- Our final blog entry 23 December 2019
- Advice for Living in Student Accommodation 31 May 2019
- Specialist Academic Preparation for starting the IB 13 May 2019
- What can I do over the Christmas holidays? 20 December 2018
- 5 Tips for Postgraduate Study 08 November 2018
- How to Write an Essay: Tips for ESL (English as a Second Language) Students 18 October 2018
- Lecture Tips for International Students 18 September 2018
- Things I wish I’d known before I came to the UK 27 July 2018
- Staying Focused When You’re Missing Home 20 April 2018
- Study Tips for International Students 06 April 2018
- How to Make Friends at University for International Students 06 February 2018
- Getting into Higher Education for Refugees 04 January 2018
- Teaching Syrian and other refugees 15 December 2017
- Should I employ an English tutor to help with my university studies? 04 December 2017
- Five ways to kill time without your phone 21 November 2017
- Photo competition – International students: changing lives 20 October 2017
- A student’s guide to bills in the UK 16 October 2017
- Getting Ready for Results Day 15 August 2017
- Aim Higher for UK Education 23 June 2017
- 7 Alternative Study Break Activities for Students 18 May 2017
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This month’s blogpost is provided by Sophie Barber from Beaumont House, who provide student accommodation in West London for all UK and International students. Their accommodation is an inclusive, calm and supportive environment, ideal for postgraduate and international students.
Finding student accommodation can be a difficult task, especially if you are an international student coming to the UK for the first time. At first, it can seem as though all of your energy is spent on finding the perfect place to live! Then, it’s a big relief when you finally find somewhere.
However, during the busy period of finding somewhere to live, we sometimes forget that we will actually be living here! Whether you are studying in the UK for one term, three years or even more, it’s important to get some advice on living with other students. We’ve outlined some top tips below so that you can make the most out of living in the UK.
Socialise with your housemates
How you start your life at university tends to be how it will continue. In those first few days in your new room, flat or house, you will have plenty of opportunities to socialise with your housemates and get to know them. Everyone will be in the same boat as you, so there’s no need to be nervous.
You can start by getting a takeaway meal together, or playing some board games as a house. After a few weeks, you will probably find that you have already made great friends in your housemates!
Create a jobs rota
University accommodation can get messy – that’s just a fact. However, there are ways to prevent things from getting too out of hand! It’s a good idea to make a cleaning or jobs rota with your housemates. That way, everyone plays a role in looking after your accommodation and keeping things tidy.
The jobs might include taking the bins out, hoovering or keeping the kitchen tidy. However you decide to do it, make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities and stays on top of things.
Work out a way to split bills
Although some student accommodation comes with bills included, there may be things that you need to work out with your housemates. These can include gas and electricity, the internet, your TV licence and water. There are a number of apps which allow you to split the costs between you, or you could set up a monthly bank transfer to whoever is paying.
Even if your bills are included, you will still need to consider shared household items such as toilet roll, washing-up liquid and soap. You can create a communal money pot for these items, or make sure that there is a fair rota for who buys them.
While socialising with the other students in your accommodation is great, it’s also important to have your own boundaries, particularly if you have a heavy workload. If you’re stressed or just want some alone time, let your housemates know that you won’t be around as much.
This also works both ways, so if you can tell that one of your housemates needs to get their head down and do some work, try to let them get on with it.
If you begin to get frustrated with one of the people you are living with, it is important to approach the situation in a mature way. There is no point harbouring grudges or talking behind their back as nothing will get solved this way.
The best approach is to address them about the issue in a calm and polite way. If you can communicate with your housemates, it helps any problems get solved a lot easier.
The final thing to remember about living in student accommodation is to be supportive of your housemates. University can get stressful and there may be times when they need a shoulder to cry on.
If one of your housemates comes to you with a problem, help them to find a solution or at least listen to them talk about it. Then, if you are ever having a difficult time in the future, you can rely on them to be there for you.Leave a comment...
This month’s guest blogpost is provided by Emma Croke from comparison website GoCompare:
Moving away from home can be daunting, especially when you have never had to deal with paying bills in the UK before. This can be even more so if you are moving to Britain as an international student and everything is unfamiliar. Luckily, GoCompare has put together a handy guide to the bills you will need to pay as a student in the UK. If you are living in student accommodation, you will likely be given a total cost for the annual rent, and some of your bills, such as water and energy, may be covered. However, if you are moving to private accommodation, you will have to organise and pay your bills yourself. This infographic contains a handy list of essential and not-so-essential bills that you will need to consider, and we have some further tips about key areas to look at:
If you are staying in the UK for longer than a term, then you should set up a UK bank account to allow you to pay bills, transfer money and keep track of spending. There are a variety of student bank accounts available which may offer benefits over a standard current account, and some are specifically aimed at international students.
Research whether your phone will work in the UK, and if so, how much it will cost to use. If you are not sure the you can look at what mobile phone deals are available.
It is important that you do not fall into debt while at university, so ensure that your incomings cover your outgoings. Also, if you are living in shared accommodation, try to talk to your flatmates or housemates about bills fairly early on. Decide who is going to be responsible for ensuring the bills are all paid on time, and how much each person owes. It is also worth setting a deadline for transferring your contribution several days before the date the bills have to be paid, in case of any payment delays.
