Settling in before your UK study abroad program


Moving to the UK for a study abroad program is a big change for most students. Find out how to ease your entry into a new culture, seek support to guide you through the first weeks and prepare to get the most out of your overseas education.

Thousands of young Indian graduate and postgraduate students move to the UK each year to study abroad in top quality programs in the country. There are many facilities in place in the UK, to help international students have an easier transition into a new culture, and to help them settle in during the first few weeks after arrival.

The initial weeks

During the first few weeks, you will find plenty of help is available to guide you around your university or college and help you get your bearings. One of the best things you can do, if you get there early enough, is to join an orientation for the new batch. The Students' Union or International Office of many UK universities and colleges hold orientations in the form of "Fresher's Week" and/or Orientation Week before classes begin. During these orientations, you will be guided by existing students around the campus and the local town.

Orientations are a great way to make friends and familiarize yourself with your surroundings. You will be able to find out helpful details about opening a bank account, immigration rules, healthcare, police registration, welfare etc.

Social events are also held during Fresher's Week to help you make new friends during talks and social evenings. You can join different art, sports or social groups during this week, as they look for new members among freshers.

Important practical things to do

Make sure that you take care of all the practical things that need to be done in the first few weeks of your time in the UK. You can check out the Pre-Departure Guide that the British Council helpfully provides to help Indian students in the UK settle in.

Things to do when you get to the UK include:
  • Register with the police (if you need to)
  • Register with a doctor and deliver your medical certificates to your university's healthcare clinic
  • Open a bank account
  • Buy bed linen/kitchen requirements if you are staying at a student residency
  • Plan your budget for the rest of your stay
  • Look into travel passes for students etc. if required
  • Apply for part-time work at the International Office, if eligible
  • Find out about mobile phone contracts and internet services

Tips for settling in

To settle in faster and feel at home in a new school and possibly a new country, there are some things you can do to keep yourself from feeling homesick. Expect to feel a bit homesick, but you will soon get over it.

  • Start making friends as soon as you can
  • Look for people with similar interests in your residence or during Fresher's Week
  • Join an Indian student society, if there is one in your college, so that you ease the culture shock
  • You will also find plenty of hobby groups to join, where baking, sports, making music, discussing politics etcetera will quickly make you feel like you belong

Always remember that your college staff and faculty are there to help you, should you need support or advice. The UK Council for International Student Affairs offers more resources to help with settling in.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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