What I Wish I’d Known Before Studying In The UK

In the EU, of the millions of University-age students, over 130 thousand choose to study and live in the UK every year.

It can be both an exciting and daunting experience learning to adapt to the British way of life. You get to try different foods, meet a whole community of new and interesting people and immerse yourself into a culture that is a fantastic mix of both historical and modern innovation.

Whether you choose to study in prestigious University towns like Cambridge and Oxford or prefer to enjoy the nightlife that Liverpool and Newcastle have to offer, studying in the UK will enrich your life if you do it properly.

The Student Mundial team have been speaking to its international students to compile a list of all the things they wished they’d known before they moved to study in the UK.

We’ve picked our top five:

1. Not everyone speaks the Queen’s English

“I thought I’d come over to live in the UK and everyone would have a really posh voice like the Queen. Then, when I moved to Liverpool last year I realised how wrong I was! I’ve never heard such a mixture of different accents so close to one another before.

“You can go to two major UK cities in the space of a morning and feel like you’ve travelled to an entirely different country. A Liverpool native sounds completely different to someone from Manchester and the two places are less than an hour apart!

“I love the mix of accents, it makes the entire country feel really cosmopolitan. Just remember that if you learn something in Scouse, then the likelihood of someone in London knowing what you mean is very slim!”

Ana, a 19-year-old student from Valencia

2. The food isn’t as bad as they tell you

“I was so worried about what I was going to eat before I moved to Southampton. Everyone told me that British food was terrible and I was going to hate it.

“Being from Italy means that loving food was a big part of my childhood and most of the socialising I do with my friends at home is based around going out for dinner.

“It turns out, they were so wrong! Southampton has so many amazing places to eat with so many different types of cuisine. Oxford Street is just round the corner from my student accommodation and Simon at Oxfords has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten!”

Julia, 20, from Pisa in Italy

3. There really is a pub on every corner

“I’d heard that drinking was a big part of the culture in the UK but I didn’t realise it was so integral.

“There’s so many different types of beers, wines and spirits available for you to try and the bars are so much fun. Some turn into nightclubs after a certain time and you can always get student offers or take advantage of happy hours.

“Even if drinking alcohol isn’t for you, the mocktails you can buy from the bars are incredible!”

Calvin, 19, studying in Manchester

4. Travelling is really difficult

“I’d read a lot about really bad train systems and poor public transport options but actually, travelling around the UK is one of the most enjoyable experiences of studying at a UK University.

“You can get to most places in a really short space of time and although it’s not the most affordable, the experience is completely worth the cost.

“I go to London all the time even though I study in Newcastle and it only takes me three hours on the train which has only been late a handful of times! 

“Visiting all the iconic places in the UK is one of the best reasons to study over here so don’t let public transport put you off.”

Eddy, 21, from Lisbon in Portugal

5. Student accommodation is a really big deal

“Finding somewhere to live was obviously important to me before I moved to Bath but I didn’t want to book anywhere into too much of a hurry in case I made the wrong decision.

“That completely changed when I actually moved to the city. Everyone I met was in a massive rush to book their accommodation for the next year and I felt really pressurised to make a decision.

“Speaking to people that understand the different choices available when looking for accommodation certainly helped take the pressure off and I managed to try somewhere new in my second year that I loved just as much as my first year accommodation.

“My best piece of advice – just don’t rush into making a crazy decision just because everyone else is!”

Susie, 21, studying medicine at Bath University

Now it’s your turn!

What do you wish you’d known before you moved to the UK? Share today and we’ll include your ideas in part two of the series!

About the author

Oliver Kurt

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