Top 10 things to know about studying in the UK
For many international students, studying abroad can be a wonderful yet daunting experience. Studying in the UK does not have to be a daunting experience—it is an exciting opportunity, which, armed with enough information and preparation doesn’t have to be stressful. Below, we have come up with ten useful tips about studying in the UK to allay any anxieties or concerns you may have!
Accommodation can be a big headache for international students when studying abroad in unfamiliar countries. The first place to consult when seeking reliable housing is your university, which will often have a plethora of guides or portals for renting student accommodation. If you’d prefer to rent privately, try having a look at websites such as Zoopla for properties in your local area, or for more budget friendly options, check out www.spareroom.co.uk or www.roombuddies.co.uk for student house or flat shares. It’s never a bad idea to live in university accommodation at least during your first year until you’ve become familiar with your new city and make some new friends!
Working in the UK
Studying abroad can be accompanied by some financial challenges and several international students aim to work at least part time to earn some income. Be sure to check out the conditions of your visa, particularly if you’re a non-EU student, as there is typically a 20-hour maximum work time allowance during term time. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to check with your international students office at university.
Bursaries for International Students
You will have to demonstrate that you have adequate tuition and maintenance funds prior to studying in the UK or abroad in general, however unexpected financial circumstances do occur occasionally. Most universities have emergency bursaries available to international students in such circumstances but remember that you’ll have to demonstrate that your case is exceptional or an emergency! These bursaries should not be approached as a regular source of funding.
The English Weather
Britain’s unreliable weather will form an important part of your experience in the UK—it is that temperamental! Bring clothes for all weather conditions and be prepared for the sometimes dark and gloomy weather that makes you NOT want to study! Just remember that cold and rainy in Britain is the norm!
Studying abroad does not have to be a lonely experience. Student halls offer opportunities to socialise with other students during your first year and beyond. Give these a try and you can make some lifelong friends!
Another good way to meet other students is through university societies. You’ll get a chance to see what’s on offer during Fresher’s week and you can audit as many as you like before deciding which ones you want to join. This is not only a good way to engage in some extracurricular activities, but it’s also a great chance to meet people with similar interests.
As a student in the UK, you’ll have access to various student discounts in shops such as ASOS and Topshop, and on railcards as well! It’s a good idea to register for a 16-25 student rail card and remember to enquire about student discounts whenever you make a purchase (not as embarrassing as it sounds!). NUS cards are also a great way to access student discounts for various shops and restaurants.
It’s important to be aware of healthcare services in the UK in case you require medical care. International students do have access to the National Health Service (NHS) although they must currently pay a surcharge to access these services at £150 per year. You will typically pay this surcharge when applying for your visa but it’s still important to keep this in mind. It is also a good idea to take out health insurance to cover any medical care that isn’t covered by the NHS.
You will most likely require a bank account for managing your financial affairs and paying your bills. There are lots of options and overdrafts available to students and you will typically require the following information in the UK to open an account: ID, Proof of Address, University Offer Letter (speak to your tutorial office about this) and proof of income.
Studying abroad or in the UK offers many fun opportunities. Do some research and find out what’s available to do in your new city or neighbourhood!
So, if you’ll be studying abroad or in the UK soon, have a look at our guide for some ideas on what to expect.