6 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Studying Abroad
Moving abroad for university is not easy! There’s a lot to plan and prepare for and you want to make sure you’re doing it right. It can be a pretty expensive process and also pretty daunting so keeping it as cheap and simple as possible is always a good idea. If you’re an international student moving to the UK, then this one is for you! So, what mistakes could you make?
Not setting up a student bank account
When moving abroad, money is going to be one of the most important things on your mind. Most students will set up a student bank account before going to university for extra perks including low-interest overdrafts, free trials for subscriptions or even a free railcard to help you save money whilst travelling. This is especially important for international students because you also have to consider things like conversion rates if you want to send money back home or vice versa. Most UK banks offer an international student account, some of these including Barclays, Santander and HSBC. It’s important to look into these options as the last thing you want to do is add even more cost to studying abroad by not switching over. If you want to learn about international student bank account options in-depth, check out our article by clicking here.
Not keeping up to date on advice
It’s important when moving to another country that you’re prepared for whatever may happen (especially with the current circumstances!). Visas and study options can often change quite quickly so you need to stay on top of any information that may impact your stay here. The UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) is an organisation that works to keep international students informed. You can view updates on things like immigration fees and government student support under their ‘info and advice’ section. They also offer a helpline to provide you with advice on any specific problems or worries you may have about staying here. It’s the best place to visit if you want to keep aware of the UK’s current affairs. You don’t want to get stuck in any difficult situations!
Not checking your universities support page
With the large number of international students now attending university in the UK, it makes sense for there to be dedicated sections of their website for you to visit! Each website varies but on most, you should be able to find information about Visa’s, living and working in the UK and even contracts and bills. It’s the perfect guide to check over especially as it’s specific to your place of study. The information you need could be different as opposed to people studying elsewhere so it’s a good place to look. Get searching!
Not attending international orientation
Fair enough, you might not be able to make orientation in person, but if you can then it shouldn’t be missed! A lot of universities are currently doing their orientation online meaning you can attend from anywhere in the world, so keep it in mind. When you’re joining a universities international community, you want to feel as at home as possible. In-person, tours are usually offered to help get a feel of the place and see the community you’re going to be apart of. International student advisors will introduce themselves to you, they will be your first point of call to help you through your time there and you may even meet some past/current students who will talk you through their experiences. The more connections you form, the more help you will receive!
Not researching for scholarships
We can’t deny that a scholarship can be hard to get but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Although they’re very competitive, it’s always worth a shot. There is a large variety of them on offer! A good place to check out is The Scholarship Hub as they have a whole database ready to share with you. The more you apply for, the higher your chances so don’t be deterred. If you don’t get chosen, then you haven’t lost anything – but if you do, wave goodbye to some of those uni fees! Always check the criteria before you apply though, as they can sometimes be quite specific.
Not checking if you can work in the UK
Many students like to work alongside their education but unfortunately for international students, not everybody has that luxury. So if you’ve planned to partake in this, you should know your right to work in the UK depends on your Visa or BRP (biometric residence permit). Most will usually give you an allowance to work a certain amount of hours a week but definitely check first – you don’t want any repercussions! It can be beneficial to make some extra money on the side, or even just gain valuable experience!
These are some of the most important tips to note before studying in the UK as an international student. You’ll feel more confident settling in if you’re fully informed and you definitely don’t want any surprises when you get here. If there is anything you’re struggling with, contact your university or an international student organization to get more help. If you have any other mistakes people should avoid, let us know in the comments below!