Recent migration statistics quarterly report from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills have shown that there has been a shocking 45% drop in the number of international students applying for visas to study in UK.
Universities should be doing all they can to help international students take that life-changing leap onto foreign soil, so here are my top ten bits of advice for anyone about to, or thinking about, submerging themselves into Uni life.
1. Money, Money, Money!
First and foremost it is important that you understand British currency and the exchange rate from your own legal tender before committing to any purchases! That shiny, new computer or amazing flat to rent may seem unbelievably cheap, until you realize that £300 here is definitely not the same as 300 back home…
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2. Know What is Expected From You
Studying in the UK can be entirely different from the education system back in your home country. Before you arrive, find out who the learning support advisors at your university are, as many international students can be a little surprised by the amount of self-study required for your course.
3. Funding Your Studies
If you and your family are not EU residents, you are more than likely going to qualify for overseas tuition fees. Make sure that before you leave home that you know you have enough money to fund both your studies and living costs; nobody wants to live off baked beans and be out of their comfort zone.
4. UK Healthcare
As long as you are on a course for longer than six months, you are entitled to NHS services for free like all British citizens! But, to be on the safe side, be sure to take out the relevant health insurance before you travel.
5. Wardrobe Essentials
Although the British climate is known throughout the world for being grey, wet and cold, it is surprising how many international students forget to pack the essentials. Don’t wait until you get here to stock up on wooly jumpers and wind-proof umbrellas – who knows what your trip from the airport will be like!
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6. Explore the Area (Before and After!)
To make the most out of your time living in the UK, be sure to fully research the area you are moving into. Get to know transport links and must-see sights to make your stay memorable.
7. Embrace the Social Side
Most universities provide a non-stop schedule for international students during freshers week to get people socializing, so make sure you know what’s happening in your area. Contact the University if you are unsure.
Also, don’t be scared to sign up to new societies and sports clubs that you’ve never tried before! It’s a great way to meet different people and experience something you may never get the chance to do again.
Culture-shock is definitely a common syndrome after the excitement of freshers week has worn off, so talk to flat mates or university councilors if you ever feel lonely or homesick.
8. Photograph Everything
The heading says it all; be sure to capture every moment to show people back home and remember your life-changing time spent in the UK.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
Whether you have no idea what your lecturer is going on about or you want to know where your flat mates are off to that night, have the confidence to ask! Everyone is in the same situation and nobody wants you to miss out.
10. Final Checklist
Before leaving home, be sure to check you have obtained the correct visa for entry and study in the UK, bought travel tickets and travel insurance, arranged health insurance if needed, uploaded all the correct documentation to your university, checked with your bank to make sure you can transfer money to the UK and made sure you have some British cash for your first few days here.
From remembering to pack that essential waterproof jacket to embracing British Uni culture and making as many new friends as possible, hopefully this guide will help everyone on their journey to studying in the UK. Do you have any advice to offer to new international students?