This month’s guest blogpost is provided by Amy Hirst, a writer for The Student Housing Company:
So you’ve sent off your UCAS application to study in the UK and now you’re waiting on your exam results! With over 400,000 students starting their new lives as undergraduates in Britain every year, there’s never been a more exciting time to apply.
But what about when it comes to results day? How do you keep track of your application and make sure you’ve got the grades you need to start your chosen course? Read our article to find out and to help you get ready for the big day!
You can log into UCAS Track to see if you’ve got onto your chosen course. If you’ve achieved the grades you need, your ‘conditional’ offers will show up as ‘unconditional’ and you can celebrate! At this point, your first-choice university will get in touch to let you know what you should do next.
But remember that your exact marks won’t show up on Track. You will need to visit your school to see how you performed in each exam.
If you don’t get the results you want, try not to worry. When you’re just a few marks shy of getting into your chosen university, you can always call them up to see if they will nonetheless accept you.
If you don’t get the grades you need, you can still go through Clearing. This is a service that allows you to choose a different course and it’s completely free for international students. Just book a consultation (you can do this via Skype), and your consultant will contact other universities on your behalf.
Once they’ve found a few courses that are suitable for you, just pick the one you like the most and add it as your ‘clearing choice’ on your UCAS account. If you want to find out some extra info about Clearing, read The Student Housing Company’s Uni Application Checklist and you’ll stay one step ahead.
Studying in the UK
As excited as you may be, travelling to Britain can seem daunting. The culture in the UK will probably be different from your own, and if you’re leaving home for the first time, being in a new country might feel scary.
But don’t worry, help is at hand. Most universities have student-support officers available to assist you. There are also plenty of social groups you can join. Whatever you enjoy doing in your spare time, there will be a university society dedicated to it. There are loads of clubs set up just for international undergraduates too, so you can make lots of friends!
Finally, if you’re feeling homesick or overwhelmed by being in a different place, mental health support staff are usually available to talk you through your problems. Make use of them so that you can enjoy your time in Britain!
Whatever you study in the UK, make sure you have fun. Remember that you will be working hard, but you will also develop as an individual. So put yourself out there, make new friends, and enjoy your time as a student.
Get Your Accommodation Sorted
Finding sound accommodation is just as important as getting onto the right course. You need to live in a relaxed and comfortable environment where you can make friends. Find out more about the Student Housing Company’s student accommodation options so you can quickly settle into your new life.
This month’s guest blogpost is provided by Adam Maidment, a writer for Pure Student Living, which provides luxurious student accommodation for students across London:
In May, the annual Times Higher Education (THE) University World Reputation Rankings list was revealed. It aims to highlight the world’s most prestigious universities and highlight those that are doing the best in terms of providing successful candidates ready for the workplace.
The UK was well-represented with ten placements in the hundred-long list. The UK was the second most-represented nation, after the US, which had forty-three placements. Two UK universities – the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford – appeared in fourth and fifth place respectively. With the UK taking up one tenth of the THE list, just how well do the UK’s universities compare to other countries?
Comparing the top two nations on the list – the US and the UK – it seems that if you want a more individual and one-on-one learning experience, then the UK is the better option.
In most UK universities, students will be assigned into smaller class groups after regular lectures. These seminar classes enable students to discuss and debate ideas and key points from the lectures in depth with dedicated members of staff and other students in their class. The knowledge gained from these sessions is then useful throughout the rest of their studies.
It seems that such discussion groups or seminars do not really figure in most US universities until the very last year of the degree programme. This means that for most of the course, students studying in the US will have to depend on lectures as the main source for the majority of their knowledge. Nor will they have the same number of opportunities to have designated one-on-one discussions. In some cases, postgraduate students are assigned to run discussion groups but as they are not members of staff, their knowledge can be somewhat limited.
It’s not uncommon for students in Australia to take double or combined degrees, whilst many university students in the US will be asked to take on a broad range of subjects in their first year: these are one they wish to major in, and another, which can be totally unrelated, that they want to minor in. Some US universities won’t even require students to decide on their major subject until the second year.
If there is a particular subject that you know you really want to focus on, studying in the UK might be your best option as there is there is much more scope for specialisation. In most UK institutions, there is the option to take on such a degree.
If you’re still wanting to take on a combined honours course, these are also available in the UK, but they usually involve subjects that relate to each other in some way.
One of the best places to study
In December, the UK HE International Unit found that student satisfaction amongst international students in UK universities was at 91 percent, which was massively higher than any other major English-speaking destination.
With internationally recognised qualifications and ten places within the THE list, the UK really is one of the best places to study. UCAS reports that as many as 430,000 students from over 180 different countries choose to study in the UK.
As a multicultural country, studying in the UK opens up opportunities to experience new cultures and backgrounds. With English being one of the most-recognised languages around the world, being fully immersed in the language will only help international students develop their careers even further after their studies.
What you get out of your university experience depends on what you put into it. Wherever you choose to study, if you don’t work hard then you’re not going to reach your full potential. Choose a degree programme that suits your interests, career prospects, and optimises your own learning.