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Top Mistakes International Students Make When Studying in the UK

If you’re planning on studying in the UK soon, there’s obviously going to be a lot on your mind. It’s a brand new country, a new thrilling experience! You’re going to get blown away by it all.

And because everything is so new, you it’s very easy to get blindsided and make a bunch of mistakes that many students coming to the UK make.

The thing is, you and your family have probably have had to spend quite a bit on helping you study in the UK, so any mistake you make, can prove quite costly. So how about instead you learn from other peoples mistakes and avoid making the same ones, so you can then focus on making the best of your time in the UK?

Today we’re discussing the top mistakes international students make when when moving to the UK and how you can avoid them.

With that, let’s dive in.

1. Not Packing Carefully

The first BIG mistake you can make when moving to the UK is packing incorrectly. Taking too many of the wrong things and too few of the right things can be quite an expensive mistake.

Let me give you an example

Irrespective of which month you move to the UK in, it will be cold eventually. It will also get hot. It will rain. It might snow. Your inclination will be to pack lots of warm jackets. Which is fine. But here’s the thing, warm jackets take up a lot of place. And that’s something you’ll be short on when moving.

Instead pack one warm jacket, more lighter jackets or sweatshirts because dressing in layers in the UK is a smarter way to go about it. And the fact is that if you feel the need for another, buy one when you get here. There’s a huge pre-loved culture so you can pick up something in great condition at a fraction of the price.

Another mistake people make is not buying the right electronics before moving here. Electronics are more expensive in the UK than most other countries. So if you’re laptop has been giving you challenges for a while now, buy a new one before you get here. The same goes for your phone.

If you’re Indian, you’ll be tempted to pack Indian snacks. Don’t. You get them all here. You get spices here. You can your local cooking utensils.

Instead pack your meds. Pack your skincare if you problematic skin. If you plan on coming back after your studies don’t overpack or you’ll have to leave stuff behind while returning.

2. Not Securing Accommodation

Another huge mistake students make while coming here is not securing their accommodation. If you watched my interview with Haniwant, an international student in the UK, you’ll see that finding good student accommodation can be quite a challenge in the UK.

Good university accommodation is expensive and difficult to come by.

A really good option to consider here is to book your accommodation before you get to the UK and Amber is one such really good website that lists out properties across the UK. The listings are verified so you don’t have to worry about getting conned, there’s expert 1 on 1 assistance if you have any questions and a price match guarantee which basically means if you see a property listed for lower anywhere else, Amber will match the lower price, which is great if you ask me.

And the rooms like pretty great if you ask me. So avoid yourself the hassle of having to look for accommodation after you get here by booking accommodation in advance.

3. Not Researching Grants & Scholarships

So here’s the thing. There are a ton of scholarships and grants available to study in the UK and if you haven’t considered them, you’re losing out.

Most scholarships cover tuition. Some cover tuition and housing. Others cover even your travel tickets, the cost of books, cost of clothing.

Students who often excel at university also may be eligible for financial assistance from the state or other agencies.

And all of these can drastically bring down your expenses.

I cover the available scholarships from time to time and you can also check with your university on options available and google it from time to time to know what your options are.

Oh by the way, Amber has a scholarship for up to £5,000 at the moment, if you want to check them out.

4. Not Preparing for Classes

If you’ve been just going with the flow in your college back home, you might be in for a bit of a shock.

I mean my undergrad class back home had 80 students so it was really easy to blend in. But seminars and tutorials have typically smaller batches of students so you might not have that option. To add to it, you will be treated as an adult, which means it is expected of you to do the required reading, research and come prepared to not just learn but also contribute to the class.

With most students, this isn’t a challenge early on, but as time goes by, they do tend to get complacent, and spend more time working or hanging with friends.

Do remember, if you don’t pass, your visa can be revoked so its important for you to keep your eye on the ball.

5. Not Socialising Beyond Your Network

When you move to the UK, it’s easy for you to stick to your comfort zone and be friends with people who probably come from the same country as you.

I mean its natural that you’ll look for comfort in the familiar. But you’ll need to remind yourself to step out of your comfort zone with time because if you wanted to socialise with people from your home country, you could have done that back home.

Instead, make the effort to meet people from different countries and backgrounds.

You might realise that not all your English classmates love fish n chips and that not all the French are how Emily in Paris portrayed them. Or are they? You tell me.

6. Not Following Visa Rules

Next up. Read the dos and don’ts on your visa carefully before you do anything stupid.

Like start a YouTube channel!

Here’s the thing, as a student you aren’t allowed to be self employed in the UK. So technically, you can’t have your own YouTube channel that earns you money. So you might want to be careful with that. Because if you get caught, you’ll be in some trouble.

Another rule is you can’t work more than 20 hours a week. So make sure you read your visa letter carefully to understand what you can and can’t do.

7. Not Managing Your Time

When you start your course in the UK, time is going to fly by faster than you expected.

You’ve gotta attend your classes.

And then there is project work

And if you have a part time job, that’s going to take up quite a bit of your time

And obviously you’ll want to explore the UK because there’s a lot to see

And UK pubs.

And of course, you’ve gotta call your folks back home.

Suddenly, you realise you’re behind on everything and you’re in trouble my friend.

So the smart thing to do is make a timetable or even productivity and time management tools and there ones that are simple like Todoist or if you want something more robust you’ve got Notion which has free option for individuals.

8. Not Understanding Rules & Culture

When you come to the UK, you’ve gotta understand that you aren’t in your country any more and you need to respect the tules and culture of the UK.

Am I saying you need to speak, eat and dress like your British?

No absolutely not. I love eating a good chicken tikka as much as the average Indian and I don’t get the fascination with fish and chips.

But am I going to blast my Hindi music from my car? Nope.

Understand what social etiquette is followed here, what are the boundaries within which people operate.

For example most services here are very punctual. Trains and busses leave exactly on the dot. If you’re late by even a minute, you’ve missed it. Talking loudly in a train or bus is frowned upon because its inconsiderate to others. Littering is an absolutely NO NO. You are expected to queue up for everything from buying a cup of coffee to entering a train.

And if you want to enjoy your time here, learn to be considerate for the people who already live here.

9. Not Asking For Help

Yes you are expected to be an adult and probably a rather smart one if you’ve gotten in university here.

But that doesn’t mean you are expected to know everything.

You will be thrown into situations where you won’t know a lot of things. YouTube can only educate you on so many things. So it’s important to know it’s ok to ask for help.

I’ve been here 2 years and there’s still so much I don’t know and I make it a point to ask friends or locals from the UK whenever I meet them. You have the option of asking other students, the student office, friends, relatives and even joining local communities on WhatsApp or Facebook for extra support.

Also, do remember to have the details of your embassy in the UK in case of any emergencies.

Now in case you aren’t aware, there’s a bunch of things you need to do as an international student when you just move to the UK. And they’re absolutely crucial for you to be able to live here.

If you want more info on that, you want might to watch this.

Until next time!

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