Student Life in The UK: With anywhere near half a million international students currently enrolled at various UK universities, the UK is a prime destination for students around the globe seeking education from the best minds in the world at leading institutions.
As thousands of international students from diverse social backgrounds arrive in the UK every year during the intake season, there is a fair amount of skepticism towards the British way of life and student culture in the UK.
If you’re aspiring to study at a leading UK university, this article will talk about student life in the UK helping you decode and understand what pursuing higher education in the UK would be like for you.
Moving to the UK as an International Student: Cultural Shock
When you move to the UK, you are very likely to experience what is referred to as a cultural Shock. The international student life in the UK, the local routines, work culture, cuisines, and eating habits are starkly different to that of India which you’re accustomed to.
In the academic sphere, the terms and procedures for various things may be different than what you’re used to in India. International students have to make extra efforts to adapt to these cultural changes which can seem terrifying initially but are highly rewarding considering the knowledge and experience you will take with you after completing your education.
While these challenges may seem daunting at first, overcoming them is extremely rewarding. Read more about Why studying in the UK is Best for you.
Adapting to the British Cuisine
As an international student, living in the UK would require you to adapt well to the food habits of the British. While British food is rather simple and runs heavy on potatoes, vegetables, and meat, classic British food tends to be somewhat bland to the Indian taste buds accustomed to spicy and flavourful food.
However, the good news for Indian students is that most British restaurants and your college canteens will serve Indian curries, which are extremely popular in the UK. As surprising as it may be, Chicken Tikka Masala, a dish made of roasted and marinated chicken chunks in a thick gravy, is the national dish of England!.
However, the UK versions of Indian curries are typically not the same as what you’re accustomed to back at home and may be considerably less spicy and flavourful.
Living Standards and Facilities in the UK
The UK is considered to be one of the leading economies of the world and has a world-class infrastructure and high living standards.
Electricity is available throughout the day and night and long power outages are extremely rare. However, when you move from India to the UK, you will have to adapt to several changes in the usage of electrical appliances.
For instance, the average UK household socket will accept only a square pin fused plug with a 13 amp charge. While extensions and chargers can be purchased at local stores, it is advisable that you do not carry electrical appliances with you when you move to the UK.
In the UK, it is perfectly normal to drink Tap water which is safe for consultation unless it is marked otherwise. Other facilities are available easily, with grocery stores and shops for essential items scattered all over residential areas. However, you will need to be familiar with the British vocabulary when you go out shopping. For instance, a medical store is called a “chemist’s store” in the UK.
Driving and Transport
You are allowed to drive in the UK as an international student with a general tier 4 visa as long as you’ve acquired a driving license through due process. However, it is rare for students to have cars in the UK or acquire driving licenses.
Students usually travel by public transport, walking or bicycles. As a student, you may avail of discounts and other privileges by paying for a bus pass. Some cities are also connected by subway systems and trains are the best way to travel across cities.
Accommodation in the UK: What You Need to Know
Finding accommodation in the UK will be an important part of your final stages of making the transition. The UK has a large international student community, hence, universities make their own arrangements for accommodating international students on and off-campus.
Information in regards to the International Students Hall (IHS) at various universities can be found through their websites. In case you can not secure on campus, the university may help you find alternative housing.
Here is How Much Accommodation in the UK Would Typically Cost :
- If you stay in a university residence hall, expect to spend £6,000 per year.
- If you rent your own place, expect to pay £1,700 per month for a 1-2 bedroom apartment.
- If you rent a room from someone else, expect to pay about £100 a week for this type of arrangement.
These costs will vary depending on which city and area you’re residing in. The costs of living in London, for example, will be considerably higher than living in other cities. Areas with lower property prices and high rent will have higher living costs as well.
An important concern among Indian students while exploring study in the UK options is the resources required for pursuing higher education in the UK. Read our detailed blog: The cost of studying in the UK for Indian students
Making the Transition: Important Tips to Keep in Mind
When transitioning to a full-time stay and education in the UK, you will have to undertake extra efforts to adapt to the various cultural changes and student life in the UK. Here are a few tips that might help you ease the process of transition.
You aren’t Alone
There will be plenty of international students on your campus and in the student community that will also feel the same way about studying in foreign lands. You can reach out to other international students on campus as well as British students and make lasting friendships over time.
Make Yourself Home
Carry some essentials, memorable photos, and other items that you can keep in your room to make yourself feel closer to home. International students often use this method to make their space more comfortable while studying abroad.
Reach out to Your Colleagues
Talk to your fellow students in class. You may start with simple conversations about the class, or ask someone to show you around the campus. Even the simplest of the conversations can lead to friendships that last a lifetime.
Join Clubs and Societies
This will immensely help with socializing and meeting new people with similar interests and backgrounds. You may bring to the table unique contributions from your own culture and help in adding to the diverse cultural backgrounds a group might have.
Prepare Essential life Skills Beforehand
Studying as an international student in the UK will not have the same comfort level as that in India. It will be beneficial for you if you familiarize yourself with basic cooking, cleaning, daily chores, and doing your laundry. These life skills will immensely help you cut down your living costs while staying in the UK.
To better finance your stay in the UK, you may look for part-time jobs as an international student. Read our blog: How to Find Part-Time Jobs in the UK for International Students.
Student Life in the UK: Social Norms and Etiquettes
As it’s said, when in Rome do as the Romans do.
It is important that while studying in the UK you keep certain student ethics in mind and adhere to the social norms of the UK
- When talking to people in the UK, it is important that you be polite. “Please” and “thank you” should be a part of your conversations and your tone should be humble.
- If you’re late for an appointment or any other obligation, it is important that you inform the concerned parties beforehand. It is considered rude to keep someone waiting in the UK.
- When in line for a bus, at a grocery store, or paying bills, it is important that you strictly adhere to the queue and do not act impatient.
- Dinner time in the UK is considerably earlier than that in India. Dinner (also called supper) will be served at restaurants between 6:30 and 8:00 PM, and eating later than that is very uncommon.
- Pubs and bars are an important aspect of UK students’ lives. While pubs serve alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic drinks, they are an important place to socialize, so make sure you utilize these opportunities to connect with people and don’t get drunk instead.
- Tipping is customary in the UK and an average tip should be up to 10-15% of the total bill.
As a prime destination of study for international students, cities in the UK have stood out over the years as pioneers in fostering a study-oriented environment and have developed strong international student communities. This article will talk about the best student cities in the UK for international students.
FAQs about Student Life in the UK
How much can I earn as a student in the UK?
Working at part-time jobs, you may get paid anywhere near £ 110-150 a week as an international student in the UK.
Is the UK safe for students?
Yes, the UK has a low crime rate and is recognized as a safe country for international students. However, it is important that you take the necessary steps to ensure your safety while staying in the UK.
How much does it cost to live in the UK as a student?
Living in the UK as a student will have a higher cost in prime cities like London where living costs may exceed £1500 a month or more. However, these costs might be a bit less in other cities.
Living in the UK as an international student can be tough, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the various aspects of Student Life in the UK. Therefore, make sure you research well and prepare for taking up the challenge.
Studying in the UK may seem to be a daunting decision when you’re doubtful about its requirements and the processes involved. However, don’t let these doubts hold you back from realizing your dreams.
CampusTrail helps students pursue their higher education in the UK at leading universities. Our team of expert counselors with years of experience helps you shortlist the best universities for your profile, apply on your behalf and help you secure financial aid and scholarships. We also help students find accommodation and connect to existing students in the UK through our Students connect programs. Book a free counseling session with our Study in UK counselor today!