Freshers 2013: International Student Survival Guide
Moving to university is always a daunting experience, even more so if you are an international student. If you are starting a degree in the UK this autumn and moving into halls of residence, this is here to help you to know what to expect, what to do and what not to do. Packing for university can be difficult, but while you are making sure you remember your favourite pair of converse, your tennis racquet or your oldest cuddly toy, there are some more important things you also need to remember.
When registering at university there are a few essentials you must bring – find out what they are and make sure you have them with you. You don’t want to fall at the first hurdle! The UK has different plugs to most places in the world, so it’s definitely worth purchasing adapters in advance if you require them. You could find you’ll be spending 3-4 times more if you purchase one at the airport. You’ll need to become very good at budgeting your money so why not start early?
One of the most important things you will need is a bank account. You can set up a bank account for free in the UK; you just need to bring a proof of address and your passport. Simple! You will have access to the account immediately, but you may have to wait a week or so to get your card. Once you have your account, make sure you draw up a realistic budget. You can still be frugal and enjoy yourself. Try not to eat out too often, and try not to spend too much money at parties and social events. As tempting as it is to go out and buy clothes and video games and all the things you want with your new student finance, try not to let the money burn a hole in your pocket too early on as that money has to stretch a long way. If you do not live on campus, it is worthwhile checking out how much a season ticket costs for buses and you should purchase insurance for all of your belongings as well as medical insurance for yourself.
Integrating into society is important. It is worthwhile joining one of the university societies for people from the same country as you. This way you have a network of people in the same situation. You should also focus on making friends with British people. You moved to Britain for a reason, which was not to spend all your time with people from your country. You will learn a lot more about culture and customs from a real Brit than from anything you can read online or find out from other international students.
Your student visa should allow you the right to work up to 20 hours a week during term time and 40 hours during the holidays. Why not find out if there are any jobs at your Student Union or university library for example, this way it is easy to fit work around your study.
The most important piece of advice would be to be yourself.
If you are not an international student in the UK but you are interested in becoming one, why not send us an email to [email protected] to discuss whether this could be an option for you.