Student Experience: How I made an international friend

Xinshuang (Yolanda) Li, wearing her favourite colour!

Is it easy to make friends from other countries while studying abroad? INTO University of Exeter student, Yolanda (Xinshuang) Li from China, tells us about one good friend she made…

I started my study abroad experience at INTO Exeter in January this year – how time flies! Since coming here I’ve made many friends, including a Canadian friend.

I met Kirsty through the Global Chums group at the University of Exeter, which gives international students the chance to meet up. I still remember the day Kirsty and I met – we found out that we both liked pink as I was wearing my favourite pink jacket! English isn’t my first language so sometimes I couldn’t understand what she said, but she was very patient and that made me feel encouraged.

Yolanda and Kirsty

New friends Xinshuang and Kirsty enjoying a traditional English cream tea.

When I met Kirsty she’d been in Exeter for three years but I was new, so she was really supportive. For instance, she helped me buy a new computer when I needed one and I was very moved by this.

We joined in with group activities together, such as visiting beautiful Exeter Cathedral, having afternoon tea and visiting a market for Chinese New Year. This included a Chinese cultural exhibition, food tasting and game sessions. I really enjoyed it! I also gave Kirsty a traditional Chinese knot as a sign of our friendship.

INTO Exeter centre

The INTO Exeter centre.

We still keep in touch with each other by email. We both love travelling – she recently sent me her photos of Paris while I sent her my photos of Brighton. We’re even planning to travel together!

Being friends with Kirsty and doing activities together really enriched my social life and expanded my vision. Now I have a more positive attitude towards life and have more courage to face challenges.

There is a well-known Chinese saying: ‘Each of us is seeking a special meeting in our lifetime’. I feel very happy and lucky to be friends with Kirsty – I hope our friendship lasts forever.

Well done to Xinshuang for completing her International Foundation at INTO University of Exeter. She’s now planning to study Economics and Finance at the University of Exeter in September.

Find out more about studying at INTO Exeter or at one of our other centres in the UK, US and China.

Read more about making friends while studying abroad and see our 5 tips for having great social skills. Or read about another INTO Exeter student’s experience of studying abroad.

 

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