The United Kingdom is a great option for Canadian students seeking to learn abroad. Not only do you get to learn at some of the greatest universities in the world, you are also closely linked to Europe. This means that while you’re studying abroad, you can expand your horizons and get cheap tickets to destinations around the continent. This can be great for vacation, or for internships.
Moving abroad, however, can be very daunting, which is why you need to follow these steps to make the process easier:
- Apply to Universities
University applications are easy. Like universities and colleges in Ontario, you can use a single application process that allows you to send your applications to several universities for a set fee, called UCAS. These universities will then get back to you on whether you have been accepted or not, leaving you to decide which one to go to.
- Find Accommodation
Once you’ve selected a university as your firm choice, it’s time to find an excellent student accommodation option for you. The newer, more modern and more importantly comfortable the accommodation, the better. Many properties in the UK are quite old, and if you choose an older option then you’ll quickly realise that, while the temperature might not compare to Canadian winters, the drafty windows and wet rain can easily make it feel colder than at home.
- Apply for Your Visa
You can only apply for your visa once you have your UCAS number, accommodation, and proof of your ability to pay the fees. The visa application process is fairly straightforward, as well, it just takes time to get through it. Once you have paid the fees and completed the forms online, you will also have to book an appointment. This is where you will provide all the necessary documents, and send it off to an embassy.
- Make the Move: What You’ll Need
When you first move to the UK, you’ll have to bring all your documents with you, not just your passport with the visa sticker in it. If you don’t, you could be held up at the border. In terms of what you should pack, aim to create a capsule wardrobe of necessities, and leave a little space for personal comfort, like your favourite blanket or book. Bedding and even cooking supplies will be much cheaper to buy in the UK, so leave those at home.
- Tips for Settling in
Once you’ve moved, it’s time to settle in. Register with your university’s health clinic or nearby NHS, pick up your biometric residency card, and make friends during Fresher’s Week (the UK equivalent to Frosh). Make friends with people who live near you, are in your course, and join societies. You won’t stay friends with many of them, but that’s okay, the point is to meet as many people as possible.
These steps will get you into the country and help you get settled. To have a successful time at university, however, you need to take charge of your own future, and apply yourself, apply to internships, and make lifelong friends.
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