Studying in the UK: How to make your move a success
Moving to the UK to study can feel quite intimidating, especially if this is your first time living away from home. There are many things to consider and prepare for before you settle into university. But don’t worry!
Here are five things to do before and after you arrive to make your move easy.
1) Do your own research early
Start preparing for your move now. There are a lot of helpful links online that walk you through the visa application process and other important things you have to do before you arrive in the UK.
Also, don’t forget to email your university if you have any questions. They may take a while to respond, but they will eventually get back to you and help you sort things out.
Find out more about applying for a student visa to study in the UK at the Gov.uk website.
2) Keep track of the key dates
Both visa and university applications often require you to submit multiple documents before a specific deadline. Occasionally, it can get difficult to stay on top of all of this paperwork.
I felt really intimidated when I first looked at the application forms. I decided to write down all of the key dates on bright sticky notes and put them on my desk to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything important. It really helped me and I managed to submit everything on time without worrying about it.
3) Open a UK bank account - it isn’t that scary
If you haven’t had much experience of managing money, you may find the process of opening a bank account intimidating. But there’s nothing to be afraid of!
When I was looking to open one, I was advised to get a student account because it is easier and more convenient for internationals studying in the UK.
All you need is your passport, proof of your student status (ask your university for a confirmation of studies letter), and proof of address (ask your university or use the tenancy agreement from your accommodation provider).
Find out more about how to open a UK bank account at the TransferWise website.
4) Choose the right phone contract
UK mobile phone networks offer a range of SIM cards and contracts, which may make it difficult to pick the best one for you. The two most common types are:
- pay-as-you-go, where you purchase credit in advance and only pay for what you use
- contract, which can either be SIM-only (when you already have a phone and simply change the SIM card) or SIM+phone (when you obtain a phone from the provider and pay a monthly charge for it on top of your allowances).
Find out more about UK mobile phone networks at the uSwitch website.
5) Get in touch with other students
Before you’ve even set foot in the UK, you can establish connections with fellow students and maybe make a few friends. As early as July, I was part of a number of social media groups with other students like myself. These groups were quite diverse, including ones for my course and hobbies.
My accommodation provider, Unite Students, has an app that allows you to chat with your housemates before you move in - a great way to make friends with the people you’re living with before you’ve even arrived.
I can guarantee that if you search for your university online you will find many friendly and welcoming societies that you can join. Often, older students will be part of them as well and will be able to offer good advice regarding life, study and work in the UK.