Current Students Student Contributions

A Home From Home

‘I hated travelling, I never left my house for more than a week – so I went to study nearly 1,000 miles from my home..’  Whether you are a graduate or current student you will love Pawel’s story.

Pawel Gminski.
BA (Hons) Advertising Management and Digital Communications.
2nd year student, who moved to the UK from Osiek, Poland in Sept 2015.

Being a student abroad is quite challenging, but it’s also very rewarding. I decided to leave my country and went to get my university degree outside my comfort zone, and I went for the UK as I thought that my language skills were on a proficient level.

It all started during an IT class in my High School, when one of the staff came into the room and announced that if there are any students that were considering studying abroad – then they should visit one of the offices in the building that had more information. Thinking that I don’t have anything to loose I just went for it – one of most important choices in my life.

In the office there was a group of 10-15 other students also interested in studying abroad and someone who was working for agency that enrolls students from Poland to the UK. After being told about the standards, modern teaching methods and state-of-the-art buildings I decided to visit the Bucks New University campus. I was charmed with what I saw and from there I made my choice – I wanted to go there and make my schools and parents proud.

I hated travelling, I never left my house for more than a week – so I went to study nearly 1,000 miles from my home, visiting my family once every 3 months – sounds like a plan.

After a loud fresher’s week, and through first assignments I was testing my ability to study in a foreign language. Month after month, assignment after assignment, I made it to April-May time when I had to submit my last work and I made it – I had finished my first year.

That year was the biggest change in my life – learning how to cook, doing the laundry, and I got my first job all that while doing a degree in my 2nd language. I finally became independent and entered actual adult life – years 2015-2016 were my biggest development points.

In the beginning of the 2nd year I became a Student Ambassador and I started working with other schools and became some sort of representative for my University. One night I came up with an idea to visit my old schools (one is pictured below) to share the unusual international student experience, to motivate their current students and to show that their graduates have the ability to study in another country.

I asked my colleagues in the Careers and Employability office what would they thought about that idea and asked if I need additional permissions in order to advertise our opportunities to foreign schools. They told me I definitely should do it, and additionally visit our International Office for additional information. They turned out to be as excited as I was about the idea of visiting old schools and they gave me some gadgets that I could give to students in order to encourage them and make them think more seriously about higher education.

As I went for Christmas trip home – I’ve contacted some of my former lecturers if they would like a presentation for their final years students about studying abroad – in a heartbeat they arranged  some rooms and classes I could borrow to talk to their students.

Each meeting took 45 minutes ( equal to one lecture in Poland). The first 10-15 minutes were about the University itself and I gave them general presentation about the campus, localization, courses and equipment. For next 20-30 minutes I was telling the students what type of work I was doing throughout my course.  Just to remind I’m on business course and as it might not sound exciting for people that didn’t even think about High Education at all – the exercises and examples of my work got them so engaged – I didn’t see anybody talking or browsing their phone under their desk – they were actually engaged and interested in the subject I was talking about.

I’ve never felt more appreciated as my former tutors were looking proudly at me. After the meetings headmasters of both institutions asked me to come around every year to present to new sets of students to show what opportunities await for their graduates. I also got offered some work as an English Tutor during the holidays.

From that moment on I’ve been much more confident about what I do, I believe this was one big step for my confidence, presentation skills and future career. I cannot thank highly enough all people who have supported my throughout this journey – my colleagues, family, former and present tutors, and right now I stand in front of a challenge… how can I possibly repay all of this kindness?

Thank you Pawel for sharing your story. A nice chance to see the university from a different perspective, and read how taking a chance and leaping out of your comfort zone can reap fantastic rewards.

You can read more about Pawel’s course, and about our Mentoring Programme (Pawel is a Mentor to a 1st year) from these links:


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