Updated: Nov 11, 2019
At Carfax we are used to working with a wide range of students from all over the world and we are there to guide and mentor them as they go through the application process and make the move to University. With nearly 64,000 new international students about to take up their studies in the UK we offer our top tips for planning ahead and making the transition as smoothly as possible.
Make sure you explore all the options thoroughly before making the application. You need to be sure that both the course and the University are the ‘best fit’ for you. Start this process early and be empowered to ‘own’ your own future.
Try and visit the university if possible, so the location and environment is not a shock. If this is not possible then use the 3D tours many Universities have on their website and talk to people who are familiar with the university.
Accommodation is an important part of the experience, it is where you will make your first friends and where you will spend a considerable amount of time. Check out the accommodation on offer, consider location, transport links, catering or self catering and bathroom facilities.
Be as prepared as you can on what to expect. Research the local area, understand the expectations of the course talk to people and ask questions. Remember that even if you have been educated in an English Medium school, and visited the UK on many occasions, living and studying there will be different. A familiarity with the English Language does not necessarily equate to understanding the culture and living in close proximity to a very British student body, the cultural norms of the host country can be significantly different to those from home and this can take some adjusting too.
Develop independent study skills so you can be confident about undertaking research and writing essays once you get to university. Acquiring these skills in school will give you a good foundation to build on at University.
Use ECAS’s to build up a wide range of experiences which you can then take onto the next phase in your life. Recognise that challenging yourself in your ECA’s will develop resilience and tenacity; these will be useful qualities to have in the future. Read more here
Be aware of both physical and mental health, moving to a new environment can take its toll on both so have strategies for coping and know who to turn too if you need support.
Have a check list of what to take with you so you can be well prepared, family photos, some familiar home comforts, cooking equipment etc.(see our check list here)
Make sure you develop some independent living skills before you go; learn how to use a washing machine so you can do your own laundry, how to cook some basic dishes, as living on take aways is expensive and unhealthy; practice budgeting your money, students report that managing their finances is the single biggest source of stress.
Remember going to University is part of a bigger picture and a means to an ends of achieving a higher level or education, it will not all be perfect, there will be tough times but focus on the long term goal and never be afraid to ask for help.