Blog post

Moving from Lithuania to Derby: My experience as an international student

Zoology student, Iveta Nikandrovaite, describes how she found fitting in at Derby after moving from Lithuania to study at the University of Derby. 

By Iveta Nikandrovaite - 30 November 2020

I had always wanted to study in the UK because it has a high-quality education reputation and in Lithuania, there were not any courses that took my interest.

I felt Derby had a very good zoology course with a placement year and fieldwork opportunities that caught my eye. I chose to study at The University of Derby because it offers career support and internship and placement opportunities throughout your studies.

Derby provides amazing support for international students and Derby city itself is central within the UK which means it’s very easy to travel to other destinations.

Getting to know the city

Before coming to Derby, I was nervous, anxious, and scared but at the same time, I was excited to start something new. I was especially concerned that I wouldn’t fit in or find any friends, also I was quite nervous about studying in a different language.

When I arrived, I was excited and ready to explore every part of it. After spending a few days exploring I felt more at ease and way more comfortable. After my first week, I realised how friendly and welcoming everyone is and I easily made new friends. We were all in the same boat being here for the first time, not knowing where to go so that made everyone get closer. I had many opportunities to make friends and I took advantage of that.

Asking questions

My worries about lectures were gone when I attended my very first session and I became confident again in myself. During the lectures I was paying attention and taking notes, and if I didn’t understand something my friends happily explained everything. I realised that I shouldn’t be scared to ask questions and get all my problems resolved. My lecturers are always happy to help me which made me feel at ease.

At the moment, we are learning through a blended approach and I’m finding it okay, although there are days where I find that I’m more productive on campus. Currently, my schedule is four hours of online learning and three hours on campus.

Settling in fast

I have settled in fast and have fully adapted in around two months. The main reason why I settled in so quickly was that I wasn’t afraid to explore, ask questions and make new friends. I knew that everyone was willing to help and that the University would always support me at every stage of my journey, this made me feel comfortable living here.

Being able to study in a different country is an amazing opportunity and I’m grateful for that. However, in the current situation (the Covid-19 pandemic), at times I find that I get a bit homesick but then I Facetime with my friends and family which makes me feel better and more positive.

Living with friends

I live in private accommodation with my other Lithuanian friends. We found a beautiful four-bedroom house and we are happy with it. To pass the time, my friends and I usually go to town for some shopping or for a cup of coffee, occasionally we go to Markeaton park for a picnic or just to have a nice walk there. Sometimes we go out for the day in Nottingham and go for nights out here in Derby. During the lockdown periods, we went to the park and chilled in the house with cups of tea, and just spent time chatting.

What’s next

My plans after finishing university are to stay and work here in England, potentially as a research assistant in London. After a couple of years of working there and gaining experience, I plan to move to another country.
My advice for international students, before coming to the UK, is to be open-minded and brave.

Being an international student is an amazing opportunity and you should take advantage of every opportunity that is given to you, make the most of it, and don’t be scared. Explore the UK and try to make new connections, everyone here is friendly and always happy to help you. 

About the author

Iveta Nikandrovaite standing outside, smiling.

Iveta Nikandrovaite
Zoology student

Iveta is a Zoology student from Klaipeda, Lithuania. During her free time, she enjoys drawing, cooking, baking, going out for a nice walk in town or park with my friends. She loves travelling and travels almost every week in the UK.