Some international students in the UK

A new life in the UK

Adapting to a new life

When you come to a new country, you have a target. If you know what you have to do there, it can help you adapt to the new changes. - Radou

Leaving your home to go and study in another country is an exciting prospect. There are many new and positive experiences waiting for you in the UK. There may also be aspects of your life in the UK that present culture challenges. You may need to get used to a different way of doing everyday things and find ways to adapt to aspects of your new life.

In these activities you will listen to some international students and a university tutor talking about culture challenges for students coming to the UK. You will also assess yourself to find out how ready you are for the culture challenge ahead.

Activity 1Meeting the culture challenge

In this activity you are going to watch a video in which some international students and tutors describe some of the culture challenges faced by students when they first arrive in a new country. They include examples of situations which some of the students experienced soon after moving to live in the UK.

Instruction icon


Watch the video extract and while you listen move the culture challenge and example mentioned by each speaker into the appropriate places. One has already been done for you as an example. When you have finished moving all the items, check your answers and read the feedback. You can watch the video as many times as you need to.

Culture challenge
First speaker
Second speaker
Third speaker
Fourth speaker
Fifth speaker
Going out by yourself
After the orientation, managing on your own without support
Day to day issues
Finding out when and how the rubbish is collected
Going to the city centre alone - and getting lost :-)
Learning by making mistakes
Shopping in the supermarket and cooking with strange ingredients
The unfamiliarity of everything
Trying to find fresh vegetables and dealing with different tastes
Where you eat; where you sleep; transportation and getting to class

Video transcript (pdf, 10kb).

Watch the video extract again with the transcript above if you need to check your understanding. The parts of the transcript containing the answers to the listening task are highlighted.

Activity 2How ready are you?

Think about the differences that there might be for you when you begin your studies in the UK. In this activity you are going to assess yourself to see how ready you are for the culture challenge ahead.

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Think about each of these statements in relation to yourself and select the tick Tick or the cross Cross before checking your answers and reading the feedback.

 I expect that I will need to make an effort to make new friends.

 I am ready for the challenge of the British diet.

 I know what to expect in terms of British people and social life.

 I expect to have my English language skills challenged.

 I already have an idea of the cost of living in the UK and know how much I will need to budget for my food shopping.

 I don't expect to like everything and have thought about how I will cope if I get homesick.

 I have checked the seasonal temperatures in the part of the UK where I'm going and know what kind of clothes I need to bring with me.

 I have an idea of what my accommodation might be like in the UK.

 I am ready for the experience of a little culture shock, especially at the beginning of my stay.

 I expect to gain a lot personally from the experience of living and studying in the UK.

How well-prepared are you for adapting to a new life? When you have finished, click below to calculate how many ticks you have and look at your score below to find out what your score shows.


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