Excitement, fear, happiness, insecurity, enthusiasm. That’s probably how you’ll feel shortly before taking the flight and when you arrive to the UK.
And that’s great! Remember that feeling, as it is one of the most wonderful feelings ever. You feel determined to do your degree, live by yourself, become independent.
But, what do you do when you actually land and start unpacking? This short guide will offer some answers.
ALWAYS LOOK RIGHT
I know this may sound stupid, however. Brits drive on the left. Their wheel is on the right side of the car. I know you know, especially if you come from Australia, Cyprus, India, Japan, South Africa, Ireland and so on. Good for you. The rest of the world needs a couple of months to get used to that. Why I’m saying this – because if you’re a pedestrian, the car comes from a different direction than in the rest of Europe, or better to say the world. So, be safe, always look right first and then take a look at the left side too, just in case.
Brits LOVE abbreviations. LOVE them. GP stands for General Practitioner which means – a doctor. The one you need when you’ve caught a cold or fresher’s flu (very popular at the beginning of October!), have a fever or need any other (heavens forbid) health-related advice. Once you’ve settled in and learned your new address, it would be good if you head to the nearest GP and register yourself there. They are going to ask a couple of questions, you’ll fill out a form and get your NHS number (again, NHS stands for National Health Service).
During your studies in the UK, especially if you won a scholarship (congrats, yay!), you’ll need a UK bank account. And I strongly recommend doing that before your lectures start and you still have some free time to spend on waiting in queues. There are many options, and universities often offer a bank they recommend or have an agreement with. Which is great, because in that case instead of bringing dozens of papers and documents, you just need to bring your University card and your ID card/Passport. If you feel a bit lost, you can always pop to your university’s finance office, they’ll be glad to help. Also, heads up as all banks in the UK work until 5pm.
Ah, the reason to come to the UK two weeks before your course starts. A welcome week is a week-long event, full of fairs, introduction sessions and parties for new (old are welcome too, but primarily new) international students. Great opportunity for you to take a walk through the fairs, get to see what student societies you can join, pick up some freebies, and generally get to know your university better. There are lots of social events too, which are made for you to meet other students that have the same troubles and doubts as you do, make some new friends and start networking!
THE PERKS OF WRITING A CV
That bit of extra time you have before everything starts and you’re irretrievably stuck with your deadlines and essays, you can use to start drafting a CV. At some point in your studies, you’re going to need it and the sooner you start the better. Whether it is applying for a part-time job, summer school, Master’s degree or anything else your heart wants but needs a CV. Once you’ve finished your first draft and looked at it proudly, feel free to ask someone at Careers&Employability Service at your university to take a look at it and tell you what a nice job you’ve done.