This blog entry is going to give you the basic guidelines of what to bring and expect when immigrating to the United Kingdom for your studies! Most importantly, I'm going to tell you about my experience the first few weeks of being in the UK.
Arriving at the Airport in the UK and What to Bring
When arriving as an international student, ensure you have three important things when going through customs. Your passport, visa letter from UK Visas & Immigration and a print out of your CAS statement from your school which lists all your relevant program information. This makes the border officials lives easier and you won’t have to catch a flight back home to get anything! From there, gather all your luggage and make your way into the great unknown (the doors into the area for arrivals). Once I went through the doors, I immediately saw a school representative at a podium who was kind enough to book a taxi for me free of charge and take me to my accommodation 10 minutes from campus. I highly recommend taking a taxi to your accommodation because carrying two-three suitcases isn’t an easy thing to do and it’s a great way to ask the driver questions.
Once I arrived to my new flat (British form of saying apartment), I immediately called all my family members and took them on a tour of my place. I felt an overwhelming sense of excitement being in a new place, I was also tired and thought to myself, what on earth am I doing here, should I just go home now? Ignore that voice, that is called jet-lag and you need to fight through it and grab yourself some food.
Settling in and Enjoying the Night Life as a Fresher...
Welcome week for Freshers is an exciting way to meet new people in your program and explore the city night life. There are tons of nights and events dedicated to pub quizzes, clubs and postings of great societies to apply for and join. My advice is to force yourself to stay awake and get out to all these events. I met my first friend in Glasgow the second night I was here by walking outside straight into a pub called The Howlin’ Wolf with live music. What better way to learn about a new place, then to meet and ask the people who have lived in the UK their entire life. Do not stress about meeting friends, your circle of friends will enter your life in the UK when and how you least expect it.
An Apple a Day DOES Keep the Doctor Away...
This is my most important advice in the entire blog, as I am currently sick while writing it. A key thing we tend to forget when moving to a new country, is that our bodies need to adjust to the weather and time difference. I would recommend investing in a kettle, cold medicine and melatonin right when you get here. A kettle to make yourself a nice cup of tea, cold medicine because you will get sick from the weather and melatonin to fix your sleep schedule instead of being a night owl for the first three weeks of classes.
Harry Potter and Tim Hortons...
My favourite part about moving to the UK thus far is being able to travel to Edinburgh which is an hour train ride away and costs only 8.56 pounds for a round trip! I was able to experience the Harry Potter Tour which I imagine is a big piece of a lot of people's childhoods. You get to see The Elephant House where J.K. Rowling wrote the first novel of the series. You get to walk a few minutes and see the tombstones that are believed to have given her inspiration for the characters names especially the famous Tom Riddell. If you are a big Harry Potter fan, I would highly recommend this and taking a stroll down Victoria street which was the inspiration for Diagon Alley.
Also, “It’s Time for Tims,” is an understatement for anyone from Canada. They opened the first two Tim Hortons in Glasgow a few months ago, and I was extremely over joyed to get a nice hot chocolate and toasted bagel before my tutorial. It is nice to find a familiar coffee and donut chain anywhere you travel. Grab yourself a planner to write your class and tutorial schedule out and sit down with a nice cup of coffee from Tims.
Home is Where Your Story Begins
Ultimately, do not be afraid to make the UK your home for the next few years, be scared, be excited, be open and ready for change because it is coming! Walk around every chance you get and explore the museums, parks, schools, restaurants and culture that makes your new home. If you have any questions about what to bring or expect in the UK, do not hesitate to contact one of our advisors, we would be more than happy to answer any questions.