1. Don’t isolate yourself
Moving to a new country is exciting, but it can also be a bit of a culture shock, so it’s normal to need time to adjust. But try to be open-minded – there are so many experiences to enjoy in the UK, such as our music venues, museums, theatres, pubs and cafés, to name a few. Grab a friend and dive in!
A good way of making new friends is to join uni societies and sports clubs. If you’re a cricket buff, then Lord’s and The Oval are two of the most prestigious grounds found anywhere in the world. Visiting places of worship is another opportunity to find a support system within the UK. Also, sharing a traditional Indian meal with your flatmates is a great way to make new friends.
But, if things do start to become overwhelming, ask for help as soon as you need it. Read our top tips for looking after your mental health at university.
2. Adapting to the language
If you’re an international student coming to the UK from India, you’ll already have a high level of spoken English, and moving here is a fantastic opportunity to gain more fluency. Remember that slang can be popular, with different nuances across the UK – if you’re unsure of anything, feel free to ask your coursemates or housemates!
3. Understanding the UK academic system
The UK's academic culture is different from the Indian education system. There isn’t a set path for you to follow – giving you the freedom to explore new ideas. You’re encouraged to do your own research or work with groups for projects. There’s no handholding, which can be daunting – but you always have a mentor available.
As mentioned earlier, the UK uni experience is all about helping you learn and grow as a person – setting you up for graduate life. Make the most of the opportunity by taking the initiative, joining societies and exploring the career’s service for advice.
The great news is that international students who’ve successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree will be able to benefit from two years’ international work experience upon graduation, through the new Graduate Route Visa.
4. Getting around
It’s easy to travel around UK cities – and exploring further afield for sightseeing. Many students choose to walk, cycle or use public transport, such as buses or the tube in London. You can get special discounts on travel cards/passes for buses and trains and, if you’re living in London, you can apply for a Student 18+ Oyster Card.
And, talking of discounts, students get access to lots of discounted rates on food, clothes and a number of events!
5. Food and drink
As an Indian student living in the UK, although trying an English fry-up and fish & chips is a must, it may take some time to adjust to British food. Don’t worry – there are plenty of Indian restaurants and international cuisines close at hand. For grocery shopping, you’ll be able to find your basic Indian food essentials in local supermarkets, and there are many independent Indian food stores and international supermarkets in the major cities, so you can easily find your favourite home comforts. If there are certain meats that you don’t eat, most UK cities sell a range of meat choices in almost every supermarket.
Pubs and clubs are a major part of student life in the UK, and it’s acceptable to drink alcohol in moderate amounts. That said, you don’t have to drink alcohol to enjoy yourself. All venues sell non-alcoholic drinks. Check out our favourite ideas for alcohol-free nights out.