Tips for settling in: Explore your local area
Exploring the area where you are studying is a great thing to do to help you feel more settled in your new surroundings, and this even applies if you’re studying for your postgraduate program at the university where you studied for your undergraduate degree. This is because we can guarantee that you won’t have even come close to seeing and doing all the things that your location has to offer.
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Doing a little bit of exploration gives you a break from your academic studies, and exploring your local area is fantastic if you are an international student as it will allow you to get used to your surroundings and learn a lot more about the local culture. It’s a great way to make yourself feel more at home and will really help you to enjoy your time studying in the UK.
Taking a look around, and learning about, the area where you are studying sounds like something every student does automatically, but this isn’t the case. Many students study for their degree in the same place for a number of years and don’t explore the area at all, but by doing this they are really missing out.
Wherever you are studying for your postgraduate degree there will always be lots of things going on, you just have to know where you look. No matter what your interests are there will always be something for you to do.
Here a few tips on how to find out what’s going on in your local area:
#1 Check Out Your Local Council’s Website
Your local council's website is a brilliant port of call for finding out what is going on in your local area. Council websites are usually kept really up to date with all the latest events and happenings in that particular area. For example if your local council is holding some kind of event like a fireworks display, their website is the first place you’ll hear about it. Many council websites allow you to search for events based on specific categories, and a lot of council websites also have a calendar on them with dates of all the events that are taking place that month.
#2 Head Down To The Tourist Information Centre
Most big cities have tourist information buildings, which are usually located around the city centre. Smaller cities may not have tourist information centres but there will often be something similar that will serve the same purpose. Even though you are not technically a tourist (you’re a student – remember?!), when the time comes for exploring the local area there isn’t much difference between a tourist and yourself.
Tourist information centres offer a wealth of knowledge and information on the local area. There will be hundreds of leaflets on all the things to see and activities that you can take part in and the information will be available in all different languages, perfect for international students. You can also ask the staff at the tourist information centre for extra information if you need it. Tourist information centres are a hub of ideas so whenever you are stuck for things to do they are a good place to go to.
#3 Ask Around
Not all events that are taking place will be advertised on the council’s website or at the tourist information centre, so it is always a good idea to ask other people, such as other students, if they know about things that are happening in the local area. By doing this you may find something to do that you make not have discovered otherwise. It is also a good way to discover new friendship groups and make new friends.
You will not believe how much you can learn about the place where you are studying from a little exploration. If you really have seen all you wish to see in the area where you are studying you should the start venturing further afield and see what the rest of the UK has to offer. Check out our section on travelling around the UK which contains some essential information on how you can travel around the UK for a minimal cost.