What the Uni websites don't tell you about preparing to study in the UK!


The UK is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for overseas students, with the number of non-EU students rising +3% to 310,000 in 2013/14 [Higher Education Standards Agency].

For many this is the first time they have left home and they need to learn the different customs, cultures and norms of an entirely new society at the same time as coping with all the pressures of studying at University.

Is it any wonder they might need a helping hand from time to time? 

"UK institutions need to work harder to take into account what a big step it is for young people from a radically different culture to get to grips with student life in the UK" 
- Guardian article
Getting grips with student life in the UK

Consider a student arriving from the far east, for the first time to study in the UK (note: Chinese students numbers increased +60% over the past 5 years, the fastest growth from any overseas country) and what they might be faced with upon arrival?

Arrival in the UK: how to get from the airport via the train station to the University?
# OU will prepare a Travel Itinerary, complete with timetables, connections which need to be made, costs, methods of payment,etc. and can arrange a door to door chauffeur service for those not wishing to brave the London Underground on day one!

Arrival at University: how to settle in to University accommodation?
# OU will help to open bank accounts, credit cards, mobile phone contracts and manage utilities including any other lifestyle concerns that may arise.

Day to day life in the UK: how to integrate?
# OU can arrange for days out to visit places in the UK, to develop and understand the culture, and to have fun - and to shop!
Survive and thrive with OU's help
In short, OU's assistance will allow foreign students to survive and thrive in the UK, taking away the hassle, leaving them free to study and to get the best value out of their time spent in the UK.

Have a look at our TOP TIPS 'Settling In' checklist for University for an idea of the sort of services we offer, or get in contact with us and have a chat. 


Things to think of / be are of / remember when heading to university for the first time

1.    Where is your accommodation?
a.    Halls?
b.    Flat / house share:
i.    Have you checked your lease
ii.    What is insured – what do you need to insure
iii.    What break clauses do you have
iv.    Be sure you know what you are committing to

2.    Can you park your car?
a.    Do you need a permit – where do you get one from?

3.    Are bills included or additional?
a.    Gas / water / electric
i.    Are they on a key that needs topping up?
ii.    Are they on a monthly contract
iii.    Take meter readings when moving in
b.    TV licence
c.    Internet
d.    Council tax- remember as a student you can get this reduced to ‘0’-but you do have to register (not just don’t pay!)

4.    How to get from accommodation to uni
a.    Time it takes
b.    Route
c.    Where to park your car / bike
d.    Do you need a bus pass
5.    How much money you have
a.    How much you may need
b.    Do you need a job as well
c.    Where to apply for work
d.    Is it best to apply to start as soon as you get there or apply with all the other students on arrival?

6.    Where are you lectures?
a.    All on the same campus?
b.    How to get to each?
c.    Who are your tutors
d.    Where is the careers office
e.    Where is the student hub (volunteering centre)
f.    Where is the student union

a.    Pretty much everywhere – get a NUS card
i.    Bank account
ii.    Gym
iii.    Travel card
iv.    Restaurants
v.    Bars
vi.    Musems
vii.    Theatre /cinema
viii.    ALWAYS ASK

8.    Remember to enrol
a.    Freshers week is so much fun, you may forget to actually let your uni know you have arrived!

9.    Bursaries
a.    Investigate extra funding. It is amazing what you may be eligible for!

10.    Where are you going to live next year?
a.    It may seem strange but you need to get this in place by Christmas!  The best accommodation goes early so plan ahead

11.    Enjoy your first year.  Year 2 & 3 you will need to knuckle down and do some work!

12.    Invest in a decent lap top and BACK EVERYTHING UP.  Note making and essays. If your lap top crashes or gets stolen.  Don’t be without your work.

13.    If you haven’t joined FB –do.  You don’t have to share your life with the world but it will keep you linked in with what is going on and where it is happening.