How to survive your first week of study abroad in England. This student guide will help you settle into this fascinating country.
Many of the students we welcome in our English language homestays love England so much they may decide to study here later on. A British university offers some of the worlds finest educational experiences that any young mind would love to explore. In this students guide we take a look at what a university student should do on their first week in England so that when they leave home they’re more equipped.
What To Do On Your First Week In England
Studying abroad is an exhilarating and invigorating experience. Being away from your home country for a long and extended period allows you to learn more about yourself, your capabilities and become truly independent. In your first week abroad you can make yourself at home in a foreign country by following these easy tips that will ensure you become more acquainted with your new country.
1. Make A New Friend:
Moving to a new country affords you the opportunity to meet new people from all walks of life. As a student you can meet other university students from various countries. To make your study abroad experience truly memorable and worthwhile you should try to find people you may not have met or interacted with in your own home country. The truth is meeting people and making friends can be hard especially since you won’t know anybody in England. But there are some great places you can go to to make some friends.
If you’re looking to meet new people you should get involved with your campuses student union. They’ll help you find the right social groups and activities.
People you have things in common with will undoubtedly become your friends over time, so joining a hobby group is a great place to meet like minded youngsters. A rotary club can also be a great place to interact with local residents who have similar interests as you. Joining a local sports club or team, drama club or even neighbourhood watch is another great way to make new friends. Finding the right group to join in your first week will make the rest of your stay more pleasant.
If you’re looking to branch away from campus life, you can also find some other social groups that could interest you. Social groups can include youth groups, volunteer organisations, and social clubs.
Finding people you have something in common with can be as easy as going online. There are many university and international student forums. You can find fun and engaging activities and events that you can attend locally. You can also find people you have things in common with. Joining a facebook group for international and foreign students will also make studying in the UK easier.
2. Open A Bank Account and Settle In To You New Home:
Now that you’re becoming a part of the English tapestry you should make every effort to do what you would if you were studying at home.
Health care and financial needs come first, so, on your first week in England make sure you take care of both.
To open a bank account you’ll need a proof of address, if you’re renting an apartment ask your landlord for this document otherwise you can use your student residence address. Opening one of the student bank accounts banks offer is also a good idea. But find out what bank accounts your local bank offers, and what would be best suited to your needs. Having a UK bank account will also help you access things in the UK later down the line that you may need.
Your health is another major aspect of your life. If you come from a country in the European Union you should apply for your European health insurance card. If you’re not from the EU you can still access quality health options through the UKs national health service.
3. Find A Job:
Student life won’t be the same without a good steady supply of income. Even if your parents are giving you an allowance, finding a job, even if it’s just part time gives you the ability to be independent and as mentioned before- is a great place to meet new friends. If you don’t need the money you could even find volunteer organisations you could join. Not only can you gain valuable life experience, but you can also gain insight into how other people live, those less fortunate than yourself.
4. Travel The Most Common Routes:
In England using public transport is quite common and as an international student you would probably use it frequently. When you move to the country though it’s quite likely that you don’t know the routes and the timetables. Instead of waiting for classes to start or until you absolutely need to know how to use the transit system become familiar with the routes you’ll need to use on a daily basis.
The British have some very reliable public transportation. If you’re looking for a quick ride to campus the bus is probably the best option. Young university students or high school students may qualify for free or reduced fare. You should be on the look out for this and ask at your local campus if this is available in your area. If you plan on travelling to airports or on longer distances in the UK the national express is another great option.
The train is a reliable means of transportation and can be the cheapest option for students. You can qualify for a 16 to 25 railcard if you’re studying in an accredited courses, which will give you 30% on all train tickets. It can take you to and from your full time or part time job. Hopping on and off is also easy and you can make your way to the train after taking the bus, if your journey requires it.
Taking a cab can be common if you’re studying in London or across the UK. While they may be pricier than ride sharing apps like Uber they’re also convenient and easy to spot. You can use them when you’re navigating through England on your first week.
Uber or Ride Share Apps:
Travelling apps have become quite popular in recent years. Giving students another affordable means to travel. This can be a great way to get around if you’ve been on campus until late and don’t feel like taking the bus home.
5. Become Familiar With Your University or School:
As a fresher becoming familiar with your university is a must. Well, even if it isn’t required by your university or college it really helps when you kick off the academic year. Don’t be afraid to wander through the campus and find out about your classes and lectures. Find activities and groups you could join and areas close by that may interest you and help you make the most of your time at university.
6. Get a Phone:
Staying in contact with your friends and family back home is another way to ensure you don’t feel homesick. So, in your first week you should get a phone. There are many options available to students, however, you should note that as an international student you probably won’t be able to get a contract phone just yet. This is because you don’t have an established British credit record and when you apply for a contract they’ll perform a credit check. Once you do have an established credit record though you can get a contract phone. But in the meantime to stay in contact with your family back home you can just get a sim card and insert it in your current phone (if this is possible) or purchase an affordable phone and sim card. Since you won’t have a contract you should also be aware that you’ll have to buy airtime and data yourself.
You can still make an international call via wifi using your campuses connection or using wifi at a library or coffee shop. This will help you save money while you’re in the UK as making international calls can be exorbitant.
7. Walk Around Your Neighbourhood:
Your new neighbourhood will become your new home for the duration of your stay. Even if it’s just a student residence. Taking a walk around the neighbourhood is a simple way to become more acquainted with those around you. If you do it on a weekend you’ll possibly be able to meet many of your neighbours. You can greet them as you pass by. You should also walk to all the places you’ll need to make use of frequently. Places like the local grocery store, the local bus stop and train station, the local coffee shop or cafe and even the local bank, post office and police station. It’s always good to know where everything is, even if you don’t need to use it. You’ll be feeling a bit more like a local if you do.
8. Take A Look At The Calendar:
One thing that differs greatly when you’re in another country is the calendar. Not Monday through Sunday but the public holidays and the other days of significance you’ll have to commit to memory. Not only that but your university may have some special days of it’s own. So, buy a calendar or day planner and mark off the days. Start with public holidays and move on to school and student events. You can also use this time to find out about any events that may take place in your neighbourhood like concerts, marathons or parades. Getting involved in these events from time to time can make you start to feel more at home.
After you’ve attended one of our English language programmes you can speak to our coordinator about any assistance we may be able to offer when you apply for a student visa.