To start with, as an international student coming to the UK, it is important to understand and try to adapt to the culture. Nevertheless, we know how difficult it can be to know the do’s and don’ts in the UK. Therefore we’ve put together a list of the 10 things you should NEVER do in the UK. It may take you a little time to get used to your surroundings and don’t be embarrassed to make mistakes. Moreover, your culture may be very different and it can be a little overwhelming at first. However, we’re confident that our list will help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls new students make when they arrive in the UK.
1. Call the United Kingdom “England”
It is important to know that the UK’s official full name is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is made up of 4 countries- Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Moreover, each country has its own distinctive culture, national identity, and government.
Nevertheless, nothing is more cringe-worthy than hearing someone say how “beautiful England is” when they are standing in front of Loch Ness in Scotland.
Also, calling someone from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland is seen as very offensive and you should not do it. If you are in any doubt, stick with calling someone British.
To be honest, when someone asks “How are you?” or “Alright?”, this is not a cue for you to tell them about your medical history and how your left nostril is a bit sore today. British people don’t care how you really are. Nevertheless, asking someone “how are you?” is part of civilities and small-talk in the UK. The correct answer to this question is “Fine, Thanks. How are you?”. Afterwards, the British person will then guide the conversation onto another topic, such as the weather.
3. Don’t block the escalators
It is an unspoken rule in British society that the left-hand side of the escalator is reserved for those people who are in a hurry. If you want to stand still, you should stay on the right-hand side
4. Ignoring the queuing system
Furthermore, another unspoken rule in British society is the art of queuing. Stay in line directly behind the person in front of you and wait your turn. Therefore, if everyone obeys the queuing rules, nobody gets angry.
5. Don’t forget your manners
British people are taught from a very young age to mind their “p’s and q’s”. This means to remember to say “please” and “thank you.” Forgetting to say these little words can make a big difference to how British people will react to you.
British people are distant from meeting strangers. Hence, it is a cultural thing that physical contact is reserved for those with whom they feel comfortable around. Therefore, when you meet someone for the first time, shake their hand. However, do not give them a hug or kiss them on the cheeks unless they have otherwise said so.
7. Asking if they know the queen
There are 65.64 million people in the UK, not all of them know the Queen.
8. Doing a British Accent
First of all, no matter how many times you have practiced, your British accent is probably not that good. However, save it for a bit later once you’ve made good friends with a British person
9. Refusing a cup of Tea
Offering someone a cup of tea when they come to visit your house is a welcoming gesture. To refuse the cup of tea tells your host that you do not feel welcome in their house and can be seen as rude
10. Talking about religion or politics with someone you don’t know
These topics are not discussed openly in public and a lot of British people feel uncomfortable talking about this with someone they don’t know for fear of offending them.
Moreover, if you want to ask more questions about studying abroad, do not hesitate and join Hellouni community! Register on our website and get in contact with ambassadors from various universities around the world.
Note before: Fees are subject to change and this article does not reflect any changes made to university fee guidelines after its publication date.
Deciding where to study in the UK is one of the biggest dilemmas faced by international and UK-born students alike. If you have already been thinking seriously about studying in the UK, one of your main concerns may have been the cost of study. The UK’s world-renowned universities accept thousands upon thousands of new applicants every year from all around the globe. This means that competition for places at the top universities is high and they can charge up to £50,130 per year for certain courses. This article aims to help you to decide whether studying in the UK is the right decision for you and how to finance your higher education.
A major concern for most internationals students is whether the cost of tuition fees will be worth it in the long term, i.e will it help you in your future career plans.
The UK course fees for international students vary greatly.
Usually it is dependent on what university or institution you will be studying at
It can also depend on what course you are studying, as well as how long your course is.
For some students, you may be entitled to some help to cover the costs of tuition fees from your home country. Download our app to find out what scholarships you may be eligible for.
Average Cost for Undergraduate Degree Programmes
Undergraduate courses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland run for an average of 3 years, but this can depend on what time of course you are taking where it may be longer i.e. Medicine or Dentistry. Undergraduate degree courses in Scotland typically take 4 years to complete.
International undergraduate tuition fees vary. They start at around £10,000 (~US$12,300) and can go up to £35,000 (~US$43,100) or more for medical degrees.
If you are thinking of studying an English language program in the UK, you need to check whether your course is accredited.
Cost of Living in the UK
According to the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS), the average cost of living in England (outside of London) for students is UK£12,056 (~US$14,800) per year. Most students should expect to spend around £150 (~US$180) per month on food and groceries, that is £1,350 (~US$1,660) per academic year.
If you wish to study in London, you should expect to pay £15,180 (~US$18,700) per year for food and groceries.
If you need to apply for a visa to live in the UK: you will need to provide evidence that you can afford to financially support yourself while you are here. Read more about how to apply online in our Visa blog.
When you combine the cost of tuition fees with the cost of living in the UK, the total average cost comes to at least £22,000 (~$27,040) per year.
