International Student Life in the UK
Are you an aspiring medic in Hong Kong looking to study Medicine in the UK? Worried about moving abroad for your studies? Don’t be!
Arriving as an international student in a new country can be daunting at first, but there’s plenty of preparation you can do before you arrive in the UK to make you feel at home. This page will give you our top tips on the cost of living in the UK, finding student accommodation and transport.
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Where can I get student accommodation in the UK?
Staying on your university campus will be closer to university and far cheaper. Not only will you save on travelling to your classes, but you’ll save a lot on rent. On a similar note, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the conversion rates too. In the UK, £1 translates to HK$9.49, so the cost of a can of Coca-Cola in the UK would be around 85p ($8 in Hong Kong).
Student halls will vary between different medical schools – to organise your accommodation, get in touch with your university’s Accommodation services, found on their website, who will be happy to help. Don’t forget to check the deadlines for your school’s student halls application!
How do I use public transport?
If you’re studying in London, you can buy a Student Oyster card, which is similar to the Octopus card in Hong Kong. The card can be topped up with money and used for public transport on the underground, as well as buses – all with a student discount!
Outside London, there are plenty of other ways to travel. With National Express, you can travel across the UK by coach – and save lots of money using a Student Coach Card, which will save you up to 30% on your fares. Similar to the coach card, you could also buy a Student National Railcard, which will keep expenses down if you travel by train.
Can I get a job in the UK?
If you’re a student using a Tier 4 Visa (most student Visas fall under this category), you can work in the UK alongside your studies. Many students have part-time jobs – and if English isn’t your first language, this can be a great way to pick it up. Depending on your studies, you can work up to 10 or 20 hours per week – you can check this on the UKCISA website.
Where can I learn English?
Before your course starts, you may want to practice your English so you’re ready for lectures and seminars at university. You can do this through the British Council’s website, LearnEnglish, which gives you free access to videos and written exercises designed to help improve your English. This will be a great way to get started before you move to the UK.
During your time at university, as well as working part-time and attending your lectures, you can also choose to take English classes. There are over 500 English Language learning centres across England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, so there are plenty of options!
How can I stay in touch with friends and family in Hong Kong?
Your university will provide you with free internet access while you’re studying – and you can also make use of the computer facilities on campus, so keeping in touch with friends and family via Skype or Facebook will be easy.
To make phone calls, you can purchase a UK phone contract, or use pay-as-you-go, which you can top up to pay for texts and calls. When buying a SIM card for a contract or pay-as-you-go, make sure the card is compatible with your phone. Education UK has a useful page of information on different phone contracts.