Stumble Around - Challenges of Being an International Student
Anniken Jervell
CampusTales Contributor
University of St Andrews
May 18th, 2017


Let’s do a ‘foreign-barrier’/’honest-talk’ post here; I hope you will make it to the end! :)

Do I ever wonder what I am doing here?! All.the.time. I am surrounded by co-students, researchers and a brilliant team of professors and staff who never stop to amaze me with their intellect and quality of reasoning. Its really inspiring and help me push my boundaries, beliefs and level of learning. Its also somewhat intimidating at times because I think it is hard to match their game of formulating readings and drawing upon notions from lectures etc. Heard about language barriers? Yeah, they´re a big part of what I’m talking about right now.
Do I ever wonder what I am doing here?! All. The. Time.
I feel like I am always walking around with a limp having the disadvantage of English not being my mother tongue. The readings take longer time completing, as goes for writing. Speaking up in class always gives me a bloody pumping heart and red cheeks. And its kind of an unavoidable action (and expectation from the teacher) recon every class only consist of 8-10 students… So yeah, pretty intimate! I’m afraid I’ll mess up or not rephrase it correctly. Being too informal, not getting the academic wording right. You get the picture.. There is a huge difference in having a casual conversation with friends where the setting is informal versus grasping the academic tone and content in a formal one.


Our beautiful campus!



But don’t get me wrong. I’m outgoing and outspoken, I like to engage and I want to engage. I just wish I could do it in Norwegian sometimes because, naturally, its pretty comfortable. Sometimes I walk out of a tutorial almost exhausted even though I may not have engaged in the debates or said anything I think is truly interesting for others to pay attention to; I have ten thousand thoughts and things I want to say – I just can’t phrase it properly! Haha, it may sound bizarre or sad but honestly its just frustrating. I’ve been told I need to get over myself and just get it out there. And they’re right. How scary can it be? I kind of like to stumble around actually. At least I try to embrace it all the very best I can. It not kindergarten anymore – nor high school for that matter! The level of engagement and quality of reasoning – even the standards for where and what the debates in class are constructed upon are really something different. It’s a b.i.g. step up from high school (that goes primarily to Norway as I’ve only followed this school system before graduating). And honestly, the more I talk in class, the less scary it gets and the better I am at articulating my thoughts etc. How cliché it might sound… practice makes master peps!

Now teaching is over for this semester – I can’t believe 11 weeks of tutorials and lectures have gone by already… Those weeks have been packed with new (learning) experiences and a good amount of fun too. All of that coming up on my next post!


One of the perks of studying at St Andrews - we're literally ON the beach!



But the message I want to deliver in this post is that, as a foreign student, its okay not be confident and feel like you’re stumbling around a little. Everyone has different challenges; it might be language barriers; it might be style of teaching; it might be assignment; it might even be getting yourself out of the lab and dear to dance a little and drink a little mid-week! It could be anything. Although I am a second year student now and I feel more confident in several arenas, there are still (new) challenges saying hello and greeting you on a regular basis. And its okay! How to deal with them is much more interesting than just being afraid of them. Take advantage of those around you and ask for help – say it out loud! The thought of it is much more exhausting than the actual act… Because in the end, what’s the progress in locking your thoughts and engagement up in your head? It’s much more fun to get it out there and see how goes!

Wish you all a great weekend!!
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Stumble Around - Challenges of Being an International Student
Anniken Jervell
CampusTales Contributor
University of St Andrews
August 4th, 2017
Let’s do a ‘foreign-barrier’/’honest-talk’ post here; I hope you will make it to the end! :)

Do I ever wonder what I am doing here?! All.the.time. I am surrounded by co-students, researchers and a brilliant team of professors and staff who never stop to amaze me with their intellect and quality of reasoning. Its really inspiring and help me push my boundaries, beliefs and level of learning. Its also somewhat intimidating at times because I think it is hard to match their game of formulating readings and drawing upon notions from lectures etc. Heard about language barriers? Yeah, they´re a big part of what I’m talking about right now.
Do I ever wonder what I am doing here?! All. The. Time.
I feel like I am always walking around with a limp having the disadvantage of English not being my mother tongue. The readings take longer time completing, as goes for writing. Speaking up in class always gives me a bloody pumping heart and red cheeks. And its kind of an unavoidable action (and expectation from the teacher) recon every class only consist of 8-10 students… So yeah, pretty intimate! I’m afraid I’ll mess up or not rephrase it correctly. Being too informal, not getting the academic wording right. You get the picture.. There is a huge difference in having a casual conversation with friends where the setting is informal versus grasping the academic tone and content in a formal one.


Our beautiful campus!

But don’t get me wrong. I’m outgoing and outspoken, I like to engage and I want to engage. I just wish I could do it in Norwegian sometimes because, naturally, its pretty comfortable. Sometimes I walk out of a tutorial almost exhausted even though I may not have engaged in the debates or said anything I think is truly interesting for others to pay attention to; I have ten thousand thoughts and things I want to say – I just can’t phrase it properly! Haha, it may sound bizarre or sad but honestly its just frustrating. I’ve been told I need to get over myself and just get it out there. And they’re right. How scary can it be? I kind of like to stumble around actually. At least I try to embrace it all the very best I can. It not kindergarten anymore – nor high school for that matter! The level of engagement and quality of reasoning – even the standards for where and what the debates in class are constructed upon are really something different. It’s a b.i.g. step up from high school (that goes primarily to Norway as I’ve only followed this school system before graduating). And honestly, the more I talk in class, the less scary it gets and the better I am at articulating my thoughts etc. How cliché it might sound… practice makes master peps!

Now teaching is over for this semester – I can’t believe 11 weeks of tutorials and lectures have gone by already… Those weeks have been packed with new (learning) experiences and a good amount of fun too. All of that coming up on my next post!


One of the perks of studying at St Andrews - we're literally ON the beach!

But the message I want to deliver in this post is that, as a foreign student, its okay not be confident and feel like you’re stumbling around a little. Everyone has different challenges; it might be language barriers; it might be style of teaching; it might be assignment; it might even be getting yourself out of the lab and dear to dance a little and drink a little mid-week! It could be anything. Although I am a second year student now and I feel more confident in several arenas, there are still (new) challenges saying hello and greeting you on a regular basis. And its okay! How to deal with them is much more interesting than just being afraid of them. Take advantage of those around you and ask for help – say it out loud! The thought of it is much more exhausting than the actual act… Because in the end, what’s the progress in locking your thoughts and engagement up in your head? It’s much more fun to get it out there and see how goes!

Wish you all a great weekend!!
Are you curious to learn more about university life?
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