Siri Potineni left her daughter and family in India to study for her MBA at Wrexham University in north-east Wales. Her inspiring story is one of resilience and unwavering commitment, fuelled by the desire to create a better future for herself and her loved ones.
The founder of a successful IT business in her home country, Siri’s lifelong ambition has always been to study in the UK. And, she is now a part of Universities UK International’s #WeAreInternational: Transforming Lives campaign, dedicated to highlighting the important contribution international students are making to the UK and their communities during their studies here, and how welcoming a study destination the UK is.
Siri shares: “I wanted to help others in aspects of university where I struggled. Moving away from home is so hard. You might smile on the outside, but I cried on the inside, and I never want a fellow student to have to go through that.
“I was so scared when I travelled to the UK, I am always scared when I travel, but even more so alone. However, everyone is so kind and friendly here, if you don’t know something there is always someone there who wants to help.”
Siri’s determination to succeed was only further exemplified by the part-time jobs she took on to support herself financially during her studies. She worked as a cleaner and milked cows on a farm throughout her studies to fund her accommodation and living expenses. Siri’s husband and daughter have now joined her in Wrexham. However, restrictions being imposed by the UK government from 2024 will prevent overseas students from bringing family dependents with them to live in the UK while they study, except under specific circumstances.
Now, having completed her MBA, Siri is thriving and her university has even offered her a job as a student administrator. Here, she uses her own experiences of arriving in the UK to help new students settle into university life.
Wrexham has also become famous recently after Hollywood superstar Ryan Reynold bought Wrexham Football Club, creating a real buzz in the local area.
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Siri adds: “Now, Wrexham feels like a home away from home with its peaceful atmosphere and the natural beauty that surrounds it. This charming town offers a sense of comfort, making it a perfect place to relax and unwind with its mountains, waterfalls, and forests nearby.”
UUKi is keen to highlight that international students bring a £41 billion annual contribution to the UK, meaning on average each of the 650 parliamentary constituencies in the UK is £58 million better off – equivalent to approximately £560 per citizen. In Wales alone, international students have contributed £1.43 billion to the economy.
UUKi’s Director of External Affairs, Andy Howells, said: “International students not only travel to the UK for world-leading, high-quality education but also to contribute towards it. International students' study, live, work, invest and enrich UK towns and cities. By bringing together different views from across the world, we can enhance knowledge, broaden understanding and transform lives.
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“The #WeAreInternational campaign aims to tell the story of this through empowering the voices of international students who are studying here – students like Siri, who talk so passionately about how welcoming and supportive studying in the UK is; about how she contributes and integrates into society; and about how she has had her life transformed and is now looking to help transform the lives of others.”
*Info: Universities UK