Moving abroad for your studies is difficult, and it can be tiring and painful. But at the same time, it also gives you new life experiences and more freedom to explore.
Making yourself feel like home in a new country is hard, but essential, as no-one should be left crying because of homesickness for weeks! So, here are our top tips for international students about to make a big step in their lives.
Firstly, when you arrive in London, the first thing you should think about is opening a student bank account. This will make life a lot easier, as you can use your debit card to pay for nearly everything. You won’t want to use the credit card which you brought with you from your hometown, because the rate can be expensive. To open a student bank account, book an appointment online or call up your chosen bank. Afterwards, the bank will provide you with a list of documents you need to bring with you. Trust me, it's not as hard as you think!
Planning for transportation around the city is also key, because if you plan it wisely you can save quite a lot of money. If you’re a student, you can apply for the student oyster card which should give you benefits when you travel. You can also decide whether to buy a monthly travel card or pay for your journeys as you go. If you’re going to use the bus or the tube often, a travel card could be more suitable. Taking the tube can be a lot faster than taking the bus, however, if you're new to the city, traveling above ground allows you to appreciate London.
If it’s possible, try to connect to your country’s society at the university. This can help you feel more like home, as these people can help you through your first few weeks and also share their experiences with you. Attending parties, meals or meet-ups will also make you feel more welcome and help you to meet new social groups.
Lastly, take advantage of the language. Try to use this opportunity abroad to become more fluent in English, and maybe learn other new languages too. But when you’re studying in a new country, what you should really do is explore. This could be by visiting London’s iconic landmarks, such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and so on, or visiting museums and galleries. Apart from visiting landmarks around London, you should also look forward to visiting other cities across the UK as well.
Making new friends is the main way for you to enjoy your stay in London. New friends can help to cure your homesickness, as they will distract you from thinking about home too much. These new friends can help get you through your toughest times, and also give you advice.
Hopefully, these tips will make your first few weeks in a new city a lot less stressful. Also, don’t forget your umbrella because London can be a lot rainier than you think!