Overwhelming and exciting – yes, that is what every international student feels when he/she comes to the UK for the very first time.
- Bank accounts
- Tuition fees
- Health insurance claims
These are the primary factors that often make you go bonkers. But, fret not, for today; we are presenting nine really helpful tips to smoothen your academic ride in the UK.
9 tips to get everything sorted in the UK!
- Planned funding
Now, this is the first criterion that you need to follow and that too without any fail. Ensuring that you have your study finances all set so that no future bumps come in your career path is what you need to focus on. EU students can avail student loans which cover tuition fees, and one can pay it back later after the course completion. In case, you are not eligible, then you have to pay a large amount of £10,000 to £35,000 every year.
You also need to get your Visa application done as the authorities will check whether you can cover the expenses or not. Loans and scholarships such as international student fund, education loans or even exchange programmes can be viable options to lessen your financial burden a bit.
- Student Visa set-up
We can divide this section easily into two broad categories such as –
EU, EEA/Swiss nationals
If you fall under these, you do not need to apply for Visa. You can easily study in the UK with your passport. The only thing you can take up is an EHIC card that gives your health insurance.
[Note: In 2016, there was a public demand to make these nationals apply for Visa. Recent updates on the same will be available soon.]
Students who are from outside EU, Switzerland or the EEA will have to apply for Visa. For those who are coming for a course, less than 6 months will have to go for the short-term Visa for students. Others who are going to stay for more than 6 months need a general Tier 4 Visa. This Visa costs about £348. Some of the essentials for applying include confirmation of acceptance studies or CAS, proof of your finances, your English language aptitude, etc. You can also apply three months before you engage in the study for your Visa.
- Sort out accommodation
Where are you going to live?
A pertinent question that will crop up eventually and which you need to sort out instantly. Of course, you need your staying place to be all set up before you arrive there. Many students opt for university accommodations as they are budget friendly and also less of a hassle. You can also rent a room from local landlords.
However, the most exciting and best possible mode of accommodation is the student hall. They are comfy and save you a lot of trouble.
This also means that you get easy access to the kitchens. Time to hone your cooking skills, right?
- The British way of life
Diverse and culturally welcoming to everyone, Britain is a place that houses some societies where you can interact with other international students. As now is the time of social media boom, why not try communicating with fellow folks over Facebook?
Coming to the UK’s weather conditions, warm clothes are essential for your travel. You are not going to run the heater all day as this will land you up with a hefty electric bill.
- Health insurance check!
EU student nationals
The EHIC card is what you will only need. You are entitled to free or low charged healthcare facilities from NHS.
Non-EU student nationals
For such students, you have to pay a health surcharge. This is a part of the Visa application which will provide you with access to NHS.
Some of your extra expenses can be covered by agencies such as Endsleigh. Their offers for travel insurance are great deals.
- Opening a bank account
If you are all set to stay in the UK for more than 6 months, then opening up a bank account is a sensible decision. Doing this will help you pay your bills, have your money secured and also evade foreign currency charges.
However, this is a time-consuming process, and if you can get it done from your homeland itself, a lot of your energy gets saved! You will require a passport, visa, address proof, student status authentication and income proof certificates. Bank accounts for students are indeed beneficial as you get free overdrafts too! You can also avail a pre-paid card for the first month of your stay.
- Public transportations
The local travel services such as buses are convenient for going around the city. Getting a student pass is a plausible option.
Speaking of travelling around the city of London, you cannot miss the famous Tube! Even the Newcastle Metro is a delight to hop in. The cheapest transport card is the Oyster.
Often, international students want to travel the entire place as it is their first time. For such national travels, you can opt for a coach or a train. Furthermore, investing in a 16-25 railcard also seems a wise step to take. If you are looking at other modes of transport that will save your money, then the Megabus is a viable option.
- Calling home
You are going to feel homesick, and staying in touch with your family and loved ones is a good way to keep the pangs of nostalgia at bay. Well, good news; the UK works on GSM bands just like the rest of the world. However, people coming from North and South America or Japan will face issues as their mobiles may not work here.
If you want to call local numbers, then you can work well with the help of a PAYG SIM. Monthly credit contracts prove beneficial, and deals from GiffGaff are some of the best.
For calling home, you can go for low-cost call providers. A few of the notable ones are RebTel, Lebara and LycaMobile.
- Working hours
To avoid a steep dip in your budget, you can opt for a part-time job. Most of the international students are part-time workers. For non-EU students, the working hours can be stretched up to 20 hours straight.
For EU nationals, the work hours are flexible and can be stretched to their convenience. They can continue working even after their course gets over. However, relying on such jobs is not a feasible option to dive into at first. You need to understand the British rules and regulations clearly.
With these nine smart tips now, has the burden lessened a bit? If yes, then start prepping for your big change in your life! Get your life started in the UK for this is indeed a one-time shot.