International Students In The UK: How To Settle Into Your New Home!
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Moving away from home always poses some challenges, but for international students in the UK, there are a few different things to consider, especially for those who have been settling in during the tough period of the pandemic over the course of 2020 and 2021.
Although moving into new student accommodation is always daunting, it can also be a really nice process, trying new things, making new friends and exploring a new town or city that will be your home for the coming months or years.
There are a few ways you can settle into your new home, and we’ve put together a list, based on the experience of international students who have been through it and some tips from our own experience.
1. Prepare for the British weather and lifestyle
You’ll have heard all about how wet and windy the UK is and I’m afraid it is all true!
It is cold and wet for much of the year and we might have a ‘summer’ for two weeks or something in May or June if you’re lucky!
Before moving to the UK, pack waterproofs, warm clothes and prepare to layer up at any time of the year.
It can often be a real shock to the system for international students arriving in the UK, so be as prepared as possible. It’s always better to have too much prepared than not enough.
2. Make your bedroom cosy
As soon as you move into your new student accommodation in the UK get to work making your bedroom as cosy and comfortable as you can.
This will be your haven, your base for your time living in the UK and you want it to be your real and genuine home.
Put out your favourite things all around you, have plenty of photos of family and friends back home and set up a dedicated space to work, a space to rest and chill out and ensure it is an enjoyable home to relax and recharge away from uni life.
3. Set up a student bank account
If you are going to be studying in the UK for longer than a few months, it makes sense to set up a student bank account as soon as you can.
It will make everything much easier to pay your bills, to keep your money secure and to eliminate the rates and charges associated with foreign currency exchanges.
You might be able to start the process in your home country, but always check what forms of identities and other details you will need to set the account up with the bank of your choice, to minimise delays once you move to the UK.
4. Mingle and make friends
Within your student accommodation try not to be shy (even if you are naturally a shy person).
Everyone is in the same boat, knock on doors, use the communal areas and mingle with other students in your accommodation and on your course at university.
This is a great way to break down barriers, overcome any worries you have and to begin that process of making friends and having support in your new home.
You’ll be spending a lot of time with your coursemates, and a lot of time in your student accommodation, so the more comfortable you feel with the people around you, the better your time will be.
5. Embrace other international students in the UK
It is also important to embrace other international students in the UK. This country is diverse and welcoming, and you’ll find that there are many students from all over the world, no matter which university you attend.
Join societies and groups, make friends on Facebook groups before you arrive and meet like-minded people to create a support network as soon as you can.
6. Are you protected with health insurance?
None of us want to get sick or to suffer an injury, but it’s best to be prepared just in case. The NHS in the UK is superb, but with Brexit there have been changes to how health insurance works for international students, depending on whether you arrived in the UK before 31st December 2020 or after.
For EU students or those from the EEA or Switzerland before 31st December 2020, all you need is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), and you are entitled to free or reduced healthcare through the NHS.
As the UK is now outside of the EU, International students in the UK from this year on will have to pay a health surcharge as part of a visa application, but it is also important to have an EHIC as well as regular health insurance.
7. Get to grips with public transport
When you first move to the UK, it is best to familiarise yourself with public transport as soon as possible, learning how to get around on the local bus and train networks.
Some cities might have trams and underground stations, there might be free bus services for students to and from campus or you might find a student bus pass to take advantage of.
Take the bus and the train, get a bike and cycle round, as these are all great ways to get to know a new town and discover areas away from the student areas that you’ll spend most of your time in.
8. Try British Food
A great way for international students in the UK to acclimatise and settle into their new home is to get out there and try the local cuisine.
British food might have a bad rap in some places, and you might just be thinking of the stereotypical dishes, but they are great!
Give proper fish and chips a try, eating straight out of wrapping paper on a blustery day by the seaside, go out for a big roast dinner on a Sunday in a cosy pub and sit by the fire, start the day with a full English breakfast and head to the local curry house late at night to sample the British-Indian classic dish of chicken tikka masala.
We hope you found these tips for international students in the UK useful. Of course, moving to a different country to study can be daunting at first, but it’ll be so worth it. You’ll meet new people, experience new things and have an amazing time! Our luxury student accommodation is right at the heart of it all, offering a comfortable base for everyone.