Updated: Mar 9
Courtesy of our partners at UNIC- Navitas
My name is Sayyada Master. I come from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and am currently at UNIC, pursuing my science and healthcare pathway to a BSc (Hons) in Occupational Therapy.
For as long as I remember, I have always dreamt about going to university and getting a degree. The thrill of a fresh start, moving to a new country and living the dream always appealed to me. I fantasized about a great old university, with dramatically beautiful architecture- I knew for sure, my Instagram feed would be at the envy of all my friends back at home.
When time came around to apply for the universities- instead of feeling excited, I felt lost. Ginormous application forms, interviews and the most heart shattering of all- these universities NEVER had my course!
It was only when I was lost, I found the University of Northampton International College- a college through the Navitas group of universities that was directly linked to the University of Northampton. I knew I found a place where I would create a lifetime’s worth of memories. Best part? It was one of the only universities in the UK that offered a direct degree enrolment into my health and science course.
To know more about why I chose UNIC, read on!
1. A Strong Sense of Community: Coming from a place with great emphasis on community life, I knew my transition from a close-knit high school to huge UK university would be difficult. Imagine walking in a place without knowing a soul- I would feel like Nemo in the big scary ocean. Fortunately for me- and many like me- UNIC is a small, yet very well instructed institute with a modern university as its backing. You will make friends here quicker than you can make pot noodles! Best part- you won’t experience the heartbreaking separation too soon; these friends are going to be around you for the next 3 years while you all complete your degree together.
2. The Smooth University Experience: UNIC provides students with comfortable transitioning, being located inside the Park Campus already giving the students a feel of being in ‘real’ university. While University is no child’s play, UNIC allows students to have lectures that are conducted in a supportive environment and being thoroughly reviewed so that it is relevant to the course they will be starting two semesters later. At the same time, UNIC allows students to adjust well in their new environment as well as having university-like assessment schemes with full one-on-one support from their professors. Going straight into university doesn’t allow you the privilege of having a manual in hand- unfortunately.
3. An added advantage: Students coming from mainstream high schools internationally often find it difficult to adjust to UK’s university standards. Being at UNIC gives students an extra advantage over other international students who go directly in the university. Professors at UNIC cover key skills such as plagiarism, essay planning, group presentations and basic knowledge that will make understanding complex university stuff a breeze!
4. Being in the same boat: Since it is an International College, UNIC is open for only international students. That means that everybody is undergoing the same feeling of homesickness, adjusting to UK’s temperatures and the feeling of looking for familiarity. If you are lucky enough like some of us, you may have relatives living close by and that eases the pain a bit. However, for most students, it’s their first time in the UK, living alone and coping with the stress that comes with studying. Sharing the pain does make it easier.
5. Diversity and similarities: From having students originate from all over Africa to the Far East, you get to experience a view of the world like never before! Everyone has a different story, and with every interaction you will have at UNIC, you will learn something new. Sometimes we get too comfortable in our own world but it’s your time to get out there and learn more. You will be surprised how many similarities you’ll find! At UNIC, there is no feeling left out- it is a pretty inclusive community with open minds.
6. Easy navigation: If you are like me, with zero sense of direction- then Northampton is the place for you! The town is quite small and has nearly all the shops in one large area, if you are in the university, you don’t need to go too far to buy your weekly supply of groceries or just treat yourself with a bit of shopping therapy. What makes it even easier to get around is the UNO buses. These are specialized buses for the University of Northampton that stop at nearly all bus stops possible and get you around town with a minimal fee or between campuses and to Moulton for absolutely nothing.
7. Activities: UNIC hosts a number of events throughout the month that varies from trips to London, Oxford and other locations nearby to educational trips to Unipart’s factory and the Crown Court. These trips are very frequent and ensure you have fun and do some travelling before you get on with busy university life. Without a doubt, moving to a new country is challenging. I won’t lie; there is nothing that can ever fill the void of being home in your comfort zone but I hope in this challenge you find adventures, freedom and most of all, yourself.
Here is to the best years of your life!