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What's it like to travel to the UK to study during a pandemic?

Stevie Colston | Event Manager

Hey Rawan! We’re so pleased you chose IconInc as your new home, where is home outside of University for you?
Hey Stevie, I’m so stoked to have IconInc as my new home. I was born and bred in New Zealand!

What are you studying and at which University?
I’m studying Medicine at University of Liverpool.

How did you feel about coming overseas to study? Do you think your feelings were different due to the pandemic compared to if you’d have come during 'normal times'?
It’s always been my dream to go to the UK to study medicine, just coming from a little country like New Zealand – which has so many connections with this country it just felt like this was something I had to do!

I was a bit apprehensive at first with the pandemic, it was kind of weird being told that you’re going to come at the same time, with no deferring or delay, or even online study. The university said it would be going ahead which was quite a scary thought as I came from a country that has been really strict with its approach to the pandemic, however I was still so excited to get on that plane and come to the UK!

How did you decide what university you’d be going to and how did you find IconInc once you’d chosen a university?
I applied to quite a few universities initially, but when I got an offer for the University of Liverpool, I did some more research on the city. Liverpool seemed like my type of place, so I accepted! With awesome nightlife, lots to see yet very humble and great awesome people – so I thought it would be the best shot for me and most similar to home. I actually found IconInc via Google! UOL gave me quite a few options for university accommodation but none of them really fit me as I’m not a first year student who wants to live in first year halls, nor am I the sort of person who would want to live completely isolated by myself. I searched for student accommodation in Liverpool and Iconinc was one of the first to pop up! I clicked on the link and it almost seemed too good to be true!

Tell us about your experience leaving home during the pandemic, were your parents worried? How did you find the travelling?
Leaving home during the pandemic was quite stressful, little things like paperwork, finding flights, having to travel so far from New Zealand to Liverpool with different stops and each country having its own pandemic rules was quite tough. However, I think it was all worth it once I reached here! My parents were definitely worried, but they were happy for me to pursue my dream so we had to hope everything would be ok, and it was!

Did you need to quarantine upon arrival to the UK? How did you find it if so?
I did, as I stopped in Abu Dhabi (only for 2 hours!) on the way I had to isolate for 2 weeks. Quarantine was so easy once I got here, the staff at The Ascent were phenomenal (specifically Jacob) telling me a week before I arrived how I can order things and having it ready in my room on arrival. They brought breakfast to my door each morning, my food deliveries came straight up and even my furniture orders! They made me feel right at home. It was so so easy, the only thing that was difficult was not being able to go downstairs and meet the other new people for the first time.

How are you finding living at The Ascent? I absolutely adored it; I feel so lucky every day I live here. This place is like a dream, not just because of the services but because of the staff and the people. Firstly, I have to emphasise how wonderful the staff here are. They are so caring, they bring a smile to your face, they always have a positive attitude to come home to. Coming home from the hospital after a long day it’s really nice to see their faces. Then the services, from the breakfast every day to the vegetable day to the events – it’s been so easy to find friends because of the building!

What’s your favourite thing about living with us? It’s probably the facilities, one as they bring everyone together and secondly as they make my life so much easier! I really enjoy making the most of what I’ve got and Iconinc makes it so easy to do.

If you could add one thing to make IconInc even better, what would that be? This is such a tough one, there’s literally not much else you can add… actually having a puppy here would be fantastic but I know that would be quite difficult! (Watch this space Rawan, we’ll have our pet therapy back as soon as the guidelines permit!)

How are you feeling about the current restrictions in the UK? How do they affect you as a student? I look at it like everyone in the world has current restrictions because of Covid 19, and it’s always disheartening to know like I can’t go on a night out or things like that, but the building has made such an effort to keep us involved in things in our own bubble. I haven’t felt too left out because of the pandemic so I’m just waiting till all is well to get back to as things were before!

What do you do to relax and keep your mental health well during the pandemic? I’m a firm believer in routine and exercise, although I don’t exercise everyday if I’m feeling a bit down the dumps I do try to get out for a run, do a home workout or use the gym at Iconinc. As I said I like to have a routine too and have realistic day goals set out and give my time to do things like cook a meal for myself or clean my apartment. Just look after myself essentially, the more we look after ourselves the better we feel!

Would you recommend for other students to still consider travelling to the UK for studies during the pandemic? If so, what one piece of advice would you give them? Of course I would! I would tell anyone who has the opportunity to come to the UK to still come! You are basically living the in hustle and bustle of the world and it’s a fantastic opportunity to leave home, gain massive independence and come to the UK to study – what more could you want. My advice is to be confident, do it and put yourself out there, everyone wants to be friends with each other. Go out there introduce yourself and make friends, you really won’t regret it!!

Thanks Rawan!! It's been so great to hear about your experience, you've certainly become a firm favourite within our Ascent community! If you're considering coming to the UK study like Rawan, our friendly sales team can help you begin your journey! Click 'Reserve Now' to view our availability or contact enquiries@iconinc.co.uk with any questions you may have.

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