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Adjusting To Uni Life in The UK as An International Student

Adjusting To Uni Life in The UK as An International Student

Moving to the UK from a different country can be a significant change, especially if you are a student who has never lived outside of your family bubble.

But don’t worry – there are plenty of other peers in the same boat! According to recent research about the 2021/22 academic year, 24% of the entire university student population in the UK was international, meaning that almost 680,000 students relocated from abroad to attend the course of their dreams.

Of course, adapting to life in a new country is never a walk in the park. However, with a few tips up your sleeve, you can adjust to this exciting experience with more confidence and peace of mind.

Abodus Student Living, a leading provider of homely student accommodation, offers advice to overseas students on how to settle in the UK and make the most of their time at university. 

Making friends

University isn’t only about attending lectures, studying, and nailing your exams. The social element of uni life is just as important – and even more so if you live hundreds or thousands of miles away from home!

Aaron Kirkwood, Head of Sales and Marketing at Abodus Student Living, said:

“Meeting people and making friends is always a great way to enjoy your university experience to the fullest. But with busy schedules, it can be tricky at times to get together with peers outside of your course.

“If you are cooking dinner or want to watch telly, consider doing so in the communal area of your uni accommodation in Leeds, Newcastle, or elsewhere across the UK. This way, you will bump into your flatmates more often and will have the opportunity to socialise, get to know them better, and form stronger friendships.

“You could also join a university society based on your interests and hobbies. From dance clubs and poetry sessions to volleyball matches and cocktail tutorials, societies give you the chance to find like-minded people.”

Don’t forget to look for peers from your own country, too. Of course, it is important to mix with everybody at university, but bonding with fellow compatriots can help you tackle the odd feelings of nostalgia and not miss out on specific cultural festivities that aren’t celebrated in the UK. 

Keep in touch with your friends and family

Uni life is fun and packed with activities and good times. However, it is only natural to feel lonely and homesick from time to time, especially if you now live a five-hour plane journey away from your family and friends.

According to research, up to 70% of UK students have felt homesick at some point. So, if you are feeling down and blue, be reassured that you are not the only one who misses mum and dad.

To nip this sentiment of homesickness in the bud, make sure to keep in touch with your loved ones back home. Thanks to technology, staying in contact with your family and friends is a piece of cake.

All you need to do is pick up your mobile phone or turn on your laptop and set up a video call, meaning you can see your parents and siblings as well as speak with them. The occasional chat with your loved ones can help you brighten your mood and get your smile back.

And if it is within your budget, don’t forget to visit your family and friends every so often. Christmas, Easter, and the summer period tend to be good moments to fly back home, as lectures are suspended for a few weeks to give you well-deserved time to relax and prepare for any upcoming exams.

Getting over the jet lag

If you are from the other side of the globe, there is a good chance that you will have to deal with the challenges of jet lag. These might include anything from tiredness and exhaustion to concentration and memory problems.

So, how can you prevent the effects of jet lag from affecting your initial weeks at university? The secret is to set your body clock to the BST time zone so that it does not run to your own home country’s hours and routines.

One good way to adjust your internal clock is to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the right time. Also, get out and about to enjoy some natural light – as well as sorting out your body clock, it gives you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with your new town or city!

Trying out local food and slang

Moving to a new country might come with what is known as ‘culture shock’. You might find that, here in the UK, people and fellow peers behave or do things differently from what you are used to.

While it can be a bit daunting at first, try not to overthink it too much – instead, embrace the new way of living! You will soon discover that comparing your routines to those of your new British friends is a fun activity.

When chatting with your new pals, you are also likely to learn some unusual jargon and slang that you may not have heard of before. If that’s the case, don’t be shy and feel free to ask your peers what specific things mean – they will be more than happy to explain the quirky terminology they don’t teach you in school!

What’s more, make sure to try out the local cuisine. From fish and chips to haggis and Cornish pasties, the UK – believe it or not – has its own delicacies to savour and enjoy. But if you are craving some dishes from back home, the good news is that the big supermarket chains are likely to have the ingredients you need to recreate your grandma’s culinary masterpieces.

So, if you’ve just enrolled at a British university or are simply considering making the big move, there are plenty of little steps you can take to adjust to uni life in a different country. With these helpful tips under your belt, you’ll no doubt enjoy your academic career in the UK from day one.

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