Get Involved!

Studying in a country that is not the one where you come from can be both exciting and nervous: the only action of thinking about living in London can build up a lot of expectations in our mind that sometimes are satisfied but, they can also lead to other unexpected roads. In any case, it is good to always have faith on what life brings you up to and be ready with the plan B! (Get ready plan C as well, just to be sure). This is quite normal in a such a big city, as London, where things can constantly change. I would describe what I tended to follow during my first year, as a sort of Mantra: GET INVOLVED! 

Iris says GET INVOLVED has been her Mantra during her first year of study. She adds saying, one of the greatest roads she had taken when trying to GET INVOLVED, was to participate in many workshops, specifically Cultural Insight workshops.

It doesn’t really matter if you are a new or continuing student, I would strongly advice you to take the chance to know more about yourself and about specific topics. 

Especially during the cultural insight workshops, I had the opportunity to make many friends like Kristina, Djeylan, Abed, Magda and Vineeta, just to mention some, share my thoughts with them and get to know their opinions. It has to be underlined that not only first year students attended to the workshops but, all years were welcomed, and this made such a good environment as the plethora of experiences was even more vast!

What I really like of this general atmosphere is that I never ever felt judged by any of the tutors (which were different all the times) or from any of the students; this is something amazing. We build a relationship with individuals we never met before, by embracing each other with our inner versions of the selves. 

Iris

And, if you want to know some more benefits, please continue reading!

The first workshop was called ‘Your Voice-Your Community’. I have to admit it, I felt that I had to go just by reading the title and I did not regret my attendance. Via some tests and different types of games, we discovered our learning techniques and so, what we are good at and what we could do to improve ourselves. The only though that YOU matter, as an individual and/or as a friend is a powerful motivation that can actually change your mindset and the way you react to certain life situations. 

The first workshop was called ‘Your Voice-Your Community’. I have to admit it, I felt that I had to go just by reading the title and I did not regret my attendance. Via some tests and different types of games, we discovered our learning techniques and so, what we are good at and what we could do to improve ourselves. The only thought that YOU matter, as an individual and/or as a friend is a powerful motivation that can actually change your mindset and the way you react to certain life situations

I discovered that I am very good at learning via both interpersonal (interacting with others) and through the intrapersonal (own inner states) intelligences.

However, each person has different skills and yet everyone can improve and develop their learning style in different ways!

Moving forward, I remember the workshop that was on the day of my birthday and, yes, I did not care, I wanted to be there!!! It was named ‘Global Dexterity’

In 2020, when people meet others commonly on digital platforms, it is always a great opportunity to make a friend without any research from their Facebook or Instagram profiles but, just by looking and listening to them. This way we do not make opinions of a person from what they look like on their social media. 

After knowing the names of the participants, we were asked to choose a poem in our native language and read it aloud. At first, I could see some who were pretty confident and some other, like me, very scared to read in front of other people. We all made it and we did not even realize it.

Once again, something amazing happened: the choice of the poem, the intonations we gave to it while reading, the explanation we compose in order for others to understand our choice, everything together told others something about ourselves.  

I hope this can encourage everyone to GET INVOLVED! There are many opportunities ready to be taken, we just need a bit of courage to straight our hand and grab them. 

Iris Pirrigheddu is an Italian student doing the 1st year of Marketing Management. She is a very curious person and finds that the opportunity to explore London is amazing! She is delighted to share many more thoughts so she says feel free to dm her on instagram linked below

My Student Life at the University of Greenwich

My name is Xingyu, a sophomore from China. My major is Politics & International Relations. As most Chinese students choose to major in business, there are no other Chinese students in my study circle.

I initially knew little about western singers, movies or food, and so I found it difficult for me to fit in with Europeans because of cultural and language differences.

I do have some other good international friends, but they are not from China. I have realised that they all have their own families and jobs, so we seldom get to communicate with each other except for study purposes. However, as our major has a Mandarin course option, I have been able to make some friends who have chosen to study Mandarin. I’ve also created a Mandarin Group on WhatsApp to assist those wishing to study and improve their Mandarin, and also to help learn about Chinese culture.

In terms of study, when I first entered university, the difference in language and learning methods was a big challenge to me. I found it difficult to take notes, look up materials in the library, and write references and so on, despite my English language skills. However, after a year’s study, I feel I have adapted and relaxed into the British way of learning pretty well.

However, perhaps due to my natural introversion, I still find there are some problems in my communications. For example, I was also quite afraid of creating and participating in presentations. However, these problems have much improved since taking part in the Cultural Insight Workshops.

