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Top Tips for International Students Moving to the UK
With a plethora of courses in various disciplines, excellent employability rate, an appealing lifestyle and a friendly educational environment, United Kingdom has gained a place in students’ hearts. Besides housing the most prestigious educational institutions, the country is rich in history and culture and appreciates art and literature through its museums, theatres and libraries.
We know you can’t wait to get to this beautiful country, but there must be doubts and fears in your mind about moving. Here is a guide to help you stay on top of things to ensure a pleasant time in the UK.
1. Know the terms of your student visa
The 4 tier UK student visa is recently replaced by a student route visa which you can apply for six months before the commencement of the course. You can apply for a student visa for short-term and long-term studies, for which you need to pay a processing fee of £89 and £328, respectively. Submit the online application with relevant details and prepare all the documents well before your visa interview. Once you receive the visa, read through the terms and check if it allows you to stay back after graduation. Learn more about the extension and renewal of the permit if you decide to stay in the UK longer for your career.
2. Learn the covid guidelines
Though the vaccine rollout has led to international borders opening up, strict protocols are to be followed, especially if you are travelling from a red-listed country. Keep an eye on the official website of the UK government for updated rules for travel. Any international student travelling to the UK is expected to stay in home quarantine for 7-10 days, followed by negative covid test results before entering the campus. Depending on the city you’re moving to, there could be different guidelines, ranging from wearing masks to using sanitisers to staying indoors on weekends to even regular lockdowns.
3. Apply for scholarships
Besides the flexible and friendly education system, the one thing that attracts millions of students to study in the UK is the financial support a student receives. There are different merit-based scholarships for various levels of education, provided either by the government, universities, or private agencies. Top-ranked universities like the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Edinburgh give out scholarships based on academic performance and individual potential. Depending on your home country, you may be eligible for various UK government-funded grants like Commonwealth scholarship, Chevening scholarship and GREAT scholarships. Some of them may also cover the student housing in London, Oxford and other famous UK cities, which may otherwise fall heavy on your pockets.
4. Book yourself a student accommodation
When you start in a new setting, you need a comfortable and safe space to stay. Since the number of students coming to the UK has increased in the past decades, there is an increased demand for affordable, clean and well-maintained student accommodation. There are private apartments, university dorms, shared flats and homestays available for international students to choose from. You can find cheap accommodation in Bath, Cardiff, Bristol or other UK cities if you start the search early. Following the covid protocol, the University halls and private student housing in Brighton, Nottingham and most UK cities are regularly sanitised and cleaned.
5. Sort out your health insurance
If the duration of your program is six months or more, you can apply for health insurance via the National Health Service (NHS) with a letter from the university. Once you receive the health card, you can register with a general practitioner(GP) in your area who serves as your primary contact for any health concerns. The insurance gives you access to high-quality medical care and free consultation with your registered GP. You can pay the health insurance fee of £150 per year along with the visa application. If your course ends within six months, you can apply through any private health insurance provider. However, this does not cover optical or dental appointments and mandatory travel vaccinations.
6. Ace finance management
The first step towards finance management in a foreign country is opening a local bank account to surpass the cross-border bank charges. If you wish to transfer money to an account in your home country, use apps with no or less commission for international money transfers. Apart from this, you can follow some money-saving habits to stay on top of your finances. To start with, have an estimate of the costs of basic amenities and plan a budget accordingly. Set aside money for tuition fees, rent, commute, meals, subscriptions, refreshments and travel. Students in the UK can have a guarantor who can cover you if you’re short of funds.
7. Stay connected
It’ll take some time before you become comfortable with the new place and culture. Be gentle with yourself and stay connected to the family and friends back home to get through the blues. You should also try to socialise with fellow students and make new friends since it makes international life pleasant and fun. Be a member of different societies and clubs and participate in various group activities. Don’t limit yourself to the people from your country; the more you interact, the more you will learn about the city and life, in general. You will acquire fresh perspectives which will help you going forward.
How can AmberStudent help you?
AmberStudent serves millions of students worldwide by providing the best options and rewarding experience for booking a house. We are upgraded with the latest COVID protocols and would be more than happy to assist you in booking your ideal home. Tune in to our Facebook and Instagram to stay updated.
Arya Antherjanam V is a content writer by day, a poet by night, and a performer on weekends. She delivers SEO-optimized content and creates engaging copies.