Student Life in the UK
The United Kingdom (UK) has always being considered a major educational hub for students across the world. With many of its universities ranked in the top 100 universities across the world, UK has never lost its charm with the student community. UK has been a preferred destination for students from India. As an international student, you may come across a lot of enriching experiences which could help you discover a new dimension to your personality. You will have opportunities to meet new people and discover new places. The country is known for its contemporary and progressive culture, yet it holds out a rich history and tradition. Your stay as an international student will broaden you sense of responsibility and will give you insight into different cultures and lifestyles. In addition to the quality of academic training, it might have tremendous value which might help propel your career to great heights. Here are some tips to help you improve the quality of your student life in the UK:
Settling In and Making Friends
During your first few weeks in UK, you will find a lot of support to help you get familiar with the place. Before you get started, it is important that you first register yourself with the police and with a doctor. Most colleges and universities hold special session for international students, where the staff members guides you through the campus and local area. Besides these, a lot of universities organize Freshers' week, where you can expect parties and events to help you socialize and meet students. Though it may all sound exciting but coping with a life in a new country can be tough too. It is absolutely normal to feel so and there are a lot of ways you can help yourself to deal with it. It is always advisable to interact with fellow students and make new friends. In fact, you may come across other international students who, like you, are new to the country and are looking for new friends. Also, you can spend more time with people from your country. Many colleges and institutions have an international society to help foreign students. These societies offer social programmes such as festive celebrations, parties, get-togethers and trips to local tourist destinations. Always remember, the easiest way to make friends is to be friendly! Start a conversation with a person sitting next to you in class or attend discussion groups.
Academic Culture in the UK
UK's academic culture is different from the Indian education system. It may take a while for you to get used to the education system in UK. In UK, you are encouraged to be creative and explore new ideas. You may often be required to do your own analysis and research or work with groups for projects.
The education system in UK is very interactive; the idea is to have fun while you learn. Your guide or teacher will encourage you to share opinions and lead discussions. Academic expectations may vary according to the field of study, the level of study and the institution.
UK offers various modes of transportation to the student community. Usually student get by walking or cycling, using public transport and taxis. If you regularly use bus services then it is always a great idea to make bus passes. As a student, you may get special discounts on travel cards/ passes. You may contact the Student union group for further assistance. For long distance travelling you can use the tube trains.
Entertainment & Food
UK is an incredible mix of culture whether you go to a club, cafeterias, pubs, concert halls, music festivals or gigs. Cultural events are regularly organized by students groups and independent artists and bands perform at university and college areas. Apart from this, you can go visit museums, exhibitions, monumental places and art galleries. The country is renowned for its literary and performing arts heritage, with regular theatrical performances it encourages the tradition to thrive.
(Also read: Cost of living in the UK - Guide for Indian Students)
Being an international student, you may find a little difficulty adjusting to the food habits in UK. It is always good to adapt and try out different cuisines. You may find restaurants and cafes offering menus with ethnic influences. Not to forget the English breakfast of fish and chips. Also, preparing and sharing a traditional meal from your home country is a great way to make new friends.
Finding the right place to live is always an uphill task. You should be clear about your choice of accommodation and equip yourself with all information regarding availability. Many students prefer to stay close to their place of study. This helps out in balancing cost and convenience. Usually, for foreign students most universities have independent halls of residence known as the International Student House (IHS), which you may apply for. Catered halls, which provide meals, is a good option depending on your food preferences. Information on this should be available on the institution's website you are/going to be part of. Otherwise the institute may help you find alternative housing facilities such as shared private houses. One should be careful before entering into an agreement with regard to housing. However, think what is best suited for your needs and make a decision accordingly.
Sports and leisure activities
Sport is a great way to unwind and boost your mood. Taking up a hobby, whether purely for fun or improving health and fitness, is an exciting way to make new friends who share your interest. Most institutions provide sports facilities and as a student you may find numerous opportunities to participate in various sports activities. Also, you can join different clubs and societies such as a dance club or a music club or get involved in some social and charitable events. Students may find several options to explore and engage in recreational activities. UK is known for its scenic beauty, you can indulge in adventurous activities such as mountain trekking, cycling or camping.
"Student life in the UK", http://www.britishcouncil.in/study-uk/student-life-uk
"International students in the UK education", http://www.educationuk.org/india/articles/international-students-in-uk-education/
"Choosing Accommodation", http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/International-Students/When-you-arrive/Choosing-accommodation/
"Being a student in London", http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/life/index.php?fid=17&page=1