Study in the UK – What You Need to Know

February 4, 2016

Each year, thousands of students come to the UK to experience the cultural diversity and quality teaching that the UK education system has to offer. Our comprehensive guide on what to expect when you get there covers everything from the UK climate to how to get around when you get here.

Preparing for study in the UK
Once you have been accepted onto your course, the preparation for your journey to the UK will begin. Prepare well in advance of your journey to give yourself time to make any last minute changes to your arrangements if needed. The school or college where you will be studying should send you an information pack before your journey to the UK which will outline everything you need to know before travelling. Read it carefully and contact your country manager if there is anything you don’t understand. You may also want to have a look at your place of study online to get to grips with the surrounding area and what to expect when you arrive at your destination.

When you first arrive in the UK you will find lots of help and support to help you settle into UK study. Most UK schools and colleges hold welcome events for international students over a seven day period which gives you the chance to meet people who will be on your course. It’s also a great way to meet likeminded people who are new to the UK.

Getting the right visa
If you wish to study in the UK you will need the right visa. You should apply for your visa at least three months before you plan to study. Generally, to apply for a student visa you will need to be accepted onto a course which involves at least fifteen hours of organised study each week.

You must also be able to pay for your course and be able to live and study in the UK without needing UK funding. When you have applied for your student visa you must intend to follow through with your chosen course and intend to leave the UK once you have completed your studies. As well as an up-to-date passport, tuberculosis test results are also required from residents of some countries.

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Using public transport
Whilst you study in the UK, it’s important to know the fastest, most convenient way to get around. Whether you are making your way to the classroom, doing some sightseeing around the UK or visiting your local supermarket, you’ll need to know the best way to get there.

If your UK study takes you to one of the major cities such as London and Manchester, the fastest and most convenient way to get around is via the underground network (sometimes referred to as the “tube”) or tram system that they provide. They run regularly throughout the day with the last tram and underground train running around midnight. These networks usually offer long-term passes at a discounted price which is ideal if you are studying in the UK for a longer period of time.

The UK rail network is continuously improving with hundreds of trains running regularly and on time throughout the UK. Taking the train is a fast and efficient way to travel across the UK and especially in and out of London.

If you are an international student, money can be tight so many students opt for the bus as it is the most cost effective way of getting around. The bus is the most popular form of transport if you wish to travel locally and into surrounding areas.

UK weather and climate

The UK has a reputation for having cold, dreary weather all year round. Although this may be true for parts of the year, the weather as whole is usually better than most international students assume. The UK typically has a temperate climate all year round however it is known to very changeable so be prepared for the unexpected. The autumn and winter months are characteristically wetter and colder so it is advisable to bring clothing you can layer – a hat, scarf and gloves is also advisable especially during the winter months.

The UK can be known for its wet summers and although you should expect rain, the summer days are usually very pleasant and warm. As the UK is an island, it does receive a large amount of rain during any season so it may be wise to purchase an umbrella during your stay!


Adapt to a new social environment

Arriving in the UK can be a bit of a culture shock at first as you settle into UK study, meet lots of new people and acclimatise to your new surroundings. Something you may not be used to is the British cuisine. Many international students may find the food slightly bland, or heavier than what they are used to at home. However, being a multicultural society, the UK has welcomed foreign cuisines as part of the norm and you can find many restaurants and specific supermarkets which sell and cook your favourite food. British cuisine does cater to a varied palette with countless flavours and combinations that will more than likely appeal to your taste buds.

The UK has a number of social behaviours that you may not be used to at home. For example, coming into contact with many people for the first time in a larger city could be quite daunting as people may appear cold, distant and in a hurry. Don’t worry, once you get to know people and talk to them on a one-to-one basis, you will find people are very friendly and happy to help if you need it. As you take in your new social environment you may be surprised to see couples holding hands and kissing in public. In the UK public displays of affection between couples are much more informal and people can express their relationship freely if they so wish. The UK also has a less formal attitude towards same sex social interaction and relationships.


About English Study Breaks

We are based in the UK and therefore can deal with any problems you might have as soon as they arise. We have country managers all over the world so students can speak to someone in their native language at any time during their stay. We also have a developing network of sub-agents so we can offer the same service as locally-based agents for reliable communication whenever you need it.