There are hundreds of students every year who apply to the UK and travel there to further their education. Now even though many of them end up having a worthwhile time or feeling very satisfied with whatever they accomplished or explored about themselves over there, it’s safe to say that travelling anywhere out of your home country, especially the UK, does not come without its own little problems and issues that international students face on a day to day basis. Fairly so of course because adjusting to a new place can be quite overwhelming as it is.
Here below however are a few guidelines on how to better survive the UK for students that have come here to study, majority of which are usually undergraduate students coming out fresh from their high schools. The following pointers have been compiled after talking to alumni from British universities who had all moved there from somewhere else and what all information they had to offer in terms of surviving Great Britain.
- Search up the best scholarships – Students from the UK will have a much smaller total cost when it comes to studying at their top universities. Students from the EU will also be compensated with special student loans that are especially for European citizens. So if you’re neither a UK nor EU citizen the best thing you can do before travelling to the UK to further your studies is search up the best financial aid or scholarships that you can find. Britain as it is is an enormously expensive place and the weight of those prices is definitely felt on outsiders who will find it a hassle to stay there.
- You’ll need a visa – If you’re coming from the EU, once again luck is on your side as you won’t have to apply for a visa to study here and in fact just your normal passport will do. However if you’re travelling from any other place outside the UK or EU you will need a visa, the type depending on the length of your visit, and that’s not all. For non-EU students, you will also need to give a standardized English test (the SELT) for you to be able to live there. Aside from that you will have to convince the university you’re applying to that you have the finances to support yourself and your entire stay in the UK while you will be studying there.
- Get adjusted to the British way of life – The best way to do this after travelling to the UK is to find likeminded people who also had to adjust over there and take help from them. A smart move is to also search up groups on Facebook from your university comprising of people from maybe your background or country (which is likely) who can guide you through your stay and make the stay much easier for you.
- Sort out your accommodation before you land in the UK – The last thing you’d want after reaching a new country is finding out that you have nowhere to stay and feeling stranded. That’s why whether you’re a student staying in a dorm or renting a room from a private landowner always make sure that you take care of and even pay or book your accommodation from beforehand. Many universities in Britain especially have halls made for just international students at or near their campuses so that the experience is easier and less isolating for international students. You’ll probably also feel more at home staying in these halls in your first year at least.
- Healthcare is important – It is not only a requirement but it is imperative for all international students to have healthcare and health insurance when they enter the UK. Once again if you’re anywhere from the EU, this will be almost hassle free, you’ll just have to apply for a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). However if you’re from outside, you will have to pay an extra health surcharge as part of your UK visa.
- Figure out how the public transportation works – Now you obviously can’t be roaming around like a lost puppy during your entire stay in the UK, so to make yourself much more familiar with your surroundings and to also blend in with the rest of the public it is necessary to find out how the easiest and cheapest forms of transport function in the town or city that you will be residing in. The local bus service is probably the quickest way of getting around the city and will save you a lot of hassle.
- Get a job – Try to find a part time job if you can to become more familiar with how things work and to make some extra cash on the side while you study. Find out places where it’s easy for you to get a part time job that won’t clash with your education and will provide you a little spending money in the UK to explore and enjoy yourself as well.
Emma Nathan working as a research fellow in the Center for excellence in learning and teaching at the University of Glamorgan She is responsible for research on a dissertation at Glamorgan and the support the implementation of assessment policy and in additional time she is working with Online Dissertation Help UK.