So, you’ve just arrived at your new university. You’ve unpacked, organised your stuff – now it’s time to get out there and meet your flatmates. Moving to a new country or city can be scary, especially when you don’t know anyone. However, even if you’re shy it’s easier than you think to make new friends in a new place.
Download our uni app – the match.com for searching and comparing all universities in the UK now.
‘You had me at hello’
It all starts with this one simple word. Simply saying ‘hello’ to one of your new flat mates or the person you sit next to in lectures can be the start of a brilliant friendship. Be brave – the worst that could happen is that they don’t reply.
Still feel like you don’t know what to say? Use these handy conversation tips from the Huffington post and you’ll be chatting away in no time.
Put the social in ‘social media’
With today’s technology it’s easier than ever to meet new people. Search for groups for your university and halls and residence. Before moving to Manchester to study I had already joined a dozen university Facebook groups. On my first night in halls I went to an event organised on social media.
Speaking to members of the group online beforehand meant there was no awkwardness when we finally met in person – we were like old friends!
Join a club
All work and no play makes for a dull student experience. Societies and clubs are a great way to relax and meet like-minded people. So get yourself down to the Fresher’s Fair and sign up for some societies and activities.
Each university has literally hundreds of societies so you’re bound to find something that interests you. There is something for everyone from gaming to dance, film to mountain climbing, knitting and much, much more.
Embrace Your Differences
Most student halls are a melting pot of cultures, backgrounds, religions and beliefs. Just because someone isn’t the type of person you would usually hang out with doesn’t mean you won’t become good friends.
Don’t be a recluse
Whilst you don’t need to be sociable 24/7 it’s important to let people know you’re available. Even if you’re working on an essay in your room, keeping your door open shows you don’t mind if a new friend comes over a for a chat.
Don’t be shy! – Via Giphy
Be the host with the most
Taking the initiative and throwing a party is a great way to make new friends at university. Most people will want to meet their fellow students so they’ll be grateful to you for making it happen.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just sharing a few drinks and some snacks is a great start. Just don’t break the rules of your accommodation and be prepared for your new friends asking for help every time they need something organised!
Studying abroad can be scary, even if you’ve made friends.
The HelloUni app by ICAN Future Star has a range of resources to make studying abroad easier. We’re calling it the Match.com of universities. Simply create a free profile and find the course best suited to you.
Download it for free from now from Google Play and the App Store.
University: they say it’s the best time of your life. You’ll meet new friends and learn new skills. Most importantly it’s a chance to spread your wings and gain some independence. Perhaps that’s why so many students are travelling from their home country to study in the UK.
Looking for a suitable course or university in the U.K.? Check our free app to search and compare over 50,000 UK courses and connect to real students to guild you through the complex application! Click here for the Android version now!
So, why should I study in the UK?
1. Be the best!
A degree from a top university can set you apart from the pack when looking for jobs. The UK has four of the top ten ranked universities in the world. British universities are also respected for research – producing around 15% of the world’s most frequently cited papers.
Studying in the UK should be a real no-brainer.
2. Improve your English
Studying in the UK is an amazing opportunity to improve your English language skills. A quarter of the world’s population speak English so improving language skills is key for careers in business, finance and a whole range of other subjects.
Not only that, but learning English will be a great help when travelling in other countries – the odds are that someone there will speak it too!
3. Working 9 to 5
International students are usually allowed up to 20 hours paid work a week during term time. Just enough to fund that well-deserved night out!
4. The culture
Let’s face it; even the most dedicated student won’t work 24/7. Luckily the UK has a rich cultural heritage for students to explore. London is a must-do, the home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Sherlock Holmes.
Check out Stratford-Upon-Avon, home of William Shakespeare, the most famous writer in the world. James Bond, Harry Potter, The Beatles – it’s all here in the UK.
HelloUni Top tip: get yourself a student card and see what deals and discounts you can get.
5. The food is actually pretty awesome
If we’re honest, we think this is a major reason you need to come to study in the UK. No British student experience is complete without a Sunday roast with your housemates, or a trip to the beach for some fish and chips. Mmmm.
6. Odd British customs
Travel is all about embracing the weird and wonderful traditions of the country you’re in. Luckily the UK has a range of odd customs like dancing around the maypole, burning a pretend man on a bonfire on November 5th and rolling cheese down a hill (honestly, this is true).
Yes, we’re a nation of oddballs, and we love it. We know we mentioned food before, but the number one British tradition you must try is Afternoon Tea. Anyone for a scone?
