UK Study Abroad: A Complete Guide for International Students

Did you know it’s projected that by 2025 the number of international students will be eight million?

Study abroad experiences have continued to grow in popularity over the years. Whether you opt for a semester or a full year, a study abroad experience is a great way to diversify your college experience.

A UK study abroad might be perfect for you if you’ve ever dreamed of visiting England, Ireland, or Scotland. But how can you plan for the perfect study abroad experience?

We’re here to help you out! Check out our guide below to learn how to have the best study abroad in the UK.

Manage Your Logistics

Traveling abroad isn’t as easy as showing up at the airport with your suitcase. In order to study abroad, you’ll need the required documents. You’ll need to get a passport to travel to the UK, as well as a student visa.

When booking a flight, look to buy a ticket around three months out for the best price. Occasionally flights will drop ridiculously low right before the date of departure, but those are best reserved for spontaneous trips, not study abroad flights.

If you need to switch to an international phone plan, you should do that before you head out. If not, plan on getting a local number or a local SIM card when you arrive in the UK.

Pack Smart for Your UK Study Abroad

Before you leave for your study abroad, make sure you have any class required readings or materials with you or ready to pick up once you arrived.

The same goes for your tech! Sound not working on Mac products you planned on bringing? Make sure you fix any laptop issues before you zip it up into your carry-on!

While you might be tempted to bring half your wardrobe with you, be careful about how full you stuff your suitcase. It’s wise to leave a bit of room for items you buy during your study abroad and plan to bring back home.

Be Open to the Culture

Language and cultural differences are bound to arise, likely on your first day. Don’t be dismayed!

One of the things foreigners often point out is the dry humor that UK citizens are known for having. Playful banter and insults aren’t uncommon either, but it might take some getting used to!

A study abroad also gives you the chance to try local cuisine. Once you get to know a group of friends, they will be able to introduce you to even more local dishes. Maybe you’ll even get invited to a dinner party or two!

Build a Study Schedule

A study abroad is intended to be not only an exploration of your college classes but also of a new culture. Students can often get swept up in the glamor and intrigue of a new setting and forget about their classes. You should as much effort into your classes as your outdoor explorations.

It’s important to balance your academic and social lives just as you would back home. If you’ve been putting off an essay due next week, don’t plan a weekend out with your new UK friends—you’ll only become more stressed, and your academic performance will suffer.

Just as you would on your home campus, find study spaces that help you get your work done. Completing work in a new environment might actually help you learn more about what study habits work best for you!

Explore in Your Free Time

Unlike citizens from geographically large countries like the United States or Canada, Europeans can travel to another country in the same amount of time it might take an American to simply drive to a neighboring state.

This means that during your UK study abroad, you’ll have the opportunity to see much more than simply one of the three countries you’re residing in!

While London is a beautiful city that everyone should visit at least once, we advise that you don’t spend every free weekend you have there. There are dozens of other amazing cities all across the UK worth visiting in your downtime. If you have a few free days in a row, you can even make a weekend trip to nearby countries like France, Belgium, or the Netherlands.

Balance Independence with a Support Network

Often when you’re studying abroad, you won’t have your college friends from home to accompany you. Of course, you’ll make new friends during your UK study abroad, but it might take a week or two before you make strong connections with other students.

Orientations are a great place to meet new people. You’ll probably hit it off with other study abroad students since you’re all in the same boat, but try to connect with local students as well. Getting to know students who are from the UK will give you a better understanding of the culture, and they’ll likely be happy to give you a tour around the city!

Even with new friends and professors, it’s good to have a support network back home as well. Even if your friends and family are in a different timezone, make an effort to communicate with them fairly regularly. Homesickness can creep up on you out of nowhere, so it’s nice to have familiar faces you can rely on for the days when you’re missing home.

On the flip side, be prepared to become more independent. A study abroad is a great opportunity to learn new skills and build up your confidence. Use it as an excuse to learn how to cook for one or to become better at navigating cities on your own!

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Any student interested in experiencing a unique college experience should consider a UK study abroad. Study abroad opportunities take students outside of their comfort zones and help them build both life skills, along with a larger academic network. The guide above will help you achieve the best study abroad possible in the UK!

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