One of the best ways to engage more with different cultures, meet new people and forge unbreakable friendships with people from all around the globe is to live in an international student house! Especially in the UK, which is a top destination for higher education worldwide, sharing a house with friends from different countries is a unique opportunity that comes with many perks.
For instance, you will be able to create an international network with valuable contacts. Maybe you want to start a global business with some friends you met at uni? Or you planning to have a trip abroad and visit your friends' homes? The people you meet in an international student house are priceless for a richer experience when traveling and working abroad.
Let me give you an example: In the book "Vagabonding" the American author Rolf Potts argues that one needs to "blend in" before one can truly experience a foreign culture. He therefore proposes to avoid the usual mainstream spots for tourists and encourages his readers to visit the places, pubs, and restaurants that locals visit. He also recommends wearing traditional clothes - in this case from Egypt - in order to gain access to local culture and everyday life. When I asked one of my friends from Cairo if I should visit the city, he simply stated: "If you really want to have a good time, then you should know the right people. I am the right people."
1 You will benefit greatly from interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds. It will expand your personal horizon as well as international network of friends and professional contacts. At one point you will definitely want to visit you friends' home countries. While living in an international student house, all over the year you will experience different traditions, habits and feasts - a mystical charisma will surround your housemates. Trust me, it will make you curious!
2 You will celebrate holidays in different fashions and you will be so surprised by the diversity the world has to offer! Even though you might sometimes feel like you're just a little part of the universe, connecting with all your new friends will make you feel small and big at the same time. It's an amazing feeling!
3 And the last and the most important reason of them all: after learning so much about a new country from your new housemates, you will travel cheaper and see other cultures with different eyes! After I've traveled to more than 6 countries myself I can tell you that instead of taking a really expensive flight from Austria straight to America, you can try Russia to London and then London to America. Most people don't know this, but even if you stay and visit London for a few days, it will still be cheaper than to fly straight to the US. You will pick up a lot of these little tricks through connecting with and visiting your international friends with whom you shared a roof at university.
If you have a really nice story to tell about living in an international student house, leave us a message on our Facebook page that describes your experience and we will share your story in our next article!
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