The United Kingdom is a very attractive destination for students, especially when it comes to studying dynamic subjects like politics and English literature. This is why I chose to study International Relations in London, at the very heart of political happenings and amongst a very international diaspora.
But there are a few things that you should know before you take up your preferred course at a university in the UK. Here are three quick tips on getting you started for studying in the UK.
- Know Your Interests
It can be hard to determine exactly what you want to do just after finishing college, but it is important to have a clear picture of your interests and your strengths when it comes to choosing a course to study in the UK. Unlike the US, the UK does not offer flexibility in the subjects chosen. Once you enter into a department within a university, it is impossible to change to another subject. This is why it is important that, before filling out your UCAS application, you have a coherent idea of the kind of subjects you want to study in the UK.
- Choose your location within UK wisely
There are plenty of reasons why you should study in the UK, but just like many other countries, the UK is very diverse in nature. I chose to study in London because it aligned with the political field that I was studying. There are many internship and extracurricular opportunities, especially in regards to politics and law, in London. Do your research on which city offers the best options for your course of study. For example, Glasgow is known for architecture and Edinburgh for International Law.
- Managing your finances
This particular point applies to pretty much any university that you go to, whether it is at home or abroad. Learning how to manage your own finances is perhaps one of the most important lessons you will learn at university. My advice would be to set a weekly budget and then carefully note down when and where you spend your money, be it groceries or eating out. It is important to keep track of your finances and have them written down so you know exactly where your money is going.
- Applying for student accommodation
Sorting out student accommodation can be both a stressful and an exciting experience. Once you get an offer from a UK university that you want to accept, I would suggest that you go and start searching for student accommodation as soon as possible. While some universities guarantee accommodation for first year students, this is not the case for every university. Additionally, cheaper and better accommodation usually fills out faster due heavy demand, especially in busy cities like London or Manchester.
For your first year, I would strongly recommend you stay on campus so you get to know your university better. Commuting to and from classes in this case also becomes easier.
Studying abroad is an experience that allows you to grow outside your comfort zone and to understand yourself more. It can become easy to lose yourself in the novelty of everything so it becomes increasingly important that you ground yourself and come prepared to learn from everything university life has to offer.