Getting involved in UK university life: Vanessa’s story

University of Gloucestershire student, Vanessa from Malaysia moved to the UK in 2016.

She tells us how she has thrown herself (quite literally!) into university life. 

When I first arrived I didn’t know anyone, so I was keen to make new friends in and out of the classroom.

I first heard about the UOG cheerleading team, the Dynamites, during the university’s fresher’s fayre at the start of term.

I would highly recommend going to the fresher’s fayre, there are so many clubs and organisations to join, whatever you are interested in.

I love performing and have always had an interest in cheerleading, so I decided I wanted to join the team. I felt this would be a good way to meet new people and help with my English skills.

In order to join the Dynamites, I first had to attend the fresher try-outs session.

The try-outs help to find out what level you are at and what team you will be allocated to. I was allocated to the Match Team.

We train once a week and our team are involved in performing at multiple sporting events as well as the university’s annual varsity game. It’s challenging fitting in studies and the cheer events, but I’ve learnt to manage my time more effectively since studying in the UK.

I felt both excited and nervous about joining the team. I was excited because I could continue my interest in performing and passion as a cheerleader. But I was nervous as I was afraid I’d be unable to get on well with the UK students as I wasn’t used to listening to and speaking English that fluently at the very beginning of my university life.

Once I joined the team, I was inspired by the talent of the other cheerleaders and they were all welcoming and lovely. We have a themed social event every Wednesday where all the Dynamites get together. There is also an ‘end of cheer’ meal and award night which marks the end of a season.

I feel my speaking and listening skills have developed the most since joining cheerleading, my teamwork skills have also improved. Having great teamwork skills is actually really important for a cheerleader in order to have a perfect stunt and performing routine. This has also developed my skills in working in groups for my undergraduate studies.

The best thing about being in the cheerleading team is that we get to represent the university in competing at various cheer competitions as well as performing at various sports events.

My advice to new international students would be to get involved in the Students Union teams and clubs as it gives you the chance to socialise with English native speakers as well as helping you to develop more academic skills.

Vanessa studied a BA in Marketing, Advertising and Branding at the University of Gloucestershire. If you’re interested in studying at the University of Gloucestershire, please speak to your Education Counsellor.

You may also like to read Taís story about studying in Cheltenham.

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