Are you planning on studying in the UK, in the New Year? Leaving home for the first time is exciting and scary. From my experience, I believe the more information and support mechanisms you have in place the more you can able relax. I have few suggestions on how you can prepare to study as international student in the UK.

Finding a university

So you have found some a college/university that offers the progamme you wish to follow. It’s wise to check that they are recognized by the UK Home Office. You can also check the league tables to see how well they have performed over the previous academic year.

Funding

The library and the internet is your friend, to find out scholarships and bursaries. Get to digging. If you country has a British High Commission, find out if there’s a library that’s accessible to the public. Their library may have information on scholarships offered and for what programmes.  You can also check with the Ministry of Education, in your country, there may be a department that handles scholarship information. The Commonwealth Scholarship is well known, so competition is high . Some universities offer bursaries for certain programmes, no harm in looking and asking. You may be already have funding for tuition and accommodation but need extra money for the day to day. If you are considering working during semester breaks, check the UK Home Office website to find out what the rules are; this is also important if a spouse and/or children will be joining you. (Their press releases also give info on the UKs current concerns) University International Student Officers can also give some guidance on immigration and working in the UK.

Formal Application

You must apply to you university/college via Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website . You will have your own unique number which you can use to track the process and accept your place if its offered. You may need that number to apply for your student visa. The university International Student Office can best advise you. The Home Office website is a wealth of information to ensure that you are doing what you should and that you have all the relevant paperwork.  Social media can be helpful. There may be Facebook groups or a Twitter accounts that you can follow to source information as well.

Forging support networks

Finally, and no means least learn about your host country, the people, culture, heritage, cost of living and so on. I still have my copy of the Lonely Planet England! It’s also a good idea to register yourself at your country’s embassy in London, if there’s one. They may host events during the year that you can attend which are excellent networking opportunities. Seize every positive opportunity that comes your way to develop and be a better you, because dreams do come through.

Let me know, if I left out anything that might be useful to international students and do Feel free to share you experience and tips in the comment box below.

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