The United Kingdom is one of the most popular destinations for international students seeking higher education abroad. Studying in the UK can give you the opportunity to interact and collaborate with the native English speakers and sharpen your English skills, improving on your learning, meet new people, boost your career and travel.
If you’re not a native English speaker the prospect of studying in the UK can seem daunting, but you will always get help from teachers and online.
If you are interested on the idea of studying in the UK or have already secured a place, check out some important advice which will really enhance the experience and make it easier.
Here is a list of important things for international students to know and keep in mind before going to study in the UK:
1. Research In-advance
Be sure to research thoroughly before departing, there are so many different colleges, universities and English language schools offering study programs in the UK. There are literally hundreds of places you can study from small towns to large cities.
The UK has one of the best educational systems in the world with famous universities like Cambridge and Oxford, where you can go can come down to personal preference and course choice. Make sure you make the right choices and check reviews before committing.
Some international students are eligible for bursaries that can help towards their fees and/or living expenses. Most universities have their own bursary schemes, and you will need to see if you are eligible. Be sure to do this as it can drastically reduce the cost of studying in the UK.
The UK is a safe destination but before arriving make sure you write down all the important phone numbers and contact details for example for the police, health, and any educational related enquiries.
2. Visas and Travel Documents
You will need to make sure that you have the correct paperwork to study within the UK. Your university or course provider can be able to help you further with this.
If you’re an EU student who wants to study in the UK, you do not currently need a visa. But for students outside of Europe, you need to research and find the appropriate visa type depending on the plans regarding your stay as you study within the UK. It is necessary to get your Visa ready before the due date for admission and to avoid any problems at the border when entering the UK.
If you’re applying from outside the EU and have made plans to study in the UK for less than six months, you will need a short-term student visa. This is perfect for studying short courses like language classes and not full degree courses.
If you plan to stay longer than 6 months, you will need a Tier 4 (general) student visa. The Tier 4 visa currently costs £348 if you are applying from outside the EU, and you will need to apply from your native home country.
Applicants from outside the EU applying for the Tier 4 visa also need to get:
- Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) – a reference from your chosen university
- Have proof of finances – enough money to cover your tuition fees and living expenses
- English language test – you might need to prove you have a good level of English3. Search Flights
There are multiple airlines which fly to the UK, and you will need to book in advance to secure the best deal. We recommend searching for flights on Skyscanner where you can search and compare the best deals.4. Arrange Accommodation
Most colleges and universities in the UK offer guides and assistance to international students who are need of accommodation. There are lots of options available for students including shared student accommodation, hostels, and privately rented accommodation. Prices vary depending on the accommodation type and where the accommodation is located. It is important to get this arranged in advance of your arrival just to give you one less thing to worry about.
- 5. Get Appropriate Healthcare Insurance
If you are a student coming to the UK from an EU country, you can get access to free healthcare if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). A EHIC cards are free and can cover you for medical issues while in EU countries.
If you’re applying from overseas outside of the EU, then you will need to pay a surcharge on your visa application or you will need to get a comprehensive medical insurance to make sure your covered whilst studying in the UK.Lots of companies like Endsleigh offer you travel insurance for international students coming to the UK.6. Budget
The UK can be an expensive destination but there are multiple ways you can budget and save your money. From checking student discounts, buying second hand learning materials and textbooks or online, taking advantage of special offers and shopping discounts. And try to work out a daily or weekly budget and stick to it.
One of the most sensible things to do is to get in touch with your intended college/university and get a list of the books you would need and buy them before your travels.Other tips for studying abroad on a budget can include getting a part-time job so you can make a little money. For the EU students, there is currently no limit for how long you can work while studying. Non-EU students can work in the UK for 20 hours per week, except for holidays when they are allowed to work full-time.7. Be Social but Dedicate Time to Studying
Going to study abroad in Great Britain can be exciting and it is easy to get distracted with the sights, entertainment, and social events on offer. Try to join lots of social clubs and events which can help you to make friends. Remember though, you are here to study and passing with good grades will make the whole experience of studying here better and more worthwhile.
If your language skills could be improved, then search English courses in the UK or if you are thinking you need essay writing help several websites and people can help. Search online or speak to teachers, never be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand or think you need any help.
You might want to research your course and plan to give yourself the best chance of passing.8. Set Up a UK Bank Account
If you are going to be living in the UK, even if just for a few months we recommend setting up a band account in the country.
There are lots of companies to choose from and this will allow you to keep track to money and also reduce any fees from using international cards/banks.To open a bank account you will need to visit a branch in person and also have:
- A valid passport
- A valid visa and proof of student status
- Proof of address
- You can choose from a general current or a student bank account, some offer overdrafts which are great if you running low on funds.
- It usually takes around 1-2 weeks to set up a bank account and receive a debit card in the post. You might want to also consider getting a pre-paid card before departing to avoid carrying lots of cash on arrival.9. Keep in Contact with Home
Remember to keep in touch with family and friends back home to keep them updated on how you are doing. Keeping regular contact can help with the culture shock of living abroad and can also help with homesickness. Facebook, WhatsApp even Skype are great, or you may also want to consider buying an international SIM card to phone home.10. Travel & Enjoy Every Moment
The UK really is one of the best studies abroad destinations partly due to the amazing things you can do here.
There are so many amazing places to visit in the United Kingdom, or you could use this as a base and explore more of Europe! There are cheap transport connections making travel easier and more assessable even if you are on a studying in the UK.For cheap travel around the UK bus services like Megabus and National Express offer low-cost journeys starting from only £1! You can travel between the most major towns and cities with daily departures.
Lots of cheap airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair also offer internal and international flights.There can be anxiety when considering going to a new country, but this can be a life changing experience. There are so many reasons to study in the UK is something you really should do. You will get to meet new people, learn new skills, improve your knowledge, live in a different culture, and also see different places in your spare time. Hopefully our tips will help you to plan and enjoy the best study experience possible.