Studying Abroad as a UK Student: Five Things to Know
Studying abroad while at university is an opportunity to experience a new culture, expand your skill set and make great memories. Especially since Brexit, studying abroad can seem like a daunting process at first. It can be tough to navigate the ins-and-outs, so here’s five key things to keep in mind!
Choose somewhere that will be perfect for you
Any place that you choose may feel drastically different to what you’re used to at first. Minimise the culture shock and get the most out of your experience by choosing your study abroad location carefully.
- Get involved in social societies or group chats for international students; there’s no one better to understand your situation!
- Research the student culture of the country that you’re interested in – there will always be somewhere to accommodate you whether you’re a fan of big student events, looking for a more introverted environment, or one that perfectly accommodates your religious beliefs.
- Think about things that you won’t compromise on such as the weather, good study libraries or an efficient public transportation system. Studying abroad is already a big enough change without having to worry about practicalities that will affect your everyday life.
Start to think academically
Consider the academic aspect of studying abroad as well: you’re there to make great memories but also to get the most out of your studies.
- Have a look at university websites to browse courses that interest you. You can also have a closer look at the lectures and assessment details to help make up your mind.
- Learning styles vary depending on the region and university. If you prefer more interactive teaching methods for example, look for a university that incorporates this to allow you to reach your full potential.
- Don’t take too much on! If you know you’re heading to a country with a more rigorous academic environment, consider how much this will affect your experience and think about if this means that you have to compromise on your social life or mental health.
Familiarise yourself with the language
For UK students, most study abroad programmes are based in countries where English is not the first language. Although your classes may be in English, you still might face a bit of a shock in the supermarket, when making friends, or asking for directions.
- If you already are familiar with the language that you’ll be speaking, brush up on common mistakes, and consider getting a language partner to practise with before you leave. Free websites such as Hellotalk.com or conversationexchange.com give you an opportunity to find a virtual pen pal that could ease you into making new friends and feeling more confident speaking the language.
- If you’ve chosen a country which speaks a language which you don’t know at all, this is a great opportunity to start learning the basics. Consider learning key phrases and words to get around with ease. The best of experiences are immersive, so jump straight into it! Know that locals are always friendlier than you think, and no one expects you to be fluent.
Get to know the new visa process
Ever since Brexit, studying abroad in EU countries is not as simple as it used to be. This just means you need to keep in mind a few more bureaucratic details!
- The UK government website provides specific visa advice for popular study abroad countries: have a look and keep in mind that every country’s visa proceedings will differ in its own way and some require more preparation than others.
- Start gathering the documents you will need to apply for a visa or for your foreign university as soon as you can, as well as the potential costs and deadlines for submitting each one.
- Take advantage of your university advisors: they will have experience dealing with visa rules for university students and can provide you with specific advice.
- Keep up to date with university emails and attend any advice lectures that is offered on the subject.
Be sure that studying abroad is right for you
Most importantly, make sure that studying abroad is for you! It’s great to step out of your comfort zone, but make sure not to force yourself past your limits. If you know you struggle with change, or simply are more than satisfied where you’re currently studying, consider different options to make your university experience one to remember.
- Find out the deadline from your university for changing your mind, normally studying abroad comes with a low level of commitment until a certain point in the process.
- Talk to your friends and family: they could give give you advice you hadn’t thought about!
- Reach out to previous Study Abroad students for honest feedback on their experience, and what they would do differently now.
- Connect with your classmates who are also studying abroad to navigate the new process: everything is better as a team!
Be sure to check out the Roome website, where we post loads of tips and tricks for university students every single week. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to learn more about how we’re revolutionising the student housing market!
Posted by Owen Redman
Co-founder of Roome