Monday, 19 September 2011

International Students at UK - Useful tips

One of the striking features of studying in the UK is that the structured system of written coursework -- labs, projects and regular exams -- encourages you to grasp concepts through active learning and interaction.

Essay based assignments ensured that we read and studied the theory of a topic, while 'practicals' and a two month project in the lab enabled us to learn a variety of 'real-life' scientific techniques and skills.

Usually you are assigned mentors from within the faculty. Don't hesitate to ask them what is required of you in any specific assignment, or if you need guidance in a particular area. They will be more than happy to help!

Also there will always be a student service centre within your university that will try their best to help you in any query, be it extension of visa, finding suitable accommodation or looking for a part-time job hence trying to make your stay there a pleasant one.

Moreover, we were encouraged to contact our professors and other members of the faculty at any time, should any difficulties arise. The library, aptly called the learning centre, was excellent. It was fully equipped with networked computers, printers and photocopiers on each floor, scanners, study rooms, audio visual areas and rooms to practice presentations. The best part was that it would be open 24 hours during weekdays (this facility exists in almost all universities in the UK).

Homesickness can sometimes be an issue, but at the beginning I was so busy exploring and discovering the city and its sights, that I didn't find the time to be lonely. I only missed my parents and felt homesick when I fell ill with the flu.

Comfortingly, international students constitute a good percentage of Sheffield, so I never really felt out of place. Also, Sheffield is considered one of the safest and friendliest cities in the UK.

The university offered a two day orientation programme, exclusively for international students, a week prior to the commencement of our courses. Not only did we get familiarised with the city and the university, we all built great friendships that lasted well beyond graduation.

Moreover, all universities have various clubs and societies like the Indian club, Christian, Hindu and Islamic Societies and many others.

Here are a few tips that students travelling to the UK might appreciate:

  • Note that almost throughout UK (except in London shops and grocery stores close at 6 pm (some even earlier!)
  • Make sure you carry a strip of anti-diarrhoea medicine. When it strikes, it will render you incapable of running even to the nearest pharmacy. Besides they close at 5.30 � 6 pm.
  • Beware of the 'fresher's flu' that hits new students every year! It usually starts in September mainly due to the sudden temperature change that international students face.
  • If you have any pending dental or orthodontic work, finish it off before you leave since NHS (National Health Service) insurance does not cover dental problems. However, in cases of emergency you can always go to a dental college for free treatment. Just be prepared to spend 4-5 hours in the waiting room!
  • Don't buy items like toasters, files and folders and stationery immediately. Instead, get acquainted with the city in the first few days, there are loads of bargain and discount stores where you can buy such stuff for peanuts.
  • If you want to shop for family and friends back home, wait till Christmas. The pre-Christmas sales are really good, but the sales after Christmas make you giddy with ecstasy!
  • When returning after finishing your course, stick to the weight allowance that your airlines provide for luggage. Fines can go up to Rs 1500 per kilo. If you can't avoid it, send the excess stuff through international delivery services. They usually offer good rates.
  • Don't waste your precious money calling back home on the local payphone, that's too expensive. Instead, use call cards like 'Talk India', 'Hello India' etc. that you can find easily at corner shops that are run by Indian, Pakistani or Middle-Eastern owners.
  • One last tip: pack 2-3 packets of instant food (like 2 minute magi noodles) before you fly to your destination in the UK. You will be grateful for it's stomach filling properties till you overcome your jet lag and are able to stock up on groceries.
My final advice to any student travelling to the UK is: don't be afraid to ask!

Things may appear intimidating at the beginning, but once you get used to learning in such a challenging way, you will thoroughly enjoy it.

Thanks: Rediff

Guys, any one coming from India to Birmingham or around then let me know if you are in need of any help. I will do as much as I can to help

Tips for abroad travelers

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