On education in Europe and the USA

Clever Magazine
United Kingdom Student life Daria Bella Matuznaia

Building a Foundation: Top Five Things to Take Care of Before Coming to Great Britain as a First-year University Student

The first year of university always seems like a new beginning, and it is true regarding arranging life.
However, I was thinking the opposite. Having considerable baggage of experience being an international student and living alone before applying to universities in the UK made me think that there would be nothing I haven’t seen before, and there wouldn’t be any struggle. Therefore, I spent almost no time preparing for the immersion into student life, which later negatively affected me. University student life equals adult life; paying taxes, finding an apartment, creating a local bank account and many more factors you haven’t encountered in high school. A vast to-do list overtook me right after I started university. For you to not repeat my mistakes, I created a checklist to make your shift to university as comfortable as possible.

Know your visa requirements

Getting a UK student visa can be challenging and time-consuming, so check the costs and time it takes to receive it and whether the visa you wish to receive allows you to work. Apply for the visa as soon as you get a place confirmed by the university to ensure you will be on time for the beginning of the classes in case of delays in terms of visa receipt. Even though the process of receiving a visa usually takes around three weeks, it could take up to seven weeks due to the large number of applications.

Start looking for an apartment

or book student accommodation once a place in the university is confirmed
I cannot stress this enough. The United Kingdom meets hundreds of international students yearly, and the demand for accommodations is exceptionally high. Therefore, the apartments and student accommodations with reasonable prices and quality are booked quickly. Only by taking care of it early will guarantee that accommodation will correspond with your demands. If you have any acquaintances or friends living in the city where you are moving to, put yourself in a better position by asking for some advice about the area where the university is located, as well as some student-friendly areas to live in.

Open a UK bank account

As I previously mentioned in my article “Lost in Translation: being an international student in England”(вставьте ссылку на статью), a local bank account is necessary to lead an everyday life. There is no legal requirement to have a UK bank account, but it might be helpful to pay utility bills, buy a sim card or facilitate the procedure of receiving wages if you’re planning to work. When you have a place confirmed at your university and a permanent UK address, applying for a student bank account is possible. You can do so in a local branch or online, which is even more convenient.

Familiarise yourself with the university portal

In order to save time for acclimatisation, before you arrive, accustom yourself with how to log in, submit assignments, open your schedule and perform other important daily tasks. If possible, look into the study material. This will put you in a more favourable position than those who arrive unprepared.

Bring a first aid kit

Even though most universities require students to line up health insurance, I strongly recommend bringing all the medicine you might need. Due to endless queues, making an appointment with local therapists is often difficult. Sometimes it can take up to three weeks to see a specialist using health insurance, or cost up to three hundred pounds to see a private specialist. Moreover, buying something more than Ibuprofen without a prescription is hard, and foreign drug prescriptions are invalid. Consequently, pack the necessary amount of daily medicine, if you use any, as well as your conventional drugs for flu, seasonal allergies, etc.