If you are an international student that is looking into studying in the UK, it can seem rather daunting. That's why we've put together a checklist of our top 10 tips to prepare for the big move.
1. Look into funding and scholarships
The most important part is ensuring that you have the finances in place to fund your time at university. Unfortunately, Brexit means that students from the EU no longer receive the same student loans as UK students. All international students must cover their fees themselves, which can range from £10,000 to £35,000 per year. However, there are scholarships available, so be sure to check with your preferred university to discuss options and find out how to apply.
2. Arrange your student visa
Similarly to funding, all international students (including those from the EU and EEA) now need a student visa to study in the UK. Those studying for under 12 months will need a Standard Visitor Visa, costing £95. If you're studying for longer, you'll need to apply for the £348 student visa. You can submit your application up to six months before you start your course.
3. Prepare for the cold
You're sure to already be aware that the UK is known for its cold, wet weather. Most homes here are fitted with central heating to help keep them warm but it can be quite expensive, so be sure to factor this into your monthly budgeting. Be sure to pack warm coats, cosy knitwear and even hats and gloves, too.
4. Get your student accommodation sorted
This is something that will need to be sorted before you arrive. Universities offer accommodation to their first-year students called halls of residence or, more commonly, halls. You will be placed in a flat with other students, which is a great way to make new friends as you are all in the same boat.
5. Get your health insurance
As part of your visa application, you may be asked to pay a healthcare surcharge, which gives you access to the NHS (the universal healthcare system in the UK). This is usually £235 for six months or £470 for 12 months. It's also advisable to take out international student travel insurance on top of this.
6. Open a student bank account
To make spending easier, it's best to open a UK bank account. Most high street banks offer special student accounts with interest-free overdrafts to give you some finances to fall back on.
7. Look into international call rates
You'll want to stay in touch with family and friends back home, so look at the best ways to do this. Video calls using the wi-fi in your accommodation will be free, but you can also research the best SIM cards to make worldwide phone calls. You may also want to get a UK SIM, to make it easier to contact your friends in this country.
8. Plan your public transport
All cities will have a local bus and train service, while some also have underground or tram services. Your main bus or train station will have an information desk, where you can ask for help on which services you will need.
9. Know your worker rights
You can get a part-time job to help supplement your studies, but under your student visa, you will only be able to work a maximum of 20 hours per week.
10. Don't forget to explore
You're in a new country, so don't forget to explore other places outside of your university city. There are plenty of sights to see all around the UK, including the cobbled streets of York, the birthplace of The Beatles, the valleys of Wales, the Roman baths of Bath, Shakespeare's Globe theatre and so much more.
Most importantly, try not to stress and just get settled into your new life here in the UK. Be sure to join Facebook groups for other international students, sign up to societies and chat with people on your course, and you will make lots of new friends in no time.
If you're moving to the UK to study and find yourself in need of storage
during your stay do get in touch with our team and we'd be happy to help.