Life as an international student at UCR

Written by Julianna Riddle 

My name is Julianna and I recently moved to the UK from America to study a three-year Animal Behaviour and Welfare degree at University Centre Reaseheath. I wanted to share a little bit about what it has been like for me so far, in case you were thinking about becoming an international student at UCR, too!

I chose to study Animal Behaviour and Welfare at University Centre Reaseheath to help me achieve my future career goal of becoming a zookeeper. I would particularly love to work in education within a zoo, to teach and inspire people about nature and wildlife.

Reaseheath was very helpful when I first arrived in the UK, especially with everything going on with Covid. It was a very stressful and complicated adventure to get here, but once I arrived, Claire from the UCR admissions team helped me get settled in and IT set up my Wi-Fi right away.

The safeguarding staff on the night shift also popped in to check on me as they could see me sitting in the kitchen at 3am with jet lag. They were super welcoming and brought me a bunch of snacks and sandwiches to help me out before I could go to the store the next day. Other students from the fresher’s team had also moved in early and showed me around campus and offered me rides to the store and we became immediate friends; having a group of friends was everything and it really made me feel at home.

I enjoy studying at University Centre Reaseheath because I get a much more personal experience than I would at a bigger university. All my lecturers know me by name, and you get to know everyone on campus quickly. I can go up to any member of staff, and they’ll know me and be able to help with whatever I am having trouble with. Let’s be honest, moving to another country during a pandemic is hard, so having a good support network is essential!

There’s a strong community of super weird people (I genuinely mean that in a good way!) so there’s always something going on around campus. I am also in a few societies which do a whole variety of things at the zoo and around campus so there are lots of opportunities for unique activities. One of the things I enjoy most right now is whipping up some dinner with my housemates and hanging out with the other international students.

I also love going into Nantwich as it is a super cute little town really close to campus. My favourite part of the town is the market every Saturday; farmers’ stands have the best fresh produce and the vibe reminds me a lot of home. It’s also quite easy to take the train so exploring Chester and Manchester has been a nice break from classes on some weekends. (Slight side note here, but this is when I discovered that McDonalds is way better in the UK!)

UCR provides a unique and exciting university experience for international students studying abroad and I would absolutely recommend looking into it.

My advice would be to just think about what you’re getting yourself into. I don’t mean that to be scary at all! It’s just the truth. Moving to another country (and for me literally across the world) is a huge deal and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But it’s also the most rewarding and mind-expanding experience of my life. The skills I have gained, even from just a few months here, will stick with me for life and change my future for the better.

I have also gained lifelong friendships and have had an extraordinary opportunity to see the world in a way I wouldn’t have ever had before.

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy too, I hope to see you at UCR soon!