The transition from high school to college is the most important period in every student’s life. It is the time when you decide who you are going to be and what you are going to do with your life. It goes without saying that it can be confusing and a bit scary, but when you make your final decision and cross the bridge taking you to college you have always wanted to attend, it will all become clear and you will be one step closer to the career of your dreams.
If you have made a decision to attend a particular college in the UK, you can be sure that it will result in a rewarding experience, since you will be presented with a world-class education. However, moving to the UK (or going anywhere else abroad) and starting a whole new life can be overwhelming, to say the least. You will be leaving your family and going to a new country, where everything (perhaps even the language) may be completely unfamiliar to you.
It is quite a challenge, but it can be a very exciting one. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. The following tips will help you understand everything that you will need to consider as an international student in the UK, so that you can ease into the UK life before you know it. Who knows – maybe you will fall in love with the country so much that you will consider staying for good and calling it home. Therefore, read on and learn how to get your life together once you arrive in the UK.
First Things First – Make Sure You Have Your Visa
If your home country is a member of the European Union, then you don’t really need to have a visa in order to study in the UK. However, this may change soon enough (probably not until 2018), since the UK is leaving the EU, but you still don’t need it at the moment.
If your home country is not a member of the EU, then you need to make sure you have the visa allowing you to enter the UK in the first place. Also, since you are going to study there, you need to make sure you have a proper visa in order to be able to do so.
If you are going to stay in the UK for more than six months, then the visa you will need is a Tier 4 student visa, so make sure you gather all the information about it and the requirements that it entails. Also, when applying for the UK visa, make sure you do it several months in advance, since the approving of visas takes a lot of time.
Find Good Accommodation
You can certainly find accommodations very easily, but looking for a place to live in all by yourself can be quite expensive. If you can afford it – awesome! However, wouldn’t it be much more fun to share accommodation with your peers? You may not know a single soul yet, but that’s why university accommodation is absolutely great.
That kind of shared living can be pretty fun and you can quickly make many new friends. Therefore, consider choosing that kind of accommodation and living in a shared dorm room, at least for your first college year. Perhaps you will make some friends for life and you can later find a flat together.
Do You Want to Work While Studying?
If you want to find a job and earn some extra money while studying in the UK, you need to know about certain restrictions regarding the UK immigration law. If you are from an EU country, you are allowed to work in the UK while studying there. Again, this may change after the UK leaves the EU but, for the time being, you can find a job if you want and earn some money on the side.
If you are from a non-EU country, different rules apply. You are allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during the holidays. However, if you are attending a private college, you are not allowed to work at all while studying.
You should know something more about working in the UK if you wish to stay there after you finish your studies. If your home country is not an EU member, you would need to switch from your Tier 4 student visa to a Tier 2 visa in order to be able to work, not to mention that your minimum salary would need to be £30000. Make sure you learn everything about the regulations and paperwork requirements if you are already thinking about staying in the UK after your studies, so that you can know what to expect.
The cheapest way to get around while traveling locally is to get a bicycle, of course. However, if you need to go somewhere further and you’re not so confident in pedalling on the UK roads, you should get a student bus pass, as you will get a lot of discounts that way.
If you are in London, for instance, the fastest way to get around is the underground or, as the locals call it, the tube. Consider getting the Oyster card, as it is the most affordable option for getting around London, and you can even use it for various other modes of transport.
Of course, there are trains and coaches for traveling around the UK, so make sure you go and ask anything you want at the local stations if you plan on taking a road trip across the UK to explore the country.
Last but not least, you can simply buy a car (if you can afford it) and go about town quite easily. If you have your driver’s licence, you can drive a car in the UK for 12 months, after which you will need to pass the UK driving test and obtain your driving license. You need to pass the UK driving theory test first, after which you need to pass your practical test.
All of this information will definitely help you get your life together when you move to the UK for college, but make sure you gather additional information for easing into the British life. Learn absolutely everything about moving to the UK, so that you can embark on your journey completely stress-free and set sails for the adventure of your life.