Student Experience: Diary of my first week at INTO GCU

GCU - Victor with his INTO classmates outside Edinburgh Castle

Victor and INTO classmates outside Edinburgh Castle.

What’s it like to arrive at an INTO centre for the first time? INTO GCU student, Victor Hugo Parrado Cortesl from Colombia, shares the diary of his first week…

GCU - Victor lifting snow

Victor preparing for his first ever snowball fight!

Arrival Day ‘I was happy to make new friends so quickly’
Today has been a big day as I arrived at INTO Glasgow Caledonian University for the first time – plus it’s my birthday! I was really tired after my long trip so I was glad when the GCU Student Ambassador met me at the airport.

She was really friendly and gave me a map of the city and info on buses, taxis etc. A few Brazilian students arrived at the airport at the same time so we got the bus together to our accommodation. I was happy to make new friends so quickly! 

When I arrived at my apartment in Victoria Hall, I met my other flatmates – Jim from Vietnam and Mohsen from Saudi Arabia. Later, Mohsen invited his friends to our house and they cooked me a birthday dinner. We sat on the floor eating rice and lamb with our hands – this was a new experience for me because I’m used to sitting at a table and eating with cutlery. The food was delicious, and we stayed up really late chatting and laughing.

Monday – ‘I was impressed by how modern all of the facilities are’
Day one of Welcome Week – it was exciting to visit the INTO GCU centre for the first time. The friendly Student Services team helped us to complete our registration forms and showed us around campus. I was impressed by how modern all of the facilities are. For example, the Saltire Centre library is self-service so if you want to borrow a book you don’t have to wait in a queue for the librarian – you just scan the book and student card in a machine.

It’s much more convenient than the library system I’m used to in Colombia. During the campus tour, I joined the Arc gym on campus – it only costs £17 per month and I can go any time of day, so it’s a great deal. Afterwards, we went on a tour of the city centre to find out where to buy groceries etc. My favourite part of the tour was seeing Hamley’s toy shop!

GCU - Victor with female friends outside Edinburgh Castle

Victor and classmate give Scotland the thumbs up.

Tuesday – ‘I met lots more people today’
Today we found out about all of the INTO GCU social trips – I signed up for the trips to Edinburgh castle and the Celtic v Kilmarnock football match. Then we had a listening, writing and grammar test. I met lots more people today – I now have new friends from China, Russia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. I even met up with some Colombian students too.

Wednesday –
 ‘We relaxed in the afternoon by eating pizza’
Today we had our speaking tests in the morning, then we relaxed in the afternoon by eating pizza and playing the Wii in our INTO centre. Some of the current students joined us and we took the opportunity to get to know them – they recommended things to do in Glasgow.

Thursday – ‘As it’s a small group, the teacher has more time to spend with each student’
Our first day of classes – the teachers are very nice and our study books look really good. There are only nine students in my class which I’m really happy about. As it’s a small group, the teacher has more time to spend with each student so you don’t have to shout to be heard. Also, it makes it easier to remember everyone’s name. Luckily, no one in my class speaks Spanish so I won’t be tempted to use it!

GCU - Victor in INTO centre

With new found friends in the INTO GCU centre.

Friday – ‘We had lots of fun dancing salsa and meringue’
The second day of classes – I’m really enjoying it so far. The teacher encouraged us to talk a lot and we got homework to do over the weekend. At nighttime, my friends and I went to a Brazilian bar in the city centre called Boteco de Brazil. We had lots of fun dancing salsa and meringue with girls from France, Denmark and Spain.

Saturday – ‘My first time seeing snow – I was so excited!’
Today was my favourite day of Welcome Week as the INTO GCU staff took us on a trip to Edinburgh Castle. It was the first time I’d travelled by train and I really enjoyed it – it was great to see all the pretty Scottish scenery. The castle was really busy with lots of tourists; we learned about its history which I found really interesting. Also, it was my first ever time seeing snow – I was so excited! The other students and I had a snowball fight which was lots of fun. It’s been a great week.

Victor is doing the English for University Study programme. Find out more about studying at INTO Glasgow Caledonian University.

Want to know more about the teachers at INTO GCU? Read our interview with English Language teacher Chris Bateman.

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