7. The great outdoors
Just check out these epic views…
OK, stop already! Enough said.
Don’t believe everything they say about the British weather. We do get sunshine, and living on an island we have a selection of awesome beaches to relax on.
8. Four countries for the price of one
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own unique culture and customs. Travelling between the four is simple so check out the beauty of Northern Ireland, play the bagpipes in Scotland and experience a rugby match in Wales.
9. Shorter courses
UK university courses are generally shorter than those in other countries. You’ll get your degree from a high-ranking university in less time, meaning less money spent on rent, tuition and living costs. What’s not to like?
10. A warm welcome
The UK has always been welcoming of students from abroad. In London over a quarter of the student population are international. This means support is in place: meaning help with accommodation or simply suggestions on things to do. So don’t stress – we’ve got this.
Sounds awesome – but where should I study?
OK, so you want to study in Britain. But with so many amazing universities to choose from which one should you choose?
The HelloUni app by ICAN Future Star compares all the universities in Britain and gives you all the information you need to apply. It launches on May 1st on Google Play and the App Store – so follow them on Facebook and Twitter for updates!
On the blog post for this month I am going to write about software frameworks in general, and web application frameworks in particular. Frameworks are not a new concept. In fact, they have been around for about 30-35 years now, and they are constantly used in software projects of all kinds and sizes.
Microsoft .Net Framework as an example of framework (source: wikimedia.org)
Software developers not only create new software, but what they do for most of their time is to maintain software created by other people. Therefore it is important to rely on a series of shared principles and some sort of rational structure, which is at the same time both open and general enough.
Usually this is achieved using software frameworks. Regardless the stack or the technology employed, frameworks allow developers to concentrate their efforts in the actual functional requirements while abstracting other tasks that deal with non-functional requirements (usually low-level parts like those related to the networking or database connections). Due to this, software projects can scale their development times down while their mainteninability improves. However, software frameworks also have some drawbacks. In particular, they produce a great deal of codebloat, wasting resources and making the code not as efficient as an equivalent specific-made solution. They also have a learning curve that slows the development at early adoption stages. Hence, although it is true that they reduce developing times in the long-term, it is actually the opposite in the short-term.
Frameworks have two key characteristics:
- Extensibility: developers can modify the framework to fit the requirements, improve the performance or override some functionality.
- Inversion of control: the flow of the execution is determined by the framework not the developer.
Architecture-wise, and irrespective of the problem they try to solve, frameworks are basically inter-related components made of two types of code:
- Frozen spots: these are the portions of code that are not part of the business logic of the application and that barely change.
- Hot spots: these are the portions of code that contain the business logic of the application. These are where the developers inject their code, and hence vary from one application to another.
A particular type of software frameworks is the web application frameworks. These are designed to provide a general solution to the problem of building web applications, no matter whether it is for banking, e-commerce, customer service or a news service. Usually web application frameworks are implementations of the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern where:
- Model is the data.
- View is the graphical interface rendered to the user.
- Controller is the bridge between the view and the model.
The way this pattern works (at high level) is very simple: the Controller corresponds to the API. This Controller (the API) receives the input from the users (the View), makes changes to the Model (the data) and pushes the results back to the View (or the web pages rendered in the browser).
As I mentioned earlier, frameworks abstract all the connections amongst the different application components. In the particular case of the web application frameworks they provide an interface to some kind of database management system (DBMS), and they provide a server to handle the clients requests. In addition they also provide (or may provide) user authentication/security, session management, AJAX sub-framework, or a templating system. And since all this is provided for free, what developers only have to do is to define the model(s) (i.e., the data structure(s) required by the system), the computations required to fulfill the requirements (i.e., the controller(s)) and the interface rendered to the users (the view(s)).
Thick Client vs Thin Client architectures (source: wikimedia.org)
From all the previous, it might seem that the use of this type of frameworks force the adoption of a thin-client architecture (where most of the computations are done at server-side). Traditionally this has been the case (for example with Django, ASP.Net, or more recently –and to some extent– with Sails). Yet in more recent times frameworks like ReactJS or AngularJS have favoured the thick-client architectures (where most of the computations are done at client-side). At the end of the day, this architecture choice relies more on design and business decisions than the frameworks themselves.
And this is the end of this gentle introduction to the concept of software frameworks. At ICAN Future Star we use different frameworks for developing our solutions. For example, AngularJS and ExpressJS have been used from the beginning. And currently we are transitioning to SailsJS. The experience so far has been positive and we hope they keep on helping us building robust products for our customers.