UK Guarantor recently asked hundreds of international students who had spent at least a year in the UK about their experience of studying the in UK and the key pieces of advice they would offer to new students.
Arriving in the UK
The best way of spending the first few days is exploring the city. 33% did this. After this, the top 3 priorities are checking in at University, getting a UK Sim and sorting a UK bank account. The most important things to bring are your ID, phone, laptop and credit/debit card. While the majority of students we surveyed (almost 60%) did not regret bringing anything with them, 27% of students did think that summer clothes were a waste of time, which probably tells you everything you need to know about the British Weather.
Meeting People and Making New Friends
The best way of making new friends according to our students is to join a student society. Almost 40% of students thought this was the best way. The next most popular suggestion was simply attending lectures – 25% of students think that this is the route to meeting new people.
Around 45% of the students who completed our survey had to overcome a language barrier when they moved to the UK. The vast majority of these students (66%) did so by making a wide circle of new friends and practising their English language skills on them.
The most popular types of accommodation for International Students living in the UK are halls of residence and private housing. Most International Students who have already studied here for a year or so would recommend halls of residence to a first year student – around 64% of students felt this was the best option.
The majority of students who answered our survey paid their rent in monthly instalments – only 11% paid their rent in advance. For International students living in private halls or houses, the requirement to pay rent in advance arises where they do not have access to a Guarantor based in the UK. This is where UK Guarantor helps, enabling students to pay their rent in more manageable instalments.
Keeping In Touch
What’s App and Skype are the most popular ways of keeping in touch with students back home. These two methods are followed by Facebook and the good old fashioned phone call. Quite a lot of our international students are in regular contact with their family speaking with them daily (34%). In fact 92% of our students spoke to their parents at least once per week!
Studying and free time
The majority of our students have light contact hours. Almost 70% of the students we surveyed had between 4 and 14 hours of contact time each week. It is fairly common in the UK to have relatively few contact hours, with a lot of emphasis placed on self-study. Whilst most of our students work hard to ensure their time in the UK is successful, this does leave some flexibility to do other things. Popular extra-curricular activity includes holding a position in a society committee (14%) becoming involved in University organised competitions (12%) and community work (11%). Around 40% of the international students we surveyed also worked part time – alongside studying – with the majority of these working in either hospitality or retail.
The overwhelming feedback we have had from our students is how much they have enjoyed their time in the UK. We aim to play our part by either helping you find great accommodation or by acting as guarantor so that you can manage your rent payments.