Challenges faced by foreign students in the UK

There are a number of hurdles that an international student needs to overcome in order to have a fruitful time at a UK based university. Here are some of them, and some suggestions on how to overcome them.

Accommodation

Finding a place to live is on top of most students’ list of priorities when choosing a university, for obvious reasons. It is also depending on where you choose to study, potentially expensive. It would be advisable to allocate a large amount of time to finding the right place. First year students have the option of the university dormitory, but once you are in your second year the choice will be pressing.

The hardest challenge will be faced by students studying in London because of the high cost of rent, but there are always opportunities for students to find a relatively cheap flat or house. There are quite a few resources, including your university’s website. Other resources include the student union (both university and national) and mainstream sites such as spareroom.co.uk & Gumtree.

Language

The English language isn’t the easiest to learn, with many words which look the same but have phonetic differences. There is a requirement to complete an IELTS or another language test, prior to being able to enrol on a UK degree. Although these courses cover a whole lot and are liable to equip you well, there are still quite a few colloquial expressions to get to terms with.

Each region of the UK has its own distinctive accent, turns of phrase and tonal gestures. It is not uncommon for people from different regions to struggle in understanding the other, so it is easy to imagine what it might be like for a foreigner. This is definitely something to consider, especially if you are looking to study in Birmingham, Manchester, or Scotland. If you do then you should consider learning Brummie, Mancunian, or Scottish – variants of the English language with their own particular sentence structure and sounds.

Fitting in

Once you’re equipped with the right variant of English, you will probably want to make new friends and see what the local area has to offer. UK culture is as rich as it is diverse but there are some generic places to meet people. Bars are one option and the student union bar is brilliant because you get to not only meet people, but interesting ones too.

If you want to socialise outside of university then you can, this means you should obviously go to a bar or pub outside of the campus. You’ll probably find that there are a plethora of choices including quiet bars, to clubs of all varieties. Whether you like RnB, House Music, or country, you will more than likely find what you are looking for.

Getting to grips with British transport

By the end of your degree, you will no doubt end up lauding the British transport system. The modernist, simple maps will guide to a number of wonderful destinations. So be sure to equip yourself with a local bus or train map in order to get you from a – b and beyond. Prices vary, and can be potentially expensive, but there are useful discounts for students. Again, it is worth asking at your student union.

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