The Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) is an organisation for postgraduate students (Masters and PhD students) that arranges activities. It also provides support in students’ academic and well-being.
As a postgraduate student, I have been involved in different kinds of activities, ranging from welcome week events, parties and trips. I have met a lot of new friends and always have a lot of fun. This is my experience as an international student.
GSA trip to The Holy Island
The GSA organises trips for postgraduate students at a very low price at different times of the year. I have been on the short trips to Harrogate and Knaresborough in the welcome week, to Whitby, and also the long trips to Liverpool and Oxford.
Among all the trips that the GSA has organised, I really enjoyed the trip to The Holy Island. The Holy Island is an island near Newcastle. It’s really interesting because the road to the island is covered twice a day by the North Sea. Therefore, it is not that easy if you want to travel there without your own car. Luckily, the GSA organised the trip so that students that couldn’t drive could still visit. My friends and I visited the castle, church and abbey. We also took a stroll by the sea. I would never have known that there was such a beautiful island in the UK if the GSA hadn’t have organised this trip.
The GSA Christmas gathering
Another event which I really enjoyed was the GSA Christmas gathering. Christmas involves gathering with family and friends; so international students may get a bit lonely at Christmas. Their parents and friends are overseas and most of their UK friends go back home over the festive period.
The GSA Christmas gathering provides a good opportunity for postgraduate students to gather, chat and relax. I have met a lot of new friends from different backgrounds and countries through the gathering. I got to know them quite well, and it was great to meet people who were in a similar situation to myself. This event truly provides a good chance for students to meet new friends from different backgrounds. You also get a sense of what Christmas feels like in the UK and how people celebrate Christmas here.
Welcome Week events
There are a lot of events in Welcome Week including trips away, cosy night, retro night, sports sessions and Ceilidh.
The Welcome Ceilidh was definitely my favourite. It provides an opportunity for individuals to chat with others through dancing. It’s OK if you are not attending with friends because you are going to meet and dance with different people! The teachers demonstrated how to dance and everyone in the Ceilidh gets the chance to dance (in a big circle). I feel really grateful that I took part in such a fun activity. If you don’t know what do you want to join in the Welcome Week, I definitely recommend Ceilidh. It’s an experience that you will never forget.