Are you looking for the full study abroad experience? Don’t you want to miss out anything? My collection what I think lot of student tending to miss out during their stay in UK. Based on my and my friends experiences. Be smart and learn from our mistakes.
Stick together with your friends or flatmates all the time.
If you are lucky to have friends from your country around you might spend most of your free time with them. It is OK in the beginning but try not to make a habit later. You have a great opportunity to get know people from other countries and cultures so why not? Think about it, you will return to your country soon and start working. Maybe never have a chance again.
Unfortunately, it is happening too often. Chinese, Thai or Indian students living together maybe even study in the same class. I do not ask to abandon your friends but be open for others.If you live with same nationality people, watch your television or videos on the Internet, go out only with those friends.. Not much chance to practice English and get know others right?
Not getting all the information about regulations
You will spend in the country at least 1-2 years. Be sure you are aware all the regulations.
- If you rent a house you have to register with the local council even you do not have to pay council tax as a full-time student. Your institution provide you the letter for the council. (even if you share the house with others who are not students)
- If you are on student visa you only can work limited hours/week. More information here.
- If you did work part-time during your study and summer holiday, before you leave the country you can claim back your tax.
And so on… Be sure you know these. Some of them mentioned before in previous posts. Student work in UK
Shy to talk because you are not confident with your English.
Please dare to talk! In my experience sometimes students from Asia very shy to talk in English at the beginning. Do not be! Best way for practice. Obviously if you made it to UK, you scored your IELTS or TOEFL exam but still lot of student lacking of good speaking skills. I am quite sure classmates or teachers wont laugh on your accent or pronunciation. The people in the UK really appreciate if you try and most of them quite polite and patient. So do not worry. If you still worry then talk to your classmates from other countries. Probably you will feel more confidence. Don’t be like some of those Chinese students I met, after 1-2 years study in UK they still hardly speak.. I wonder how they do their studies.
Not attending the induction week.
This is the first week of your program. They will show you around and give you all the necessary information about your program and living in UK (how to open bank account, how to register to a doctor, etc.). It might sounds but you can get know your classmates and teachers. You will feel more relaxed when the classes start. Sometimes even a short trip included (and the price included in your tuition fee, so why not enjoy some trip?).
Missing out university organised student events, parties.
Big mistake. OK most of these parties you cannot drink alcohol . However, another good chance to meet international students and get new friends, networking. It might be not much fun like go to pub or club but useful. I have to admit I could not attend them because I was busy work but I heard many great stories. Many institutions organise events for international students so you can meet others from other classes.
Not going out with your classmates to restaurants or clubbing.
Same as above. Only difference you organise yourself! The class or group can go out to some nearby pub to have a drink or meal. All the pubs, restaurants and clubs smoke-free in UK so it is quite pleasant even if you are a non-smoker as I. In addition, house parties are great fun. People there even more relaxed so more chance to get close to your classmates. Of course, you have to find a balance between partying and study. There is a time to study hard and there is for fun.
Not travel around and use your student travel discounts.
As I mentioned in my previous post there are great opportunity to travel around. There will be quite a lot breaks during your course and long weekends. Get your student travel card for train and use your student discount on buses. If you plan your trip in time, it could be quite cheap. Do not sit in your room and waste your time watching Youtube clips or chatting on Facebook.
Miss out food parties.
I am quite sure if you are study in university at bachelor or postgraduate level the class will be mixed with people all around the world. Therefore, there is a good chance to try each others food and learn how to cook. I would never have a chance to try authentic Indian, Thai or Sri Lanka food if I not live abroad and meet those great people. In summertime, having barbecue is great fun. You can do it in some public parks too what is even better!
Not to shop around
You might think UK is expensive (in many ways it is) but surprisingly one can find many great deals. I am quite a fan of outdoor high-tech, lightweight clothes and gadgets. I could never find that stuff that cheap at home like in UK. I do not say blow your money, just keep your eyes open. Many of my friends from China and Thailand often shopping in outlets and find great deals, if you can afford to buy brands like Burberry or Zara, sometimes can get it for half-price or less. Even if you are on a tight budget can find good stuff.
Not to stay for work after you finished your study
Regarding to the UK Border Agency, postgraduate students can apply for work permit up to 2 years after completed their course. (Non-EU students) It is indeed a great opportunity to work in UK and get work experience, references for your future carrier. In addition you can earn back your tuition fee.. Anyway, if you planning to work foreign companies in your home country, with 1-2 years work experience from UK can boost your chances.it is quite difficult at the moment in UK but you should try anyway.
Some university program provides intern-ships (paid or unpaid) 3-6 months, which is not like, work for 1-2 years but still better than nothing. Often good students manage to get a job from the company, which provide the intern-ship. Do it anyway.
As always, if you think I missed out something do not hesitate to comment and add it.