6 things international students should know when studying abroad
Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding and memorable periods of your life. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn new languages, broaden your horizons and make life-long friends! If you’re looking to study abroad in the UK, there are a couple of things that you’ll need to get in order first.
As it stands, anybody that is from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) does not require a visa to study in the UK, although this could change depending on Brexit negotiations. Students from outside of the EEA usually require a tier 4 visa to study in the UK for the duration of their course. You can only apply for a tier 4 visa if you have been offered a place on a course and you should apply well in advance.
For your first year of university it’s a good idea to stay in accommodation specifically designed for students. At Liberty Living we specialise in student accommodation, hosting around 4,500 international students every year.
At every Liberty residence there is a Residence Team to welcome you and get you settled in. Many of the staff members are multi-lingual and there’s 24-hour security to keep you safe. In order to find the right halls for you, it’s essential that you do your research. Ensure that your accommodation is within your budget and meets your personal requirements.
Moving to another country can be daunting, but it’s important to keep your wits about you and stay safe. Make sure that you carry your mobile with you at all times. If you’re going out in the evening, let somebody know where you’re headed and when you think you’ll be back. Avoid walking alone in the dark and don’t carry large sums of money around with you. You should also make an effort to remember the number for the emergency services: 999 is the number for immediate emergency response in the UK.
If you’re studying abroad on a budget there are lots of ways to keep costs down without missing out! Take advantage of free things like galleries and museums, make sure you book train tickets in advance to get the best fares and invest in a rail card if you intend to travel a lot.
If you’re staying in the UK for more than a few months, it’s a good idea to open a bank account. As an international student you can open a basic bank account with a number of different banks. Basic bank accounts provide you with a debit card and allow you to withdraw money from an ATM.
Working in the UK
As an international student you’re free to work in most jobs in the UK. Whilst there are plenty of jobs out there it’s a good idea to consider working at your university as a student ambassador or as part of the student union.
Many universities also run summer schools and need mentors to take care of the younger pupils during their stay. Working abroad, especially for a reputable institution like a university, looks great on your CV and can open doors for careers following your studies.
If you’re part of the European Union you’ll need to apply for a European Health Insurance Card which will grant you access to the NHS. For those outside of the EU you’ll need to obtain health insurance. When you arrive at your city of choice you should register with your nearest General Practitioner doctor (GP).
GPs will address all of your general healthcare needs or refer you to a specialist if required. Registration is free, all you need to do is go to your local surgery and fill in a form. Some surgeries require proof of identity so be sure to take that with you.
Because the above can initially seem overwhelming, it’s a good idea to make a checklist of everything you need to do. This can make the task more manageable and will get you one step closer to your student adventure!