Coming to the UK to begin your studies is likely to be one of the most exciting times of your life, but also one of the most unnerving. Entering a new country, with its own laws, traditions and general way of life, can be a cause for concern for many students who are not quite sure what to expect. Outlined below are a few small tips for students from abroad who are coming to the UK to study; which will help them settle down comfortably in the UK and allow them to focus fully on their studies.
Before you arrive
Research more than just the course before you arrive
Perusing your educational establishment’s website is a great way to prepare for your course as it offers vital information about the educational aspect of your trip. That said, learning about British culture is equally important and you should take time to discover more about the local area in which you plan to stay, as well as a little more generalised information about the quirky customs and foibles of the UK.
Work out your finances beforehand, once you know how much money you have available, you are going to need to work out a sustainable budget for the duration of your course. Running short of cash is one of the major causes of student stress; so working out a sustainable budget and sticking to it, is a great idea.
When you arrive in the UK
Remember your TV Licence
In the UK, the law regarding TV Licensing means that if you watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV – online, on a TV, or on any device (even a laptop), you require to be covered with a TV Licence. You can pay for your TV Licence monthly, quarterly or annually. You can buy online, by phone or from one of 23,000 UK Paypoint outlets in convenience stores, newsagents, supermarkets and petrol stations. It’s important to get this sorted as soon as you know the address of your chosen accommodation. It is also worth remembering that if you move away at the end of the course, you can receive a refund for any unused quarter on your valid TV Licence.
Use modern technology to stay in touch with family back home, cheaply It is only natural for an international student to miss their family at times, but now you do not need to rack up expensive phone bills to stay in touch. Many students now opt to buy a laptop or personal computer to help them with their studies. This technology can be used with services from providers such as Skype, Rebtel and many others to keep in contact with friends and family at a fraction of the cost by making free PC-to-PC calls over the Internet.
Join a library
A great way to save money is to head down to the local library and become a member. Even if they do not have your specific book in stock, you can order books to be delivered and borrow them from the library completely free of charge, which is a great way to save money.
Become an active part of your university
It may be tempting to join university societies for international students and this is a great way to meet others in a similar position, but don’t limit yourself to this small group. Extend your horizons by becoming involved in other groups that interest you. Making friends with students from the UK, as well as from other parts of the world, will not only enrich your experience studying in the UK, but also strengthen your linguistic skills and your appreciation of others cultures which will help you greatly when settling in.