If you’ve secured a place at a UK university as a student from overseas, then congratulations! The UK is well-known for its excellent education system and is home to may Universities that are considered among the best in the world. However, even though you’ve done the hard work of winning your place there’s still the small matter of getting ready for your term, year or entire course based in the UK.
As with all Universities and moving out of home, there are a number of details to consider. However, there’s also plenty of help and information. To find out more we’ve written this brief guide to help you understand some important details about student life in the UK.
Your course fees
Undergraduate university course fees in the UK have been creeping up over the past few years. That’s the same for UK and international students. For the 2018/19 academic year, annual student fees for international students studying in the UK were anywhere between £9,000 to £26,000, although the average was between £12,000 - £19,000 per year.
These details will be clear in the course information from your University as will the terms for payment. If you’re planning to spend your entire course in the UK, then you will likely deal with the UK university directly. However, if its only for a term or even a year, then all the finances may be handled through your ‘home’ university.
While you may be happy with your University course related fees, you may also be interested in taking an additional English language course, to help support your ability to speak English and complete your course to the best of your ability. This may be something the University can help with or you may prefer a different option, one that specializes in teaching English to overseas students.
Additional costs will be likely although the course may be shorter and therefore cheaper than your university course fees.
While your course details and fees may be the most pressing detail on your mind, it’s not the only important one. You also need to find somewhere to live during your study time.
For many of you, a place in University Halls of Residence may come as part of your application and be guaranteed. If that’s the case then this is good news; you’re probably be in the hub of campus life and can easily get from your room to your classes and any social events you want to attend.
If halls don’t come as a course package, then you have options and a choice to make. You can typically choose between:
- University Halls of Residence.
- A private apartment.
- A room in a private home.
- A shared student house.
- A room or flat in a purpose-built student accommodation block.
The cheapest option may be a room in a private house, but you’ll miss out on the student bonding during your downtime. Sharing a student house can also be a cheaper option and comes with the knowledge you’ll be living with fellow students and can experience student life to the full.
University Halls tend to be popular, particularly for first-years and international students so demand can be high. This means if that’s where you want to be you need to decide quickly. If you want more independence then living in PBSA or even a private apartment can offer that, but it comes at a price.
Your University will have information on all of these options including who to contact and how to go about securing your chosen option for where you want to live.
Paying the rent is often done on a termly basis and if you’re not in student halls, you may need to have a rent guarantor. This can be a parent or close family member of friend, but here’s the catch, in most cases, the guarantor needs to be based in the UK.
Don’t worry if you don’t have someone close who’s willing to be your guarantor living in the UK. Rent guarantor services, like the one we provide, are here to help. Rent Guarantor can be your guarantor for student accommodation. We assess your situation and agree to provide the service on a case-by-case basis. This gives your landlord confidence that the rent will be paid no matter what and allows you to live in the student home of your choice.
Living costs can include a wide range of things, but essentially you need to consider:
- Any bills that aren’t included in your rent.
- Food and drink.
- Books and study equipment.
- Social life spending.
You should know before you get to the UK how much money you’ll have for the year. That means you need to budget. You can do so on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or termly basis. Whichever option you prefer, even a basic idea of what you can afford versus what you’ll likely need to spend is helpful and can stop you from running out money while still eating well, getting everything you need for your studies and enjoying University life.
Opening a UK bank account
Another detail to think about is if you need to open a UK bank account or not. In many cases it’s a cost-effective thing to do and with so many banks being global entities it can also be pretty straight-forward.
If your current bank has UK branches or services then get in touch with them and find out if they can help. You may be able to open a second, UK-based account with them or they may offer you UK services at a low price that means you don’t need to open a new account.
If your bank is a local one with no international options or ties then you need to do some research and find out your options. Many UK banks offer accounts for international students so find the one that best suits your needs – try not to be seduced by freebies, the important details to consider are costs, transfer fees and how easy it is to get an account that you can easily use and perform all the things you need to.
Studying in the UK is a great opportunity to get a qualification or degree that’s recognized around the world. But while that’s the end goal for you, it’s important to try and enjoy everything else that’s on offer in the UK, including its multi-cultural society, it’s history and of course, the social side of life.
Your University is sure to have a vibrant students union and an array of clubs and societies to enjoy, no matter what your interests are. Find out more about what you like and go along to try it out, meet like-minded people or even to sample something new and different.