Check out our latest video about studying in America made by one of our ambassadors at HelloUni and download our app today to browse a wide range of courses and scholarships for colleges and universities in the USA!
Bonnie is a fitness blogger and final year student at the University of Glasgow. She runs an Instagram account where she posts daily about everything from how to get fit and healthy, to giving tips on how to balance student life with social events. Bonnie has just come back from Mallorca where she spent a semester abroad. Moreover, she had previously spent a year in Berlin as part of her degree. We managed to catch up with her between classes to chat about all things health, fitness, and university. So here are some Bonnie’s tips on how students can stay fit and healthy at the university .
So, Bonnie, do you have any tips for our readers who want to study abroad and keep healthy?
Doing study abroad can be a scary time because everything around you is foreign and new. One of the first things I did when I moved to both Mallorca and Berlin was to join a gym. This allowed me to get into a routine and made me feel more at home. It is because even though everything else around me had changed, I still knew how to use the gym equipment. It also helped me get involved with a group of like-minded people, now friends, and integrate myself into a new culture.
What is your daily routine like?
I like to start my day with a cup of coffee or green tea and take 20 to 30 minutes in the morning just to be quiet before starting the day. I use this time to read, do some yoga, or post on Instagram. After breakfast, I go to university where I spend all day either in class or in the library on campus. I treat university like a full-time job so I try to get all my work done before going home. By leaving my evenings free for going to the gym and social activities with friends, my day has a clear divide between work and play which I think is essential.
What if I can’t afford to go to the gym? Or if I don’t like the gym?
It’s is a very common but false assumption that you need to go to the gym, or love going to the gym in order to be fit and healthy. It’s really not the case at all. It all depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to build muscle, then you probably will need to join a gym to access the equipment, but if you just want to get healthy then there are so many other ways to do this. You could try swimming, running, going to fitness classes or yoga. When I started out getting fit, I didn’t go to a gym but instead exercised in my room at home. I watched Youtube videos on my laptop and used my language dictionaries as weights. You can 100% find something that you enjoy doing and is budget-friendly.
“I don’t have time to be healthy.” What would be your response to this?
The honest answer? You have time for whatever you see as a priority, so if you find that you don’t have time to be healthy: you need to sit down and be honest with yourself about whether you are actually making your health a priority.
I guarantee that you will be able to find 45 minutes to 1 hour a day to devote to your health. Think about why you don’t have time. Are you spending your evenings binge-watching TV shows or going out drinking 5 nights a week?
A lot of students can fall into the trap of partying too much. How do you maintain a healthy balance between work and play?
It all comes down to time management and moderation. I like to sit down on a Sunday evening and plan my week. I think the best approach is to organise your schedule around the fun activities you want to do. Plan your study around going out with friends on Friday night, or schedule in a mid-week cinema trip. Going out partying and staying up late 5 nights a week isn’t going to be good for your productivity or your health goals. However, going out once a week isn’t really going to set you back much.
What is your diet like as a student on a budget?
If a student is on a student budget it doesn’t meant that he/she has to eat unhealthy foods. Taking the time to find cheaper supermarkets to get nutritious ingredients is a great way to start. I also like to prepare my food so that I always have something to hand. This means that I know what I am eating and helps me stay on budget. It is because I am not buying expensive snacks or meals while I’m out at uni.
Do you have a go-to healthy meal?
I don’t really have a go-to healthy meal, so to say. Most of my meals are quite creative. However, I try to stick to the principles of balanced and nutritious meals. Food is like fuel, so whatever you put into your body is what you are going to get out. By feeding your body with the right nutrients, your study performance as well as your fitness performance will improve.
A balanced meal has carbs, protein and fat.
When preparing a meal, I think about three questions:
What are my carb choices: e.g. pasta, rice or potatoes.
What protein will I choose: e.g. meat, fish, beans.
Which healthy fats can I eat: e.g. avocado, olive oil or nuts.
The options are limitless!
The bulk of my meals is always vegetables, whether roasted, steamed or fried. I make sure to always have leafy greens like spinach and kale. I then choose any one of these combinations, depending on what I feel like eating. To get a better idea of the sort of combinations I make and the sort of food I eat, check out on my blog or on my Instagram.
What is the biggest mistake you see people make when trying to get healthy?
I actually wrote a blog article about this not too long ago. There is a very fine line between being dedicated to your health and fitness goals and being obsessed by them. Sometimes you have to take a step back and think about it.
Every country has its own unique culture. For instance, the British way of life may be very different to your own. Therefore, it can take a little time to become accustomed to your new university. That is why Hellouni provides information about student life in the UK.
What is British culture like?
Manners are very important in Britain. Children are learning from a very early age to say ‘please,’ ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ when appropriate.
British people consider their ‘personal space bubble’ to be very important to them. Thus, it can make them feel uncomfortable when someone ‘invades their space’ by standing too close. Therefore, when talking to someone, standing next to them in a queue, or in public transport it is important to maintain a reasonable distance.
