Moving to a foreign country for studying can be an exciting and enriching experience, especially if it is a culturally evolved place like the UK. At the same time, it can also be overwhelming and maybe a bit daunting too. The key to begin this new chapter in the smoothest way possible is to be aware of all beforehand for everything that you will or may have to face.
There are many important points of advice for international students in the UK that the student should know before his travel to England or other parts of the UK. These can be divided into the procedural ones, including how to apply for a visa or for a college admission, which is a topic for another article, but we will discuss the other tips which, if not known, may not necessarily halt your process, but may make it less pleasant.
1. If You Want to Study in UK, Understand UK
The United Kingdom is universally known as the land of etiquette and manners, not just of fish and chips. Read about and understand the country’s culture and try to adopt the manners. Although the people are welcoming and warm, you will feel even more welcomed if you try to blend in to some extent at least. Additionally, the weather can be unpredictable and sometimes considerably unpleasant. Make sure you are aware of this and prepared for the same.
You will obviously have to plan and arrange for your course, but it does not end there. Do your own research about expenses while living in the UK as a student, such as living, food, transport, internet, etc. As an example, the following image shows the overall weekly expenditure of a student at Salford University.
The costs will change according to the universities and cities, and based on the accommodation and other expenses, you will have to find the more or less exact numbers for the city you will be studying in. A Tier 4 visa requires you to show proof of a year’s finances including fees and other expenses. After a few months, you can get a part-time job and fulfil your monetary requirements. In London for instance, visa guidelines require you to have £1,265 per month for expenses, while in actual one may need less than £1000.
Although this counts somewhat as a procedural point, it is quite an important part for your study in UK. To avoid the hassle and waiting involved, it is advisable to open a bank account before you go. You can also decide on opening a Unizest account that can be opened from your home country in a short time without the need for a UK address.
Having health insurance is mandatory in the UK and visa applicants will have to pay an annual amount of £300 to the National Health Service (NHS). You should include this in your financial planning in the beginning as well as in your regular expenses later.
With the advent of mobile apps that allow you to make audio or video calls (WhatsApp, Duo), as far as calling back home is concerned, you will mostly need an internet connection with good quality. If you still prefer the conventional calling method, networks such as Lebara or Lyca have specialised international calling packs. Along with international calling, you will also need to check which is best for local calling. There are monthly packages of unlimited voice and data as well as pay per call, and you can select what suits you best
Knowing about the transport facilities in your destination city beforehand can save a lot of confusion. UK has a well-established system of trains, trams, and buses. Get a good idea of the number of buses/trains to and from your city and the frequency as well as fares for the same. There are options for daily, monthly, or even annual bus passes in case you need to travel frequently and don’t want to spend around £1.50 every time. For example, in London, it costs £5, £81.50, and £848 for daily, monthly, and annual passes respectively.
Every country has a specific food culture, and you may or may not love one that is different from yours. You may also have specific requirements such as vegan, halal, etc. and finding/figuring out the suitable options after going there is not a great idea. Find out where you can get what suits you best.
We hope that the above points will make your transition to the new place easier. Besides the above points, you should also make sure to understand your visa and what it allows, such as the number of working hours (20 hours for Tier 4 visa). It is also highly recommended to check the possible scholarships to study in UK for international students.
Those were some of the things to know before studying in UK. We guess that now you feel a bit more confident about starting your student life in the United Kingdom, and we would be glad if you share this article so more students find it easier to shift to the new place. For more information on courses in UK and visa procedure, visit Manya.
We would love to see you spread some love by sharing this article, as it may help many who are looking to study in UK or any other course too. If you have decided to work on your entrance exam and conquer it, a good test prep institute like Manya-The Princeton review can definitely help.
We wish you all the best!