How to love being an international student in the UK
You’ve worked really hard to be accepted at university and now you are making preparations to make the exciting, but sometimes scary, move to the UK to start your studies.
First of all, well done for that.
However scary it is to move to a new country and learn a new language, you are in the same boat as thousands of people that are joining us from countries all over the world including Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and China.
As well as this, there are loads of things you can do to make sure you feel at home straight away.
Get to know the International Student Support Team
Every university that accepts international students will have a department specifically set up to support and mentor you. These departments advise on matters related to education but also help with visa and provide advice on how to live and budget properly in the UK.
For example, the University of Exeter does all of this and also provides information on working while you study.
When you first start university, you need to get involved from the minute you get to the halls of residence or wherever it is that you are staying. As everyone is in the same boat, people will band together during the first couple of days and you have the opportunity to make some great friends.
Showing up with a crate of lager tends to help this process nicely.
Most universities will also have a club or society specifically for the country you are from. In these societies, you’ll be encouraged to hang out with people from your own country and eat familiar foods. Just make sure this isn’t all you do, you do want to improve your English after all.
In short, jump into everything from the initial “hello”.
Reach out if you get stuck
Don’t isolate yourself if you are worried about your English, or lack thereof. Ask a fellow student to translate something if you are stuck and strike up conversations where you can. You’ll only get more confident if you try.
What’s more, your university will be full of students from all over the world with a common second language – English. You can help each other learn and build some great relationships at the same time.
Keep in touch with your family and friends frequently
There are loads of ways in which you can speak to your family and friends back home. Skype is (mostly) free and perfect if you have a good internet connection in your room. Whats App is free (for now) and so is iMessage.
If you want to make calls, we offer great rates as well. For example, if you want to call Pakistan from your mobile, you can do so at around 5p per minute. Calling countries like Pakistan and India used to be a lot more expensive, but the evolution of telecommunications technology in the last few years has really brought prices down.
Now, there’s no excuse not to make like ET and phone home.
Enjoy what’s on offer in the UK
The UK is an amazing country with lots of history and culture. Not only have you got some of the most vibrant cities in the world, there is beautifully lush countryside only a short drive away from most places.
From traditional attractions like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace to old country pubs, shops and restaurants, you’ll find it all.
You’ll have the time of your life here and really enjoy your studies.
Now what are you waiting for?