First year student Simran has been faced with quite a few challenges since moving to the UK, from her home-country Nepal, to study Human Resource Management. It hasn’t been easy moving to a completely different country – the food, the language, the culture. To say that it was a culture shock would be a slight understatement.

But with her positive mindset and resilience, Simran has grown from strength to strength.

In light of International Day of Happiness, Simran shares her uni experience and how her positive mindset and sense of belonging has kept her feeling uplifted, even through the toughest of times.

Why we’re happier together

This year’s theme for International Day of Happiness is Happier Together. It’s a time to remind ourselves that lasting happiness comes from a feeling of being connected.

We asked Simran why it’s important for us all to feel like we’re a part of something:

“I thought I would struggle to find a sense of belonging when I joined to CCCU because Nepal is so different.

"But sitting in the seminar room on my first day, I noticed that everyone was in the same boat – we were all petrified! And we were all looking to find that sense of belonging.

"It made me realise that where I come from doesn’t really matter. We’re all in this together. Everyone was a bit awkward and weird on their first day – it wasn’t just me!

"I did have more barriers than UK students – the language, the culture. But I learnt how to adapt and made friends with many people on my course.

"Finding my community during my foundation year gave me a sense of belonging and comfort. And now that first year is underway, my community has grown even more.

"Transitioning from foundation to first year was a huge struggle. But I built that courage to reach out to my friends for support and continued to make new connections.

"Without this sense of belonging, my struggles would’ve been even harder because I wouldn’t have had the support from my friends.


"So, back to the question, we all need to feel a part of something – the support we get from our friendships is so important for our wellbeing. Without my support system, I wouldn’t have been able to overcome the difficult transition to first year.”


Using CCCU’s student support services

“Not only have I built strong friendships at CCCU, but I also reached out to Student Support. I received a lot of support from the staff there, which I’m incredibly grateful for.

"Life isn’t always easy and getting support from different places enabled me to keep working through my issues. It gave me the energy to keep moving forward and stay resilient.”

Building connections

“I also found my place at Uni when I started getting involved with the Students’ Union Council.

“After volunteering for the Union Council as Student Representative for Faculty of Science, Engineering, and Social Science, I’m now reaching out to be a student trustee for the University/Union Council, which I’m really excited for. Not only will I be representing the student voice, but my role also involves addressing any concerns that may arise within the organisation itself

"There are so many ways for you to start building connections with other students before you even start CCCU. There are excellent resources on the website with advice for all students. I also joined the peer mentor scheme and started chatting to other students though that before moving to Canterbury, which gave me more confidence in speaking to new students.

"All of these things helped making my move a little easier. If you put yourself out there and start finding new connections, then you’ll be able to build a really strong community at CCCU.”

Simran with friends
Simran with friends

Processing challenges in a healthy way

Simran’s positive mindset is infectious. She meets each obstacle with confidence and resilience, which enables her to overcome them. We asked her if she had any daily habits that contributed to her positive mindset and overall happiness.

“I like to process things before I make any rash decisions. It’s important to think of things from different perspectives; talk to friends for emotional support; and think about how to channel your emotions in a healthy way.

"It’s ok to spend time processing whatever issue may arise. And having a close friendship group who you can talk to freely about how you’re feeling will definitely help with your wellbeing and overall happiness.”

Be confident. Use your voice. Reach out.

With such success since starting CCCU, we asked Simran if she had any advice for international students who are about to start university.

“English isn’t our first language. Don’t worry about it. Communicate at any and every opportunity. The more you speak, the more comfortable you’ll become.

"Every day is a new experience in the UK. But don’t be afraid to speak up and use your voice. And the more you communicate and connect with other people, the bigger your support system will become.

"As this theme highlights, we really are happier together – so, use your friends and don’t be afraid to speak to new people.”

A huge thank you to Simran for sharing her student experience and shedding light on just how important it is to build friendships, find support, and use your voice.

Happy International Day of Happiness!

If you’re keen to take on a 10 day challenge to improve your happiness, check out the 10 Day Happiness Challenge where you’ll be given a short activity each day that is scientifically proven to improve your happiness and overall wellbeing.