot of these hours around my study. The support and assistance I received in the UK was surprising. Here, if you have a question about something, there is always someone who will be on hand to offer the right solution – there aren’t just teachers here to take classes, there are entire support teams employed with the sole purpose of helping you.

What activities have you taken part in since starting in September?

The LJMU International Society has been really fun, full of events and trips, and it has also been a great opportunity to meet new people from all different places and backgrounds. I’ve joined an independent football 5 team here. It’s made up of other students and we play against other guys - British and international. I’ve really enjoyed it. There are a great mix of people in my accommodation also. We get on really well so I’m really glad I chose to stay in the city centre with others in LJMU. In the city, there is also a salsa class and party I have tried which was really fun.

What are your favourite aspects of the city?

To be honest, I find it crazy that seagulls come and walk among the people on the streets of the city centre. The city is really close to the waterfront so there are always a lot of birds coming from there. I’ve never seen that before. It’s really safe in the city centre and it doesn’t even require a visible police presence. I’m not used to that but I really like the freedom you have here to walk around the streets at all hours of the day and night. Besides this, the bus system is really good. You have two-tier [double deck] buses here. They are new to me but I find it easy to navigate the city with them when needed.

Finally, if you had 3 pieces of advice to give to other students thinking of making the journey from your country, what would they be?

  • Be prepared to learn new accents. In the UK, there are so many different accents and they may not be what you are expecting. Just take your time. The people here are really friendly and won’t mind slowing down or repeating things you don’t quite understand
  • When packing your bags for the UK weather, try to pack a thermal layer for underneath your clothes. The materials we use in Colombia aren’t thick enough to keep the cold out
  • Don’t worry. The University is great and the staff here are so helpful. If you ever have a question, don’t struggle to find the answer yourself, just ask. The help you get might surprise you

Samar Thiab

Image of Samar Thiab

Can you describe your pathway into LJMU? 

I was awarded my MSc degree from the University of Jordan and then got sponsored to do my PhD from Applied Science University-Jordan where I was working as a lecturer and teaching assistant. My research interest was focused on pharmaceutical analysis and I explored different research groups at different universities in the UK and got in touch with a number of them. In the end the interesting research subject and fast response from the administration team lead to me joining LJMU in 2015. 

How did you find the practicalities of setting up home here?  Setting up a bank account etc?

The first few weeks were really very busy. I had to complete my enrolment first to get my student card and all the papers from the student admin centre necessary to open a bank account, apply for a rail card and settle in a student accommodation, etc. I got help from the accommodation office team to find a suitable studio in the city centre.

In the first week I went for police registration, which is required for all international students and I opened a bank account. Although I have a bank account in Jordan and I brought cash with me, my sponsor needs a UK bank account to transfer the living expenses. I also registered with the local GP. These were easy tasks to do, but require making an appointment (bank and police ..) and filling in forms as well as providing many documents.

What activities have you taken part in since starting in September?  

As a PhD student, I started in January. I’m in the process of writing-up my thesis now, and I can confidently say that engaging in research, lab work, conferences, etc. is time consuming and left me unable to take part in some activities organised by the University except the first International Day held in the James Parsons building, where I do my study. I also tried HOST UK, as LJMU is one of the participants, and it was a very nice experience. 

Placeholder

I met many other PhD students and went sightseeing with them around the UK several times. I went to see the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra several times since I get discounts as an LJMU student. I also went to the Empire theatre to watch the Swan Lake Ballet as well as trips to the cinema and all these events were cheerful.

What are your favourite aspects of the city?

The waterfront is amazing and relaxing, worth a visit after a stressful day. Shopping is easy in the city centre and everything is available. The transport system is very good, you can take buses, trains or taxis relatively easily. 

Finally, if you had 3 pieces of advice to give to other students thinking of making the journey from your country, what would they be?

  • You don’t need to bring loads of stuff from home, because everything is available here except maybe few things like a coffee pot to prepare Turkish coffee, because they are really expensive in the UK in general. Don’t bring tons of clothes and shoes, you’ll definitely buy a lot in Liverpool, especially during the sale seasons
  • Get ready to hear a different accent than the British London accent that you’re exposed to from the IELTS exam! People in Liverpool speak differently, but you’ll get used to it, it is still English
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions, you’ll always find someone willing to help