Moving to a new place, especially a large, intimidating city, can be a daunting experience. In time, you will come to consider it as your home from home, but in the beginning, you are likely to feel a little disorientated.
The first important thing to remember is that you are moving in on people’s year-round territory. During the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays, locals continue to live in their own space. This might seem an obvious point to make, but it can be lost on many students who lack a basic respect for their new environment.
There is not a single town in the UK where further or higher education is the sole focal point of its existence and nothing will rile a local more than young upstarts who think they own the place.
University and college life can develop into a very sheltered existence. Some students may live in a town for three years without really making it out of the confines of their campus or union bar. This is, of course, a personal choice, but for those who are willing to venture out, the rewards can be enriching.
Immersing yourself in the local community will add an extra diversity to your social life. It’s good to have somewhere different to go out on a Friday or Saturday night, whether it’s a favourite curry house or a backstreet pub.
This is not to say that you should dive headlong into the unknown. It will be natural and quite correct to stick to the safety of your college or university until you have settled in. Familiarise yourself with your new surroundings slowly. Buy a map, stick to the main roads, use local transport and avoid walking anywhere alone at night.
Above all, show respect for your new community and try and prove to the local population that not all students are beer-swilling kebab-guzzling traffic cone thieves!