female student with long brown hair stands next to a brick wall

Rossy from the Dominican Republic talks about how she got involved with the University community and why she chose Portsmouth - International Student's Day 2022

4 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.

Rossy, a Master’s student in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from the Dominican Republic talks about how she got involved with the University community and why she chose Portsmouth. 

What made you choose Portsmouth?

I am a scholarship student, so I had to choose from the list of programmes in the countries that were linked. But I knew that I wanted to live abroad again after my gap year in Taiwan. I did my undergrad at home in Industrial Engineering and I always wanted to come to the UK. When I saw Portsmouth had my course, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, it was a no brainer. I looked at pictures and it looked different to other places in the UK. I come from an Island, so I am very close to the sea and the city is close to the sea so it didn’t take much time to make the decision.  I applied and thankfully I got the scholarship and I am here now. There’s no other city I would want to live in other than Portsmouth in the UK.

What was it like moving away from home (again)?

When I arrived, there was a bit of a mix-up with my room but luckily the staff were really helpful. They gave me a room that I was meant to stay in for that one night and it ended up being my permanent room so that is great. After I was here for a week I felt like I had been here for three, four months which was impressive. I don’t know if it was because of my experience living in Taiwan when I was just 18  – I adjusted to Portsmouth really quickly. The open campus made it easier to meet new people and the buildings are only a short walk so that made it easy too. Even when it is cold the feel of the city is warm. 

What made you feel a part of the University Community?

The University made me feel welcome. There was no time that I had a question that was not answered. And even if the person didn’t know, they would help me find someone who did. 

In my second week, I joined the Global Café – I saw it on a website and went along. I met new friends, and people that I still talk to – specifically Tony from China and Simon from Malaysia. We hang out and speak Chinese all the time. That cultural connection is great.  

I also applied to be an international student ambassador and was successful. I was so excited – as an ambassador, you are trained to do campus and city tours. It was fantastic and it made me adapt to being here and find out more very quickly. 

This year I am going to be a course representative for my programme. I am so excited. My course leader approached me and encouraged me to become a course representative. I didn’t really know what it was but started to read about it – you are basically the link between your course mates and the University - you need to gather feedback from students related to the course and help make sure everyone’s voice is heard. I saw it as an opportunity to help people so I am really looking forward to being able to contribute. 

What are you most proud of so far?

There was a test – it was 50% of the whole module. After the exam our teacher sent an email with the grade range for the test and I saw the top grade and was like wow – that’s great. This was before we knew our individual marks. When we were sent the result, I realised the highest grade was mine, I was so excited.  I told my family and friends back home because I was proud. 

The education system is different from back home so that can be a little challenging.  It made my achievement even better as I had to adapt to all of that too. 

Have you faced any other challenges?

It has been great honestly, but the weather has been a challenge. I don’t mind if it rains, and I don’t mind if it is cold but when it is windy – that is the biggest challenge. I arrived in winter so had to get used to it – I think once you have the right clothes to wear, it is fine. But in the beginning, it was a challenge. 

Portsmouth does have a lot of sun compared to other places though. I am from the Caribbean, and it does get sunny here too – I love it. 

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

Compare the prices in the food shops so you can find the best deals and budget better. I am good with money management but when I arrived, I just headed for the first supermarket rather than shopping around. Even if you don’t feel like it when you arrive - make sure you look around and compare prices so you can save money from the start. 

What is the importance of an internationally diverse student community?

It is important to have people from outside of the country at university. It is about globalisation. Every culture has their norms but when you bring people together they bring their own norms and it expands your mind. It makes you see things from a different perspective and helps you open your eyes. It shows you that your way is not the only way, and that there’s so much you can learn about the beauty of different cultures.