male student wearing glasses stood in front of Ravelin Gym

Hisham from Malaysia talks about what it is like to move thousands of kilometres from home - International Student's Day 2022

3 min read

International Students’ Day is an opportunity to celebrate our awesome international student community. This year we share five stories from our students about their experiences so far. 

Hisham, a second-year Biomedical Science student from Malaysia talks about what it is like to move thousands of kilometres from home. 

What made you choose Portsmouth?

I knew I wanted to study abroad because it provides more opportunities. I did a bit of research about relevant courses and settled on biomedical science. One of my brother’s friends had recently graduated from Portsmouth and he talked about his experience so it was one of the unis I started looking at in the UK. 

I wanted a city that was not just somewhere I was studying for my degree, but somewhere to build a new life. Education comes from everything in life, everything around you. So where you are physically is also contributing to that. 

I have always been in love with the sea. So that was a huge factor too. Even while I was preparing to come here I kept looking at pictures of Portsmouth and I immediately knew I would enjoy being here. 

What was it like moving away from home?

I have to say that coming here was a very scary experience I was putting myself thousands of kilometres from my home. It was isolating. But I realised that I wasn’t alone – there are other international students that are facing this. We are all going through the same thing. 

I think coming here was good for me because it gave me the opportunity to be independent. I was really living every day for myself, trying to achieve my goals. 

What made you feel a part of the University Community? 

I am part of the Malaysian Society and that has honestly created a solid ground for me here I don’t feel as lost. There are people there that will support me through my years here. I have made friends with people on my course too. 

I think that every student should join a society. It doesn’t matter if you join to make new friends or because your friends are already there – it will assist you on your journey. You can build your network and your soft skills. 

Have you faced any challenges? 

The biggest challenge is dealing with the loneliness and the huge shift being so far away from home. Being at home was the comfort zone. Coming here has pushed my boundaries – that is a challenge. But I am glad that this university has resources that can help with some of this like the Wellbeing Service. The uni really offers a lot of support for students. 

What are you most proud of so far?

I was really proud of my results in my first year. I actually got a first which I didn’t expect. I felt there were a lot of challenges in my first year, living alone, getting used to it here so getting a good result was a blessing and it showed me that I was on track, I am doing OK and that was something to be proud of. 

What advice would you give your younger self before going to university?

Go at your own pace and remember who you are here for. You don’t need to impress anyone else. If you want something go out and get it – get yourself out of your comfort zone.