The United Kingdom is one of the most popular options for overseas students in higher education programmes. If you are an overseas student and about to move to the UK to start their degree programme, you need to buckle up, as it will be a tough fight out there.
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The UK is an excellent place for pursuing your postgraduate or undergraduate degree, but it all comes with a cost. Surviving in the UK as an international student is not as easy as you may think. Here are the top five survival tips that all international students swear by:
Survival Tip # 1 – Explore the Student Life
If you are an international student visiting the UK for the first time, you should familiarise yourself with the UK’s student life.
The United Kingdom is considered one of the most preferred choices of international students because of its quality of education and the modern and progressive lifestyle. If you are coming to the UK on your own, you should spend the first few weeks of your stay exploring life in the UK.
The UK offers various exploring opportunities for international students. The UK is the epitome of cultural richness, from exceptional sports facilities to historical galleries and museums to beautiful parks and libraries.
If you are a sports fanatic, you can tour different sports clubs, stadiums, and grounds to socialise with like-minded people.
If you are a food connoisseur, you will be delighted to explore all the restaurants and cafes present near your university or college. You can also enjoy exclusive student discounts at a couple of restaurants and eateries. Chinese, South Asian, Mexican, and Caribbean are amongst the most popular cuisine options found in the UK.
It is vital for all new international students in the UK to explore student life and get accustomed to it. This will help them in settling down more quickly and effortlessly.
Survival Tip # 2 – Join Online Groups & Communities
As you move to the UK for your degree programme, you must make some friends to hang out with. For this purpose, you can explore the various clubs and societies at your university.
With these student societies, you have the option to pick and choose something that intrigues you, for instance, drama, literature, history, sports, etc.
Another great way of making friends from outside or within your university is by joining various Facebook groups. Make sure that you join the group that represents your city or your residential area. These online groups and communities are also quite helpful for finding solutions for any student-related or personal problems like accommodation, transport, etc.
Survival Tip # 3 – Open Up a Student Bank Account
One of the most important things you should do once you move to the UK to study is set up a student bank account.
Setting up your student bank account comes with several benefits. When it comes to bill payments, failing transactions and maintaining your savings, a local UK student bank account will come in handy. Moreover, if you have to receive any funds from overseas, having a UK bank account will help you save additional exchange rate costs.
All UK students need to set up their bank account within the first few weeks of moving to the country. Else, they will have to carry cash everywhere, which might not be too safe.
Besides cash, you can also apply for prepaid cards and save yourself the hassle. If you wish to open up a student bank account in the UK, this is the list of necessary items required:
- A valid passport
- A valid visa (for non-EU students only)
- Proof of address in the UK (tenancy contract or bills)
- A Proof of address in your home country
- Proof of student status (request your university)
- Proof of income (credit check or in-person interview required)
- In-person visit
Before you get too excited about opening your first UK bank account, make sure that you do proper research. Not all UK banks allow non-residents or students to open an account with them. To save yourself precious time, do a quick scan before considering your options.
Survival Tip # 4 – Understand the Transport System
Understanding the UK transport system is another essential step of settling down in the country. To get around the city, you need to have a complete understanding of how the UK transport system works.
The most common and most affordable means of transport for international students is using the public transport system. All major UK cities have their local bus service, which you can use for your day-to-day commute. One pro tip is to get yourself a student bus pass, so you do not have to keep carrying extra cash all the time. In addition to this, mainstream UK cities have a subway system for transport that comes in handy for many international students. You can save additional costs by signing up for a yearly pass.
Some international students also prefer travelling on bikes to save extra costs and keep their health in check. You can check if your university offers a space in the parking lot for bikes, and then you can explore this option if they do.
Besides this, for inter-city travel, students can rely on trains or coaches for affordable travelling. There are other options too, like the Megabus that offers low rates for students. Travelling by plane is always an option if you can afford to pay for it.
No matter which travelling option you choose, it is good to be familiar with all of them. You can also download travel apps on your phone to guide you about the local bus route and schedule for efficient time management.
Survival Tip # 5 – Start Working Part-Time
If you are studying in the UK on self-finance or even if you have a scholarship, some people may still get expensive to afford the semester fee. This is why international students are advised to make the most of their time by earning extra money while working.
Typically, UK international students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week along with their programme and full-time when they are on a holiday or semester break.
There are various work opportunities for UK students that they can manage with their studies. You can pick and choose which part-time job best suits you and pays you a decent amount.
One crucial point to consider is that many international students get carried away with their work routines, and their academic performance gets affected in return. Therefore, you must ensure that you choose a part-time job that you can easily manage with your schedule and enjoy a proper work-student life balance overall.
The Bottom Line
Studying in the UK is like a dream come true for many people. If you are one of those lucky ones who get to fulfil this dream, make sure that you do complete justice to it. We hope that the information regarding ‘Survival Tips for UK International Students’ was helpful for you. If you are an international student pursuing higher studies from the UK, give this survival guide a quick read for some precious tips.
If you need help with your UK course enrolment and application form, please reach out to us. Our expert professionals will provide you with complete assistance.