Moving to a new city is daunting enough but for international students moving to a new country is a whole new level. You’ll be moving to a place with new food, unpredictable weather, a whole new language (plus multiple accents which means it might seem like multiple languages), and culture. It will definitely be different to what you’re used to but here are 10 Unifresher tips for international students to help you in your transition.

1. Missing your family and friends

It’s inevitable that you’re likely going to miss your friends and family. This hits everyone in different ways. The first few weeks are usually okay because you’re busy getting used to a new city and making new friends. However you might start to feel homesick when you see your flatmates going home every few weeks because their families are only a couple of hours away by train.

There are loads of things you can do to make yourself feel better. The number one most important thing is to keep up regular communication. You can Facetime/ video chat, Whatsapp and chat over the phone. Communication is so easy and you should embrace it!

Our number two hot tip is to try make besties with a UK student, they might just make you an honorary member of their family … which means you might get invited back with them..

2. Cooking some home dishes

If you have a specific cuisine from your home country then you might find it difficult to find specific ingredients in the UK to cook these dishes. Especially specific hers and spices. Therefore one of our 10 Unifresher tips for international students is to think about bringing essential spices with you so you can taste the foods from your home.

The major benefit is you can cook your signature dishes and offer to your new housemates. It’s a great icebreaker and a great way to make friends. Food is the way to anyones heart.

3. It can take a while to get a debit/credit card

This is a major one. Before you can get a debit card you will have to get an official document from your uni confirming you are a via-approved student, as well as a document to prove your address in the UK.

Once you are armed with this information you can then go to your bank of choice and apply to open an account. Bear in mind it can take a while to process your application as all new students are also doing the same thing. Once approved it can take a week for your card to arrive by post and then your pin number will come in a separate letter. So you will need to come prepared with cash or a card you can access money from in the UK to allow for this period of setting up your bank account.

4. No friend is the wrong friend

For some reason international students can sometimes come with a perception that they should only make friends with native English speaking students, even I thought this BUT it is okay to make friends with people from your home country, with anyone really with different backgrounds. It may help to improve your English making friends with native English speakers but it’s completely find to seek comfort in friends who understand your culture and mannerisms.

It is completely understandable to feel comfort in those who know your country and can relate to you. Student societies can be a great way to meet people from your country or anyone really.. why not get involved?

5. Make conversation

If you want to make friends you will have to put in the effort. I’ve found in my experience making friends with home students is hugely beneficial to both parties. I do find that (international student) myself included do tend to have to start the conversation. It might be home students are shy or intimidated or worried they may say something insensitive but once the ice is broke, you can form a great friendship.

6. Ask tutors for help if needed

Remember you’ve paid a hell of a lot of money to study in the UK so if you need help make sure your asking for it!

There are tonnes of help at university, usually writing centres or other academic help. Make sure to understand all the help that is available to you so you’re prepared for when you start and may need help. Plus all these services are free.. there is no excuse not to use them.

7. Student Living

It can be easy to think that halls is the only option for student living, but this simply isn’t the case. There are so many private student accommodation lettings available and a lot are offered cheaper, with newer buildings.

If you do want the ‘uni experience’ then it will probably be better for you to seek out a halls but i’d recommend looking around and see what’s available first.

Check out Unifresher’s top tips for accommodation here and some of the best providers here.

8. The SU and societies aren’t scary

The Student Union can be a big part of your student life. It’s a place to meet new people, participate in events and where you’ll meet for meetings if you join a society.

There are societies for almost everything and if there isn’t you could always make it! All range in commitment levels and some ask for a small fee to join. Be sure to attend the freshers fair where you’ll be able to speak to the members of societies and find out everything uni related.

9. Get to know the grading system and exam periods

So the UK grading system can differ to those you have at home. You will be given grades out of 100. A first is 70 and over, a 2:1 is 60 and over. This can seem strange for some international students where grading for an A is 98%..

If your scheduling visits back home, you will have to check your exam schedule. Some unis have exams earlier than others so make sure to check the dates.

10. Get prepared

You’ve landed in a new country and you might not have all the essentials for uni yet. Ikea will be your best friend. Check out our tips for getting prepared for freshers and essential items you’ll need. 

Remember uni is what you make it, have fun and good luck!!!

Last Updated on August 18, 2022