Things Students Need to Know Before Studying in UK

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Allaa Ashraf

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13 June, 2023

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6 mins read

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Studying in UK is like embarking on a whimsical academic adventure through the land of tea, crumpets, and Harry Potter-esque charm. It is an exciting opportunity that offers a world-class education, cultural immersion, and a vibrant international experience. However, before embarking on this educational journey, there are several important factors that students need to be aware of to ensure a smooth transition and a successful academic pursuit. 

Coming to study in the UK can be a daunting experience for international students. And at the same time, it is exciting, especially if it's the first time spending an extended amount of time away from one’s home. Before the trip, it is important that you are prepared for life as an international student in the UK. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key things students need to know before studying in the UK. So, come on, let’s jump right in!


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First Things First: Do Your Research!

Before anything else, it is crucial that you do your own research before going to the UK. The more information you have about the country, the smoother your transition will be. If you have friends or relatives who have studied in the UK before or have lived there once in their lives, then it’s time to give them a call. You can also try Googling to find out more information. That’s how you got to this page, right? 

Other things you should learn about before you study in UK include:

1. Student Visa

It is important that you have the right documents that will allow you to study and live in the UK. You should handle the paperwork months in advance because processing the visas can take some time.

International students must familiarise themselves with the UK visa and immigration requirements. Depending on the duration and type of course, students may need to apply for a Student Visa (formerly known as Tier 4 Visa). Understanding the application process, required documents, financial requirements, and any restrictions related to working during studies is essential. Stay informed about any visa policy updates or changes that may impact your stay in the UK. Ensure that you maintain a valid and active visa status throughout your studies.


2. Culture and Lifestyle

Moving to a new country can involve cultural adjustments and may initially feel challenging. Be open-minded and embrace cultural differences. Studying in the UK means meeting students from various parts of the world. The country is very diverse, and the people are welcoming. You will be able to find students who share the same beliefs and backgrounds as you.

Seek opportunities to engage with the local community, join student societies, and participate in cultural exchange programmes. This will help you better understand the UK's diverse society and make your transition smoother.

Also, the UK has a rich cultural heritage and a diverse society. Familiarise yourself with British customs, traditions, and social norms. Embrace the opportunity to engage with different cultures and make new friends. Explore local attractions, museums, festivals, and events to enrich your experience and make the most of your time in the UK.

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3. Accommodation Choices

Securing suitable student accommodation UK is essential for a comfortable student life. Research and book accommodation well in advance to secure your preferred choice. Consider factors such as location, facilities, costs, and proximity to the university campus.

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4. Cost of Living

The cost of living in the UK varies depending on the city or region. Major cities like London tend to have higher living expenses compared to smaller towns. Consider expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, utilities, and personal expenses. Create a realistic budget and explore opportunities for part-time work to supplement your finances, if permitted under your visa.


5. Language Proficiency

While studying in the UK, students primarily use English for their academic studies, social interactions, and daily lives. It is essential to have a strong command of the English language to engage with the curriculum and communicate effectively and fully. If English is not your first language, consider taking language proficiency tests such as IELTS or TOEFL and ensuring you meet the minimum language requirements set by your chosen university.


6. Course and University Selection

Choosing the right course and university is crucial for a fulfilling academic experience. Thoroughly research universities, their rankings, course offerings, and faculty expertise. Consider factors such as location, campus facilities, student support services, and extracurricular activities. Each university has its own admission requirements, so carefully review the entry criteria and ensure your academic qualifications meet the standards.

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7. Tuition Fees and Scholarships

UK tuition fees can vary significantly, depending on the university and course. International students are generally charged higher fees than domestic students. It is important to plan and budget accordingly. Additionally, explore scholarship opportunities offered by universities, external organisations, and government schemes to help alleviate financial burdens.


8. Academic Culture and Expectations

The academic culture in the UK may differ from what you are accustomed to in your home country. Familiarise yourself with the teaching methods, assessment formats, and academic expectations. Prepare to engage in critical thinking, independent research, and active participation in class discussions. Take advantage of resources such as academic workshops and study skills support offered by the university to excel in your studies.


9. Healthcare and Insurance

International students in the UK are eligible for National Health Service (NHS) healthcare. However, it is advisable to obtain comprehensive health insurance coverage to ensure access to necessary medical services and protect against unexpected expenses. Check if your home country's insurance policy covers you while studying abroad, or consider purchasing international student insurance.


10. Student Support Services

UK universities offer a range of student support services to assist with academic, personal, and well-being needs. Take advantage of resources such as academic advisors, career services, counselling services, and language support. These services can greatly enhance your overall university experience and help you navigate any challenges that may arise.


11. Transportation

The UK has an extensive public transportation network, including buses, trains, trams, and the London Underground. Familiarise yourself with local transport options, ticketing systems, and student discounts. Consider purchasing a railcard or other discounted travel passes to save money on regular journeys.

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12. Safety and Security

The UK generally provides a safe environment for students. However, it is essential to be mindful of personal safety and take the necessary precautions. Familiarise yourself with emergency contact numbers, learn about local laws and regulations, and be aware of your surroundings. Stay informed about safety protocols and guidelines provided by your university and local authorities.


13. Work Opportunities and Career Development

While studying in the UK, you may have opportunities to gain work experience and enhance your career prospects. Familiarise yourself with the regulations regarding part-time work for international students and explore on-campus job opportunities or internships related to your field of study. Additionally, take advantage of career services offered by the university to receive guidance on job applications, interview preparation, and networking opportunities.


And there you have it, folks! By considering these essential aspects before you study in UK, international students can better prepare themselves for a rewarding and successful educational journey. Remember to research, plan, and seek guidance from your chosen university to make the most of your time in this culturally rich and academically renowned destination.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What you should know before studying in the UK?

Overall, before studying in the UK, you should be aware of visa requirements, course selection, tuition fees, accommodation options, the cost of living, language proficiency, cultural differences, and available student support services.

2. How do I prepare for university UK?

To prepare for university in the UK, research and choose your desired course and university, familiarise yourself with the curriculum and academic expectations, ensure you meet the language requirements, gather necessary documents for visa application, plan your finances, arrange accommodation, and mentally prepare for cultural adjustments.

3. What are the rules to study in the UK?

The rules to study in UK include obtaining a valid student visa, meeting the academic requirements set by the university, attending classes regularly, complying with visa conditions, adhering to immigration rules and regulations, and maintaining good academic standing.

4. Is studying in UK easy or difficult?

Studying in the UK can be challenging, but it ultimately depends on individual circumstances and personal dedication. The academic standards are high, and you will be expected to actively participate, conduct independent research, and meet stringent assessment criteria. However, with proper preparation, time management, and utilising available support services, studying in the UK can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.


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