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Chenai from Zimbabwe, BSc Financial Economics with Accounting

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Chenai Isabell Tsorayi, 22, from Zimbabwe
Financial Economics with Accounting BSc (Hons) from Swansea University in Wales

"The UK experience summarised in one word? I’d say ‘exposure’. People tell you that coming to study in the UK is worth it. To be honest, I don’t think one can sell the UK experience enough! You are guaranteed cities full of tonnes to see and do, a superb social life and a good educational background that has the potential to open doors for your career internationally.

But (yes, there is a ‘but’) the UK experience can only be what you make it. The UK presented me with so many new growth opportunities and my only regret is that I wish I had been more prepared to embrace all that the UK had to offer.

Thinking of studying in the UK? If you come from a background similar to mine – young, Zimbabwean female – my list of ‘Must do!’ experiences may prove priceless. These may seem pretty basic to most people, but for me proved to be a learning curve.

  • Plan ahead. Try to have at least a two-year plan in your head. Yes, like all students you don’t really know what you want to do with the rest of your life yet. Don’t panic. It’s a good thing to plan ahead – in the UK, there are early job application start dates and early deadlines, so you can’t just wake up and assume you can get what you want. Planning ahead and getting the information early can give you planning time and avoid missed opportunities. This leads to my next point…

  • Work internships. If you want to get ahead, get one. This is where you work for a company during your summer holiday, mainly in your second year summer vacation. Even if you are not sure of your career path, somewhere in your first year of fun, make time to put in a few applications and secure a place. Don’t leave it to the last minute!

  • Make your personal tutor, university career advisors and international student advisors your best friends. Go and visit them whenever you are uncertain about anything, and get guidance. They will point you in the right direction. Most of the time, and I repeat most, asking your fellow international student buddies will result in the blind leading the blind.

  • Get involved. Join a sports club or a society as soon as you settle in. A degree, no matter how good the grade, is no longer enough. The job market is fierce and if you want in, get involved early. Find something you like doing and do it. Also, being involved will improve your social life significantly and ultimately, ‘the UK experience’.

  • Travel. Whenever you can, go to other cities or countries. We have a Zimbabwean proverb that says ‘Chitsva chiri mutsoka’. Translated, it states ‘you learn new things in moving your feet’. Every new territory you enter presents new growth opportunities.

So, what’s the conclusion? The world is your oyster. Get in! The UK experience is worth it!"

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