Moving to another country for university is a life-changing decision. Whether you’re going for the duration of your degree programme, or just a semester, studying abroad is a great way to broaden your horizons. According to The Guardian, in the 2012-12 academic year, 18% of all students in higher education were from countries outside of the UK.
The UK is a popular destination for international students thanks to the world-class education system and broad culture. The UK is also a great location if you want to explore further afield – just imagine jetting off to Paris for reading week!
If you’ve already applied and accepted a place at your chosen university, it’s time to prepare for the big move. Make sure your student visa is in order by consulting with a local immigration service. They will also be able to tell you the specifics of your visa, such as if you’ll be able to work part time.
Tip #1: Get your paperwork in order
In your first week at university, you will be asked for a copy of your passport, proof of address and your student visa around 436 times. Make sure your paperwork is in place to make life easier when you open a bank account, move into your student accommodation and enrol on your course.
Make copies of all your most important documents so that if the worst should happen and anything goes missing you have a backup.
Tip #2: Choose your accommodation wisely
Where you live in your first year of university will make a huge difference to your social life. University halls of residence are usually the best place to meet new people. You will have your own room and sometimes an en suite bathroom with a shared kitchen and common area.
Check if there are Facebook pages for your university halls of residence so you can make contact with people before you arrive. Don’t forget: everyone is in the same position as you, and they’re all just as keen to make friends.
Tip #3: Focus on making friends
One of the biggest fears people have before moving abroad is that they won’t know anyone when they arrive. This is a normal concern, but it shouldn’t stop you from having a great time.
If anyone from your area is moving to the same university you might want to get in touch so you have someone to explore the city with. Even if you have nothing in common, you’ll appreciate having backup when it comes to exploring your new town and meeting locals.
Tip #4: Start a new hobby
The best part about universities in the UK is that they will usually have societies and clubs that will help you to meet new people. Orientation week is a great time to take up a new sport or find people who share your hobby.
Some people find orientation week too stressful and avoid joining any clubs as a result. Don’t let this put you off! Societies are usually happy to welcome new members year-round, so get in touch when you’re ready and ask how you can get involved.