An estimate says, nearly 15% of total students enrolled in UK universities are from different nations. Be it in a local pub or a street-side eatery; one can easily recognise them for the different accents and outlooks they carry. They are in huge numbers because of the world-class education imparted at the British universities along with state-of-the-art facilities. They also get to take part in discussions and debates widely conducted in these institutions.
However, there’s another side to this story as well. The world-class educational experience also comes with its own set of challenges for an international student. If you are reading this article, you probably aim to get enrolled in one of those prestigious UK universities of Oxford or Cambridge. So, it’s better to get acquainted with the issues a non-UK student faces there. It will help you prepare in advance for a smooth educational journey abroad.
5 common problems a non-UK student faces while staying there:
- The British accent
When staying in the UK, you will notice a variation in dialect and accent after every 25 miles of travel. You may be trying to familiarise yourself with the accent of a region when a day’s travel introduces you to an entirely new one. That may get confusing. For example, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scotland are all at proximity to each other. However, English spoken in all these regions is different.
The critical thing you need to know when facing a language barrier is whether you can understand and communicate rightly or not. Don’t try to copy their accent. Instead, try speaking grammatically correct English in a standard tone. Ensure that what you mean is being conveyed rightly.
- Use of Euphemism is Britain
Euphemism takes a firm root in the British culture. They may use indirect speech too often yet politely to convey exactly how they want the treatment. For instance, on asking them how they are, you may be cut short with a polite reply in a deniable tone to convey that they don’t want you asking it any further. It can be a little tough interacting with the Brits.
So, instead of trying to mingle too hard, you may take subtle cues from their replies and decide whether to further the conversation or not accordingly. It may be a little harsh and odd in the beginning, but eventually, you will get used to this cultural pragmatism.
- Separate taps for cold and hot waters
The history behind the two-taps theory of the Brits is fascinating. Its origin dates back to the period after World War II. People started using two taps as a measure to cut the wastage and save water. Till date, they use it the same way.
Non-UK students may find it difficult to use water from both taps. So, here’s the hack. Measure the distance of the two taps and make two holes at the same distance on a long empty bottle. When using the tap, fix the holes to the tap’s water-dispensing end and open them together. There you go, sorted with hot or cold confusion.
- Cabbies or Google map?
Similar looking streets may confuse you when travelling with the help of Google map. Instead, you should prefer to ask the cabbies who provide better directions. Cab drivers in the UK are thorough with the routes of any nearby landmark in a given locality. They may also prove to be more useful than the maps when suggesting hidden nooks and crannies of a road or street.
Sounds more like a lifesaver than an issue, isn’t it? So, use it to the fullest!
- Discrimination by race
Although racial discrimination for non-UK students is not a pressing issue in Britain, you must go prepared against any instance of the kind. On the contrary, if you land up being discriminated, be it through physical or verbal abuse, stay prepared with the rights you have as an international student in Britain.
Avoid getting into any friction with the localites, be it an argument or a quarrel. Also, try not to be too friendly from your end unless they initiate.
For other issues like financial shortage while staying in Britain or if you want to make some extra bucks, you have an option to take a part-time job. You can also try applying for scholarships offered to non-UK students there. Rest, stay safe and try using cards more than cash. Following this advice can take you smoothly through issues arising during your university years in Britain.