One of the reasons many students - myself included - chose to go to university in the UK rather than elsewhere, was that most degrees here are only three years long. Back in the day, when we were filling out our UCAS applications, it seemed like such an advantage.
Four years ago, I was standing outside in the Los Angeles heat, knocking on doors in my West Hollywood neighborhood as a volunteer with Obama for America. Today, I sit in an apartment across from rainy Regents Park in London, my absentee ballot waiting to be mailed.
Even the hardiest of students will struggle to avoid bouts of homesickness at some point during their time overseas. It's a completely normal part of studying abroad, and something nearly all international students will feel at some point.
Having a direct link to your friends and loved ones DOES make life easier. You can connect with your family in a matter of seconds via the Internet, rather than having to wait for days for letters to be delivered by post.
Now, in the weeks that follow my arrival to Cambridge, I still find myself completely incredulous on several occasions. Taking a shortcut to a class means cutting through the grandeur of King's College Chapel and pretending that its majesty is something everyday.
It can be quite unsettling to a lot of international students having to quickly adapt to the new culture and make friends with the English locals before cliques are formed. It is much easier to gravitate towards familiar people and hit it off instantly.
The initial days and weeks of university life are incredibly hectic, and one barely has the time to think about them until they are over. Looking back, here are three thoughts incoming students may find helpful.
My own reasons for studying in the UK were a combination of all the above, but here, in this article, I'd like to specifically focus on the last. I believe UK institutions should strive to retain higher numbers of native-born Brits. I say that not because it would appeal to ardent nationalists but because it would, more importantly, enhance the cultural immersion of international students.
Being an international student - whether you're in the UK, USA or Europe - is daunting and many can find themselves in a sticky situation with unscrupulous landlords or dodgy visa companies. Even seemingly simple tasks like setting up a mobile phone or a bank account can suddenly become very confusing.
We simply must challenge and put an end to the deliberate malignment of International students at Westminster, they are not the fall guys for Cameron's promised reduction in immigration. Its time our MPs stood up for our students!
Even this country's most illustrious universities rely on international students for the intellectual and cultural value they bring from overseas. Many of this country's top universities trade on their reputations as global leaders in research and education.
The past three weeks have felt much more 'American' to me. Now settled into Stateside life, I find myself doing more things that an American would do as opposed to a tourist. From fishing on the Chester River at sunset, to going to classes and buying groceries at Acme, I feel comfortably at home in Chestertown. Here's hoping it continues!
For many UK universities it is now International welcome week, a period where our centres of Higher and Further education have an opportunity to impress those students travelling in from all over the world whilst helping them feel at ease in their strange new environment.
This was the chant of hundreds of staff, students and union representatives who took to the streets of London today. They were there to rally outside the Home Office with the purpose of contesting UKBA's decision to revoke London Metropolitan's licence to sponsor international students.
if London Metropolitan University failed to keep records of its students, then it should be held liable. Though one can also perhaps sympathise with the Universities based in a country where carrying and proving of id is considered a civil liberty issue.
As I write, the start of new academic years at universities up and down Britain are just three weeks away. 25 days to be precise. And yet, London Metropolitan University and the thousands of international students attached to it are still waiting to hear from the UK Border Agency whether or not their new terms are going to start at all.