Any student applying to a foreign University is destined to undergo a whirlwind of emotions and a deluge of doubts. Whether you are all set to hop on the airplane to earn an undergraduate degree or a Master’s degree, it is only natural to be perplexed about how your life will turn out once you find yourself in a different, distant land. If the trend of the past few years is to be believed, the UK has become one of the most favoured choices of thousands of Indians, with multiple students vying to receive the acceptance letter. The UK boasts of housing several top Universities of the world such as the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, and Imperial College, London, making it a popular choice amongst Indian students. While in the UK, you will find yourself in an intellectually stimulating environment, ready to lose yourself in the culturally welcoming and thriving community that the UK is synonymous with. As you prepare yourself to tread on the exciting journey which awaits you ahead, here is a catalogue of tips which can make your years in the UK even more awe-inspiring, productive, and minimize the hassles students often encounter. This might as well be the most magnificent point in the journey of your life, so why not make the best out of it!
Build a Home Away From Home
While growing up in a close-knit community like the Indian community, you might, in the initial days, find the irresistible urge to fight off the demons of loneliness and befriend peers and seniors. Student life in the UK can be made a lot more seamless if you know your right points of contact and set up a network in the first few days of being in the country. First things first, do register yourself with the local police and a doctor. Luckily for you, most colleges organize individual sessions specifically designed to cater to international students, which is an excellent opportunity where you will be walked through the campus and the local area. Thus, you will know your Wendy’s from your Walmart in the first few weeks! You might even stumble upon a fellow Indian student or strike a chord with someone at the store. Freshers’ week, too, presents itself as an incredible opportunity where an acquaintance might just turn into a long lasting friendship. Stretch out of your comfort zone, make an effort and interact with your fellow students. There is no other way to expand your multicultural experience than being the initiator in a conversation, and you may come across someone who mirrors your personality and being a freshman, is on the lookout for a friend. Finding a family for yourself in a foreign land is undoubtedly a daunting, overwhelming task, and the Universities understand this as much as you do. Hence, several colleges have an active, vibrant international society which exists for the sole purpose of helping students like you build a network. Through the frequent organization of programmes such as festive celebrations, parties, get-togethers, and detours to local tourist destinations, you are presented with a golden opportunity to turn the strange faces into familiar ones.
UK’s Academic Structure
The educational system there draws a stark contrast to the order you have grown up with, and within the first few days of attending the classes, you will learn to acclimatize yourself with the English system. The academic theory centers around a broad, interactive learning scheme, not limiting your ideas to only textbook learning. You will always be spurred to partake in constructive debates and discussions, which will help you think out of the box and churn significant thoughts. As the UK does away with confining your knowledge to textbooks, the idea is to mold you positively for the future. Over the period of time, you will find yourself turning into a trailblazer, confident of voicing your opinions out loud and comprehending global issues and matters of universal importance. More often than not, you will be assigned coursework and projects, with deadlines to keep track of how much progress have you made since your day one.
One query which permeates through the minds of all students as soon as they make up their mind about departing for the UK is accommodation. One needs a home, while also being aware of the limited financial budget one possesses, thanks to being an international student. While finding a roof is an arduous task whether in India or abroad, there is a streak of hope and possibility too. This herculean task is simplified by several universities which have independent halls of residence, more popularly known as the International Student House. These halls tend to provide good value for money, with easy access to all the facilities you need, and opportunities to mingle with other students. What is essential for you to is to have a refined and precise structure in your mind before you apply to any of these accommodations. You may want to stay close to your campus or might be willing to commute via public transportation. A word of advice would be to have a detailed discussion with your parents before you reach any conclusion so that you know how many pounds can you reserve for housing. Independent companies such as The Student Housing Company and Capstone Collegiate Cos are, on the other hand, big names in the accommodation market and offer private halls of residence just in case you are unable to secure a spot in the campus. Before joining the university, make it a point on your checklist to conduct a thorough research about the same. Read up extensively, eliminate even the slightest iota of doubts in your mind, and find out which housing facility caters best to your requirements. All said and done; the eventual ambition is to reserve a place with utmost facilities and a decent, pocket-friendly expenditure.
It is famously said that “Re-creation means to recreate yourself”. Rejuvenation activities come as a breath of fresh air in our lives, and you will surely feel the need of exploring the city and the campus’ surroundings. There is a gamut of options available in the UK where you can spend some quality time with your friends and get to know the country (and each other better). If your caliber aids you in finding a place at the King’s College, Imperial College, or University College; try and find time to register your presence at the magically gripping world of Warner Bros Studios, Big Ben, or the Tower of London which stands tall in all its majesty since 900 years! Talking of the Universities in Wales such as the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews; St. Davids’ Cathedral, Brecon Beacons National Park, and Wales Coastal Path have been faithfully attracting tourists from a long time now. The UK is also home to incredible theatrical performances and performing arts is given its due at the National Theatre, London and Theatre Royal, Bath, and the catalog keep on extending.
A practical and obvious question to be taken care of is the transportation aspect and before starting your classes, you might want to put your grey cells to work and figure out the transportation in the area. Generally, students can get to the campus by walking (if your university is closer) or by cycling, using public transport and taxis. The bus rides can be made even more comfortable if you avail the facility of bus passes, which will make you eligible for receiving special discounts on travel cards and passes- a facility reserved for both national and international students. Tube trains, too, are an incredibly popular means of transport and you will find several fellow students travelling by them.
Assistance for Specially Abled Students
The UK is becoming the first choice of several such students due to its inclusivity and the facilities provided to aid them as much as possible. For instance, the Disabled Students’ Allowance offers students financial help of up to 20,000 GBP which accounts for specialist equipment and non-medical assistance, like note takers. Another noteworthy committee is the Snowdon Trust, which carries the merit of being the largest charity in the UK which works towards handing out grants to students in case they have not been able to secure any other benefits. As far as non-economic interests are concerned, dyslexic students may be asked to complete a dyslexia assessment which will assist the University in learning the kind of support you require and how you can best be helped. For visually impaired students, help comes in the form of Braille text, tutor recordings, text-to-speech technology, transcription services, and magnification software.