Often students arrive at Oxford English Academy on their first day looking slightly apprehensive, nervous and downright lonely! We of course immediately reassure them that they are in the right place and have nothing to worry about. We treat our students like family from the time they start at the school until…well… forever in fact!

For some students the transition from home life to their new lives here is easier than others. One can normally spot a seasoned traveller by their approach to their surroundings. So how do you make the best of your time abroad? How do you take on this new life and world you are being exposed to without feeling overwhelmed?

Firstly I would say you need to keep your mind open, very open! You need to almost be happy to forget all you know and be open to experience everything that this adventure is going to throw at you. Try not to compare where you come from to where you are. Do not expect the people, the food, the houses, the atmosphere, the smells or anything to be remotely the same as back home. Cherish the differences as well as the similarities you may find.

Try doing things you would never have considered doing back home. Be it something small like trying a new local dish or something a little more extreme like bungee jumping or shark cage diving, open yourself up to new experiences.

Question, question what you know, question what you are learning, question everything and do not be afraid of the answers you will find.

Listen as well. Listen to and remember the advice you received before you left home. Listen to what everyone around you in your new environment has to say. Listen to your fellow students and other travellers’ stories. You will hear unbelievable tales and probably have a good laugh as well.

Don’t be afraid! I always remind myself when I’m faced with a daunting situation that everyone is human. We are in essence all the same and we all have fears and insecurities.

One of the best ways to feel at home fast is by making friends so join our Social Programme from day one. Having fun together is a sure way of bonding with someone and learning to get to know other people.

Soon you will find yourself telling stories of your own to an even newer addition to the group, assuring him or her of the little things that may have irked you at the start. If you have started this journey you are after all a brave soul so remember that at all times.