Being on time is essential. You should try to make sure you are not late for lectures, interviews or when meeting people.
Sport is a huge part of life in the UK. The best way for a student to get to know British culture and make friends is to join a team at your university or in your local town. Football (soccer) is by far the most popular sport.
This website is designed for international students and has an online guide to British culture that you may find useful if you want to read more.
Most UK students stay either at home or in Halls of residence in their first year. Halls are a great way to meet people and may be a good idea if this is your first time living in the UK.
Most Halls of Residence have an onsite Student support team who are there to answer any questions or fix any problems you may have. Therefore, check out your university’s website for details on any student accommodation.
In addition, students normally begin looking for a private rental flat for the second year of university. Websites such as Rightmove, Zoopla, and Gumtree are popular places to find private accommodation for students.
What will my academic life be like?
Your timetable, examination schedule and amount of classes will vary and will depend on the course you are taking.
Universities in the UK tend to take a more independent study approach to learning. Lectures and tutorials will provide you with basic knowledge but most subjects require you to do a lot of independent study and research in your free time.
What is the social life like?
Social life at university in the UK centers around the British drinking culture. Nevertheless, alcohol consumption is still a big part of university life.
However, sports teams and volunteer groups on campus are a great way to get involved and make friends outside of the pub! Activities organized could include playing against other teams, quiz nights or even weekend trips away. Therefore, make sure to check out the Freshers’ fair during the first week of term to find out what is on at your university.
Please remember that the process of adapting to a new culture can be a difficult one and it is normal to feel lost at times. Especially when you first arrive.
Where can I go for help?
Most universities also offer an international student support service who can advise on a range of issues commonly faced by international students. In addition, they are also able to assist you with financial issues, Visa advice as well as information about UK culture. Moreover, your academic adviser can also point you in the right direction about where to seek help.
Nevertheless, your university may have other services such as Nightline. This is a free, anonymous, non-judgemental telephone, email, and text support service run by students for students. Find out more information here.
If you want to ask more questions about studying abroad, do not hesitate and join Hellouni community! Register on our website and get in contact with ambassadors from various universities around the world.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get from international students at HelloUni is about how to apply online for a UK student visa. We understand that the visa application process can be scary and seem like a massive task, but it doesn’t have to be!
We’ve tried to answer some of the most common questions to talk you through whether you can apply for a visa, what documents you need and how to apply online. Don’t forget to download our free app to browse scholarships and UK university courses.
CAN I APPLY FOR A VISA?
You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:
are from a country that is outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland. Check here to see if you need a visa for the UK.
have been offered an unconditional offer of a place on a full-time course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor. Here is a list of registered UK institutions who are sponsors.
Can prove that you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course
You can speak, read, write and understand English
WHAT LEVEL OF ENGLISH DO I NEED TO STUDY IN THE UK?
Where you’re studying
What you’re studying
Knowledge of English needed
Higher education institution (HEI)
Degree level or above
Reading, writing, listening and speaking
Equivalent to CEFR (Common European Framework for languages) level B2
The institution that’s not HEI
Degree level or above
SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking
CEFR level B2
SELT in reading, writing, listening and speaking
CEFR level B1
On this website, you can find a PDF with a list of approved centers for English language tests. Check in your own country to see if there are any centers near you.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY FOR MY VISA?
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you start your course.
Your education provider will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once they’ve offered you a place on a course. You’ll need to enter this on your visa application You must no more than 6 months after you receive the CAS.
You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. Processing times for a visa can vary depending on which country you are from. Check how long it takes here..
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
It costs £335 to apply for this visa if you are applying from outside the UK. It costs an extra £335 per person for any dependants who come with you (e.g. family, children.)
You may also have to pay a healthcare cost as part of your application. Have a look at this website for guidance on how to pay and if you need to.
WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED?
HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN THE UK FOR?
You can come to the UK before your course starts:
up to 1 week before, if your course is for 6 months or less
up to 1 month before, if your course is for more than 6 months
How long you can stay in the UK depends on the type of the course you are studying.
You will then be re-directed to this page. Afterward, everyone has to fill in personal information, agree to the terms and conditions and then submit your application. You will then receive an email to confirm that your application has been received. The email will also give you instructions on what to do next.
Unfortunately, there are criminals around the world who try to steal money from people by carrying out what’s known as scams.’ We’d hate for you to be the victim of anything like this, so our advice would be to protect yourself as much as possible and only get your information from trusted sources. For this article, we have collected all of our information from the gov.uk webpage for Immigration and Visas.
The gov.uk website has a special page with more information about these types of scams. If you are already in the UK and think you may have been a victim of a scam or fraud, contact ActionFraud
Moreover, if you want to ask more questions about studying abroad or how to apply online for a UK student visa, do not hesitate and join Hellouni community! Register on our website and get in contact with ambassadors from various universities around the world.