Wednesday, March 2, 2011

10 Tips for Students in the UK

By Paula Dierkins,

International students in any country are initially plagued by homesickness, loneliness and doubt; however, with some careful planning and disciplined behavior, they can turn their academic experience in the UK to one that they remember positively for the rest of their life. If you’re ready to leave for the UK for graduate (or undergraduate) studies, here are a few tips to help you cope:
  1. Prepare for your stay in the UK months before you’re scheduled to arrive – you may have secured admission to a university, but ask about accommodation and food options and ensure that you have a definite place to stay when you get to your college.
  2. The system of education may be completely different from what you’ve been accustomed to so far, so read up on university academics in the UK, particularly about the course you’ve signed up for. Your schedule is likely to change by the week or by the term, and you may have to complete a certain number of hours for the completion of each course. If you know what’s expected of you, it’s easy to stay ahead.
  3. Ensure that you have the right kind of clothes before you land in the UK – most parts of the country are very cold and you may need warm clothes like coats and sweaters when you leave the airport. Check the web or ask the university for help.
  4. Find other students from your home country to befriend, but ensure that you don’t limit yourself to their company alone. You can start out by seeking solace in familiarity, but be open to interacting with students of all other cultures and communities as well.
  5. If you struggle with the English language, see if you can take a few classes on campus. Talk to your student counselor and ask about the options available to you. You must be fluent in English if you want to understand your teachers and your fellow students, and if you wish to work part or full time.
  6. If you find it hard to cope with the food that is available locally, check with your landlord if you can cook your own food or if you can find more preferable options elsewhere. Ask other students, especially those from your own country, and check the web too for alternatives.
  7. Check your student immigration terms to see if you’re eligible to work in the UK. Before you start working, find out how many hours you’re allowed to work during term time and if you need to pay tax or insurance because you’re an individual earner.
  8. If you’re working part-time, ensure that you keep up with your academics and that work does not become a distracting factor that lowers your grades.
  9. Plan your leisure time wisely and get as much studying as you can during term time instead of putting it all off just before your exams are due.
  10. Follow the rules and laws of the country on and off campus – you don’t want a criminal case against you when you’re a student, so be wary of trusting people and being led into activities that could have criminal or fraudulent intent.
This guest post is contributed by Paula Dierkins, who writes on the topic of Online PhD Degree. Paula can be reached at her email id: paula.dierkins[@]gmail[.]com

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