A day in the life of an international student

It’s International Students’ Day, so I thought it would be fun to show you what one of my typical days is like so you can get a sense of what to expect as an international student in Exeter.

About me

In case you haven’t read my profile, let me dedicate a few lines to introduce myself. I’m Niki, 21, from Hungary, a second-year undergraduate at the beautiful Streatham Campus. After having changed my course 1… 2… 3 times (that’s right!), I’m now on track to get a degree title of something like ’Sustainability with French with Work Experience Abroad’. I feel that I really did find my passion in this course and I absolutely love my modules. I’m the Social Secretary of the Hungarian Society and I was part of the International Welcome Team this year, so you might have bumped into me in my bright pink T-shirt throughout Freshers’ Week. I’ve recently got the role of International Social Media Assistant at the University, which I’m incredibly excited about.

A Day in the Life


Alarm and quiet moaning about having to get up. It’s Tuesday. This is my favourite day, as I only have one seminar at 10:30 and it’s the best one of all! I’m actually the kind of person who usually wakes up a few minutes before the alarm goes off and gets up without using the snooze button. However, I volunteered at a conference in London the previous day and since I got back around midnight and was knackered, I had been sleeping like a baby and did not feel like getting up.

My morning routine:

Freshening up: I usually take a shower in the evening so I can save some time in the morning. I wash my face, brush my hair, change my clothes and head to the kitchen to make some breakfast. I’d come home for lunch today but when I stay on campus, I pack a sandwich or wrap and a healthy snack such as a fruit or cereal bar to keep me going throughout the day.

Breakfast: THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY. I have to be honest here and admit that I don’t usually have the time or energy in the morning to prepare a meal that I can eat with a knife and fork. 90% of the time my breakfast is porridge with cottage cheese (I do love porridge!) but from time to time I like to have a more nutritious meal. Today my choice was chickpea pancake with crunchy salad, tomatoes and mozzarella. It’s incredibly quick and easy, and contains all the essential nutrients that you need. I like to take my time and catch up on the news while eating, rather than rushing off without chewing my food.

Coffee: THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY. I got a Nespresso coffee machine for my 20th birthday and I just couldn’t possibly live without it. Yes, I am a coffee addict.

Make-up and what to wear crisis: I like to feel comfortable in my clothes throughout the day and I have to confess that I tend to be late from lectures because of last-minute outfit changes.


Time to leave. My beloved seminar (FCH2000 Communicating Global Issues in a Changing World) takes place in the Forum, only a 5-minute bike ride or a 15-minute walk from my home. I’ve recently bought a road bike, which I absolutely love, though I’ve just had a puncture and I haven’t changed the inner tube yet. That’s on my to-do list for this afternoon.


As ever, the class was great. In each seminar, two students present on a subject of their choice and we have a short discussion about it afterwards. The two presentations were about ‘Entitlement vs. responsibilities’ and ‘Plant-based vs. meat-based diet’. It was super-interesting! Also, we agreed with our module leader that we’d have a third hour of class every week so we can cover more topics. I’ve never been so happy about having an extra hour! 😊


Let’s earn some extra cash! I was heading to the Feele Lab where I’d take part in a paid experiment. This is a great way to earn some extra money and the experiments are actually really interesting as well. It usually lasts around 30-60 minutes and participants are placed in a situation where they have to make decisions that may have economic consequences. Students from any degree background are welcome to take part and it doesn’t require any special knowledge. Depending on your decisions, those of others, and a bit of good fortune, you may receive a cash reward of 5-15 pounds. Not a bad deal for an hour of your day, is it?

You can read more about it and register on their project website.


After getting home 15 pounds richer, it’s time to get some lunch. I love to cook but between polishing my cover letter and researching for my essay, I don’t have time to make big fancy meals. I’m a real veggie fan and I love to make my plate as colourful as possible. If I want a quick lunch, I make a couscous salad. Vegetables, fruits, mixed leaves, eggs, feta, mozzarella – whatever I fancy! Today I went for couscous mixed with baby spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and feta. Yummy!

The rest of the afternoon:

Let’s crack on with those feared job applications! I had applied for two placements so far and I was working on my CV and cover letter for a Sustainability & CSR placement at Samsung. I always get very excited about the different positions I apply for and probably drive my flatmate crazy with my over-enthusiasm. I also have a deadline coming up next Tuesday, so I’d better get started with my research. I usually stay on campus because I can focus better there but today I stayed at home. I don’t like to be surrounded by absolute silence; my preferred study spaces on campus are DH1 (the sofas and chairs by Comida are so comfy!) and the group study rooms in the library. DH1 tends to be noisy during lunchtime but I don’t mind, I listen to music anyway. I love the vibe of the place but if you’ve ever been there, you know that it’s impossible to find space at peak times.

As the afternoon progressed, I managed to finish my application and sent it to my friend for proof-reading. I needed a little break so I watched some Ellen Show videos and chatted with my flatmate. He also offered me to help with changing the inner tube of my bicycle, which I really appreciated, as I couldn’t have done it without him!


Time to take on those bowling shoes. We had a bowling social with the Hungarian Society at Tenpin. It was great to take a break, it’s been a long time since I had a proper evening out. As Social Sec I have to make sure that everything runs smoothly but since we’re not a big society, there’s not much pressure and I can always enjoy the social to the fullest. We played one game and I didn’t finish last, which is a big achievement. We then stayed for a bit to have some drinks and chat. It was lovely to catch up with my friends and I really look forward to our next social, which will be the end-of-term Christmas dinner. I was happy that I didn’t stay out too late so I could get a good night sleep.

   November 17th, 2017    International, Life on Campus, Studying, Undergraduate

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