What do international students need to know for the first term at a UK university

Currently, universities across the UK are welcoming new and returning students to campus for the first term of studies. As an international student, there are several things to consider in terms of cultural differences in a new country, starting a new course and, of course, moving to a new location. What’s important to remember is that all students will have some nerves at the start of term, but don’t forget your university is there to support you through your student journey. We’ve put our top tips for each stage of the new term together to help you navigate the first few weeks.

Arrival in the UK

Before arriving in the UK, check your institution’s website for information for international student. This should include a list of what to do before arrival, use this to plan what documents you need, how to book accommodation and register for your course. Check if your university provides an airport pick-up service to take you to your new accommodation and see if there are any groups on social media to meet other international students or those on your course before you arrive.

Take time for campus events

Your university will host a range of activities for the start of term. Some will be universal such as freshers’ fairs and course introductions but there will also be specific events and support for international students. These usually include an orientation programme which may take place online or in person. Attending orientation sessions will help you acclimatise to the culture differences, find out about the city you have moved to and give you advice. These sessions are also a good way to meet other new students who may also be away from home for the first time. Attending events when you first arrive may seem daunting, but it’s a great way to get your bearings and meet new people. You’re also likely to find trips are organised to take you around the city to places of interest so you can learn about your new location.  

Once the dust has settled

When you feel you have got into more of a routine, know your way around campus and have met some coursemates try to think about the services at your institution and if there is further support you need or societies that would help you socialise and meet other students. It’s also never too early to start thinking about your career options. While you may not be ready to participate in some career activities there are some which are appropriate for first-year students. Usually, careers fairs are held during the first term, you may not be ready to apply for roles, but it’s a great opportunity to look at career options and start understanding what employers are looking for. By doing this, you can determine where your strengths lie and what areas you need experience in. This can help you choose wisely when it comes to obtaining work experience, finding roles that will accelerate your skills for your chosen industry. Take some time to speak to your careers team, they will be based on campus and have a wealth of knowledge for students at each stage of their student journey. Don’t forget to register with GradLink as you start to consider your career options. Our site provides tailored careers advice, global jobs and the latest news for international students.

By Jen Garmston Published: Sep 23,2021

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