Here at Essex I’ve met some very ambitious people who inspire me. In my department I always get the feeling of support and I’m striving to be better because of my teachers; they want us to succeed. They love what they do and they’re always positive and willing to support us.
It’s amazing that you can apply to so many things while studying here, and from having no experience at all, get a full-blown CV. Thanks to the volunteering opportunities I was able to try out a few things, like teaching, or being a teaching assistant. I was able to look at different aspects of my degree and how it can help me, even if it’s not directly language-related. I’ve been thinking of translating and interpreting, which is a natural way of using modern languages in a career, but now I’m also considering being a communications officer at a company abroad. I’m thinking of China, where I’m about to go on my year abroad. I’m learning to speak Chinese as a part of my course and I fell in love it. Even if I had a chance to go anywhere else in the world, I would still choose China. My teacher was very enthusiastic about teaching us about her culture, and it was just so exciting to go to her classes and to think that I could live there.
In my first days at Essex I met a girl who said “everyone’s so nice here, we’re like family”, and I laughed because it’s what every university says and it’s very cheesy, but not necessarily true. I was proven wrong because everyone really is nice and always ready to help, and it does feel like family. Everything here is about being a part of a community, learning from each other and respecting each other.
For me, being a Residents' Assistant is about helping other people, especially international students. Finding yourself in a completely different place, without your family, friends, and the surrounding you’re used to, can be a bit shocking. A lot of people require help, they want to be in a place they can call home, have friends and a community they can trust. That’s basically what RAs do. We’re here for students whenever they need us, if they have any mental health issues or just want to talk to someone, or there’s been any issue, we’re there to help. We also organise programmes, so they can learn about each other. For me it’s a reward, because I think I was a bit shocked when I came here for the first time. I didn’t want to admit that, but I needed someone to show me how to live here, and that you can fit in without even trying very hard. That’s basically what RAs do and I want to do that for someone the same way as it was done for me.