How to survive a year in a British university

Studying overseas is an amazing experience and many international students choose to make the UK their destination for university. For non-native speakers of English, this is a great chance to improve your language skills as well as getting a qualification in your main subject. Studying using your second language can seem a little intimidating at first but it doesn’t need to be. Follow these tips to get the most out of your year in a British university.

Check your equivalent qualifications in the UK. You will have already done an English exam such as IELTS to prove your English level but when you are in the UK, you may want to find part-time work and for that you will need to write a CV. If your schools system is different to the UK, find what the equivalent levels are using a site such as this one for qualifications from the EU or the NARIC site for qualifications from elsewhere in the world.

Read up in advance. Most universities will send a reading list before you start the course. Read as many of the core texts as you can before you start the course. This will give you time to become familiar with the specialist English vocabulary you might need on your course and help you feel more confident when you actually get there.

Sort out your accommodation. Some universities will provide accommodation, others won’t. If your university provides accommodation, make sure you have booked it and paid in advance. If you are looking for private accommodation,  it’s common for students in the UK to share an apartment. This is a good way to save money and even get some extra English practice. If you decide to do this when you get to the UK, check for adverts in the student union or ask people on your course for recommendations. Some of the best value accommodation doesn’t get advertised online so make sure you ask around to find the best deals. Make sure you have easy access to some cash because most landlords will expect a deposit of six weeks’ rent.

Fresher’s week – don’t go crazy! The first week of term is called ‘Fresher’s week’. There are lots of parties and people often drink too much. Don’t go crazy and risk getting into bad habits early in the year. Instead, try to make some good friends who you know will be able to help you as the year goes on. It might be tempting to try and find people from your own country straight away but making a few friends from other countries is likely to help you settle in and get more from your experience.

Plan out your year in advance. There’s a famous saying ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail’. This is really true for academic study. As soon as you get your schedule for the year, plan your work around the main deadlines. Leave extra time for reading as most of the time calculations in the course will be made based on the reading speed of a native-speaker. Planning well will give you a good idea of where you have a bit of extra time that you can put to good use.

Make the most of international student support. Because the UK is very popular with international students, most universities will have support services. These are usually really good and will have expert English teachers ready to support you with your academic English. It’s worth getting a head start though, by taking some more specialised English classes before you leave.

After all that studying, it’s important to make the most of the holidays. There’s lots of time for reading and you can do it while travelling. The UK has some of the best-connected airports in Europe so make it a hub to explore during the holidays.

So, with all those tips, studying in the UK should be a rewarding experience. Enjoy it and have a great time. Remember, studying overseas can be a life-changing experience so it’s important to make the most of it.

Want to learn more? Visit our website to start learning English online today!