Monthly Archives: May 2014

How much will it cost me when I am in the UK?

This week’s blog post is in reply to a question from a student about the likely cost of day-to-day living in the UK. Budgeting for your course fees and living costs while you are studying in the UK will be an important consideration for most international students. For some students, certain aspects of living in the UK may be much more expensive than their home countries. Before you come you might wish to check out prices in some online supermarkets in the UK to find out how much you will need to budget for food. Other key considerations will be accommodation and possible transport costs (e.g. bus to Uni).

The UKCISA website offers very useful guidance about preparing for living costs in the UK. It also provides information about bringing cash with you, currency limits and travel insurance. Other possible costs to consider are medical insurance and contents insurance.

Another very helpful resource is the International Student Calculator. This is an interactive tool to help you work out how to manage your money and build a budget for living and studying in the UK in advance.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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How can I improve my spoken English in the UK?

Students socialisingToday’s blog post is in reply to a question from a student on the Question Wall:
“I think my reading and writing can improve in the UK through studies but how can I improve my speaking?”

In most universities and colleges in the UK there will be opportunities to improve your academic skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening in an academic context, particularly through the work that you do in seminars, lectures and through reading for and writing course assignments. There may also be extra classes that you can attend, which focus on these skill areas. However, international students might need to make an extra effort to find opportunities to practise speaking English informally, especially to improve their fluency. The best way to do this is obviously to make new English speaking friends and take every opportunity to speak English with them. Making new friends can take a little time so you might want to consider joining a few of the many clubs and societies run by your Student Union to help you meet people when you arrive. You may find new friends who are from your own country but if you want to improve your spoken English, it’s important to socialise with people who don’t speak your language too.

When speaking English informally, don’t be shy or afraid about making mistakes when you speak. To improve your fluency in particular, it’s more important to communicate and practise than to speak without making mistakes. Communication involves listening as well as speaking and many international students find that the first skill they notice improvement in is listening.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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How can I access my university or college library and course reading online?

This week’s blog post is in reply to a question from a student comment on the post about digital literacy skills: “Could I use any E-book reader, like Kindle reader, to download the tutorial references or academic books? By this way, would it be cheaper and more convenient than buy real book or borrow from the library?”

Lecturers’ recommended course reading material that is in a digital format, such as e-books, scanned chapters or articles in online journals, to which your institution subscribes, will usually have to be accessed through your university library’s online catalogue. To download it, especially if you are off-campus, there will be a secure login procedure (e.g. VPN). Regarding the use of a Kindle reader, most of the large e-book collections (Ebrary, MyLibrary, EBSCO) allow e-books to be downloaded onto such devices, but not all. The best way to find out whether a particular e-book reader is compatible or not is to look at the ‘help’ pages online that can usually be linked to from each e-book.

Your course reading lists are likely to contain many items – not all of them available as e-books or in another digitised format – so you may wish to select essential books to buy, and borrow (or access) others through your library. Important books are often in a reserve section of the library so that as many students as possible can read them.

Check out your university or college library website to find out more about the range of resources they hold in your subject area and how you can access them.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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