Cultural Insight Workshops

By chance, I found the project Cultural Insight and decided to participate in their workshops, with the significant purpose of making friends.

The aim of the project is to help foreign students integrate into British culture and improve their personal skills in study, work or social interaction and I have now attended three workshops altogether.

The first workshop was structured to help students understand British culture and life.

After taking part in the first activity, I was able to share this learning with one of my Italian classmates.

She has told me that she also found the workshop both interesting and useful.

The second workshop was designed to help students understand how to fit into a genuinely multicultural community.

It also taught ways to make friends quickly in a multicultural society.

The workshop also taught how to use LinkedIn to create our own social circles.

The third workshop was structured to help students improve their communication skills and how to fully and better express ideas.

These workshops were all interspersed with some interesting activities, such as teamwork with Lego, to make the workshops more interesting and engaging.

The programme of Cultural Insight workshops has been limited, but they have still enabled me to gain a lot of knowledge that I could not easily assimilate. It has definitely helped me improve my interpersonal and personal skills and also equip me to better adapt to and integrate into British culture.

In short, I have enjoyed and benefitted from the workshops on Cultural Insight.

Xingyu Liu is a Chinese international student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations. She came to London after graduating from high school. She is taking beginners, Spanish classes. During her free time, she likes learning and practising Latin Dance and Ballroom Dance for dance competitions. She is a proud owner of two cats and enjoys taking care of them. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Chinese Studies upon graduation.

My experience with Cultural Insight Workshops

If I had to describe Cultural Insight workshops in three words I would definitely choose – interesting, exceptional and valued. I must say I signed-up because my classmates, who later became my good friends suggested that we go all together to get GEP points and meet new people. It was less than a month while I was studying at university, but I’ve heard of GEP points a lot and decided it would be really good for my future to try something like this. I signed up and kinda forgot about it so when I got the reminder, I thought I do not want to go but because of my responsibility I went and was not disappointed at all. 

Tina

First things first, when I came into the room where the first workshop took place, it instantly felt so warm, as if I was back home and then it became even better. I must say I love attention and when one of our workshop tutors was talking with me and about me it felt even more better. I believe that the topics for these workshops were amazingly suitable for students and their individualities. The first one called ‘Your voice – Your community’ was one of my favourites. The idea that you matter as an individual just as much as society in whole is really important. Some people forget that they have right and voice and I believe that workshops like that could be provided for more students to show them that they matter. 

My most favourite topic was ‘Global Dexterity’ and that is because of only one thing. We were reading poems in our native languages. This was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. Because I come from a small country, I could not hear many languages in my everyday life and there is it… You are sitting on a chair in a circle and people around you stand up and start reading some gorgeous pieces which are their favourites. You can understand them not even knowing the language.

Emotions, intonation, pauses, softer and louder moments, all this helps you truly understand the person on the whole new spiritual level. You understand that you live in this moment and it is beautiful.

Tina

The whole atmosphere of workshops was so good, and I could honestly see the interest of our tutors. It is exceptional when people are so interested in what they do. I want to thank them for making this project because I found a lot of new information and now can better understand myself and those people around me. It will definitely help me in achieving new amazing heights. Thank you!!! 

If I could return to October, I would probably tell everyone to come and join the Cultural Insight family. I found new people who became my friends, new information about different topics and new thoughts and views. If you read till the end, I strongly encourage you to sign up for all CI workshops in a new academic year, you will not regret it!

Kristina Pazekova (Tina) is from a small country Estonia. Her hometown is Tallinn and she always wanted to move to a bigger country.  This is the reason she chose London and the UK overall. Tina finished ballet school so she really enjoys dancing when she is free. Tina also enjoys cooking, reading and watching movies. Cinema world is her passion and this is why she and her classmate created a new society called ’Cinematheque’. Although Tina is studying Marketing management, she attempts to try herself as an actress in short movies. In the near future, she would love to create her personal Instagram blog and also try some modelling.

My thoughts on attending CI workshops

Click to hear Yujia’s experience with CI workshops

I like to say that this project is relaxing, inspiring and friendly. I would like to take my best friend to a workshop to experience the love as she is a really nice person who suffers from low self-esteem and confidence.

Yujia

This Vlog is authored by Yujia Qian, a final year student studying in BA(Hons) Business with Finance. Yujia is into rap and k-pop music. She also enjoys dancing in her free time. Yujia is ready to pursue a Master’s degree in marketing upon finishing her first degree.