This week I asked an international student to tell me what recomendations would he give to others that are thinking of coming to Pamplona. He is from Ecuador, he is in his second year in the International Relationships career and here is what he got to say:
First of all: “You have to be sure you are ready for being apart from your family.” Here all you have are the friends you make. If you are really attached to your family you have to think twice if you are ready to live by yourself and start an independent life while you are studying. This could have repercussions on your studies, so you may want to give it a second thought.
Second: “You have to be prepared for the culture shock.” If you come from a big city this might not be a problem for you, but maybe for others it is. You have to know that there are many international students from all over the world from countries in which traditions are far away different from what you know.
Third: “Try to be friends with someone who has already been here” or maybe just someone who knows how things work around Pamplona. But if you are too shy, don´t worry. In this case I recommend you to try and go to live in a piso tutelado or a Colegio Mayor in this places you´ll have people that can help you and give you information about anything.
Fourth: “Depending on the place you live there, you can find stores and drugstores nearby.” You can walk around the place to know where evrything is. “I also recommend trying to walk from the place you live to the university”, it will help you to know where things are at once. If you are not sure about walking all alone in the first days here, then Google maps is really useful too.
Fifth: “Don´t get frustrated if things go wrong or if you don´t know what to do, you´ll learn everything over time.” There´s always people who will support you, if you need help all you have to do is ask for it. That´s why is really important that you choose wisely the place you want to live in. This takes us to point number six.
Sixth: “Investigate a lot to know where you are going to live.” This takes a lot of time, but you should invest all the time you need into it because is the place in which you´ll spend most of your day in. I recommend that the first year you opt to live in a Colegio Mayor or in a piso tutelado; there are a lot of international students there who are facing the same situation that you are. Also there´s always people who are going to help you in what you need.
Seventh: “Get prepared to get out from your comfort zone.” This might be scary, you might not be really sure about what you are doing and sometimes you might even want to go home. But always remember the reasons that got you here in the first place and remember that there are other people who are facing the same that you are. Just keep going and know that this is a unique experience. Also have fun and don´t worry, the first year is the toughest, it gets better over time.