Worried About Accommodation?
It is very common for new students to feel nervous, especially when travelling overseas for the first time. Common concerns include worrying about adapting to new cultures (how will I cope when everything is so strange?), language level (how can I communicate when my English is not very good?) or worrying about having enough money (London is expensive! How will I survive?).
In 2015, 41% of students travelling to the UK were nervous about their accommodation before they came to the UK. After these students arrived in the UK, this figure had dropped to 15%, showing that the fears and worries of students quickly disappear once the students arrive and get settled into their accommodation.
We all have fears. We all have things which make us nervous. In an American study last year, 86% of adults and 91% of children all admitted they were afraid of something. Even people who appear to be courageous and without fear will have some issue they will struggle with. Being nervous about coming to a new place, and being nervous about the type of accommodation you’re going to live in, is more common than you think. You’re not alone!
So what happens if you get very nervous before you come to London? What can you do to help with these feelings? Usually, therapists will advise to build yourself up to facing a fear. Taking baby-steps is a good way to get to know and experience your fear. But travelling to somewhere new and arriving at new accommodation doesn’t allow for baby-steps. Instead you are thrown directly into a situation. So, what can you do?
First of all, let’s take a look at your fear. The fear of the unknown is one of the most common fears of all. We all get slightly nervous when we’re about to start something new but most of us overcome these fears. The way you think about a situation can definitely help your feelings. If you spend your time thinking negatively about something then you will have probably have a negative experience. Before you come to London, if you’re thinking ‘the accommodation the school offers me is going to be awful’ or ‘English houses are strange and I don’t think I’m going to like them’ then you will make your brain already think negatively about them.
By thinking positive and realistic thoughts, (not unrealistic thoughts like ‘it’s going to be GREAT!’ or ‘the house I’m going to live in will be like Buckingham Palace!’) you can help yourself before you arrive. Thoughts like ‘London is a great city with many types of accommodation and I’m sure the school has selected the best for me’ can help you to allay any fears you might have in advance. Try to make your dominant thoughts positive ones and half the battle is won!
It’s worth bearing in mind that our accommodation is chosen very carefully and is of a high standard. If one of our students is unhappy with their accommodation we are usually able to change it so with this in mind, what is the worst that could happen? Let’s think about this. If you fear that you will hate the accommodation when you arrive, and then when you arrive you really DO hate it, we can change it for you. Problem solved! Fears allayed. Remember: you’re not trapped in the accommodation we provide for you. The worst that could happen is that you may have to spend one or two days in an accommodation before moving to a different accommodation. You will not have to stay there for the whole of your course.
The most powerful thing you can tell yourself though is ‘whatever happens, I’ll be able to cope with it’ and this is true! We might think we could never cope if something terrible happens and then often amaze ourselves when we do.
Don’t listen to your fears! Think of times in your life when you have succeeded at something to remind you of your strength. Family and friends are good to talk to (unless they’re very negative, of course!). Look at evidence that contradicts your fears (fears are very emotional and don’t have a lot of basis in reality) or look at inspirational people and see how they dealt with their fears: J K Rowling and Steve Jobs both were nervous about their beliefs but followed their hearts, ignored their fears and look at what they achieved.
Fear can hold us back and keep us trapped in negative thinking. With positive, realistic thoughts and the belief that you will be able to cope with anything life throws at you, ANYTHING becomes possible, even coming to London for your English language adventure!
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