Going to study in another country, another culture and possibly somewhere with another language can be a daunting prospect. In this blog post, I’m going to share some tips to help you prepare for starting at a UK university from an international student perspective.
Get ready for British life
First arrivals – international students by air
The University of York offers a Manchester airport collection service for new international students who come to the UK by air on certain dates. For students who will arrive at other UK airports, you can prepare by checking your travel guide.
The weather in the UK is rarely extreme, but it can change quickly. The UK is often associated with rain; but the rain doesn’t come all in one season. It can come at any time of year, and on any day!
It’s important to wear what you feel comfortable in, but you’ll probably find that there are some common and key items kept in most students’ wardrobes:
- Jumpers, cardigans or hoodies
- Waterproof shoes for rainy and snowy days
- Trainers or other comfortable shoes
- Winter coats, gloves, a scarf and a warm hat
- A smart shirt, blouse or dress, and smart shoes for evenings out or attending the job fairs.
You’ll be able to travel to most places during your time in the UK, whether you’re based in the city or countryside. You may also want to invest in a 16-25 Railcard or a 26-30 Railcard, which will save you a third on all rail fares.
University bus services
You can travel between Campus East and Campus West for free. It’s quick and easy to travel between campus and the city centre by bus, using the First York University services. You can also download the First Bus App to easily plan your journeys and buy tickets.
Sort your student accommodation
As an international student, accommodation is one of the most important things to prepare for, as it will be where you will spend most of your time in the UK. There are many options for student accommodation in the UK depending on your budget. Most students either live in University accommodation or choose to rent a room from a private landlord. I’m going to focus on campus accommodation.
The college system
York is one of a handful of UK universities with a college system. Every student will be a member of one of our nine colleges throughout their time at York. The colleges are more than just halls of residence. Our college is also a built-in community, which offers supports and guidance via a team of college tutors and staff, and activities and events. It will provide many opportunities to meet new people and help international students to make friends and settle into York.
Rooms and prices
The University offers a variety of room options with reasonable prices. Accommodation can either be self-catered (where you have access to a shared kitchen) or catered (where your meals will be provided at the college canteen). The room types vary from en-suite to a shared bathroom. There is a 360 view of each type of the room available on the website which will help you virtually explore the room offered in each college.
Prep for studying
Once you have enrolled in your programme, you will be able to log in to Yorkshare (VLE) (Virtual Learning Environment).
Make sure that you check out the information posted for your programme. Arrive in time to take part in all the welcoming events and presentations during ‘Welcome Week’ too. These will help you to get orientated and prepared to begin your study.
Student Discount and stationery
There are many student-friendly services available online and in-store for you to explore. I would firstly recommend UNiDAYS, which gives you access to the best student discount online and in-store with all the leading brands and merchants. It is free to join and easy to use. You can easily verify your student status by creating an account and then enjoy your benefits!
Shopping for stationery should always be high on your agenda. Here is a list of stationery outlets which you can easily find them both located in the York city centre and online.
- Flying Tiger Copenhagen (aka Tiger): Unit 21 Coppergate Shopping Centre, YO1 9NT
- Ryman: 8 High Ousegate, Street, YO1 8RZ
- WHSmith: 39 – 41 Coney Street, YO1 9QL
- Paperchase: 6-10 Coney Street, YO1 9NA
- Last but not least, the online giant Amazon.
Getting connected with others
The UK is culturally diverse and welcomes people from all parts of the world. As an international student, you will find plenty of fellow international students around the University. Besides, most will have student societies to help you meet like-minded people, and those from similar backgrounds
I would also recommend searching for Facebook groups related to the university and even your programme. There are also some official student groups created for both local students and international students. Prepare for your transition and discuss any questions you have and even make some friends before you arrive.
I hope you enjoy your time at York! Read more blogs from international students.