Life in the UK

Published On: 21 Jun 2012

 | Last Updated On: 28 May 2014

The UK is said to be the hometown of exciting student life.  The incredible mix of various international cultures offer you an array of exciting experiences that include music, dance, theatre, and various other arts (fine and performing), not to mention a wide range of places of interest, accents, people from around the world with various lifestyles (and accents), and festivals and celebrations and more. The cosmopolitan cities in the UK are easy to adapt to and guarantee a joyful learning experience.

Students Accommodation: There are various accommodation options available in the UK. Most universities have rooms in their halls of residence where students can rent a room. However, if you accept a room in a university's residence hall, you would be required to sign a binding arrangement to remain in hall for the full academic year. You can also take private accommodation. This could be either with a family that hosts you as a paying guest or with other students sharing a flat. All UK universities have an accommodation office to help students with their accommodation issues. If you are a higher education student going to the UK for the first time, accommodation provided by your college or university is probably the most suitable choice, which is why it is taken up by more than half of the international students on degree courses in the UK. Your institution will try to match your needs with the options available.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in the UK varies depending on whether you live in or outside London and on your own particular lifestyle. The estimated cost outside London is about £7,000 per year and in London it’s about £9,000 or more per year. A lot also depends on the standard of living you expect to enjoy. These figures include the cost of accommodation, heating, lighting, food, clothing, books and daily travel for one person for one year. Tuition fees are on average £11,000 per year but can range from £8,000 to £36,000. You will also need at least £1,020 for each month of your studies to pay for living costs if you live in inner London. If you live in outer London you will need £820 a month.

UK Culture and Lifestyle: The UK culture and way of living is quite different even though we more or less follow the British model for a lot of things. Almost all UK natives are completely self-sufficient and independent by the time they're 18. Hence one has to learn to be independent and self-reliant. No one is going to spoon-feed you. The sooner you learn to fend for yourself the better you'll settle in. The social norms and the unspoken cultural rules are bound to surprise you. Keep an open mind and try seeing the situations in the cultural context. As time rolls by you will soon adapt to the living style. For all you know, you might enjoy the UK more than your home country.

UK Food: The availability of multi-cuisine in the UK reflects the diversity of the society. This is a country of health-conscious people and hence the supermarkets provide you with a wide variety of organic produce. In addition, the supermarkets also sell ingredients from all over the world including Asia.   Stock up your kitchen shelves and refrigerator with ingredients of your choice and keep a set of recipes handy and learn to put them to use. Eating out in the United Kingdom is very expensive, knowing how to make your own meals gives you an advantage and you will spend only a marginal amount on groceries and gas. Learn the English names for pulses and vegetables; it’ll save you a lot of time at the grocery store. Amidst the diverse array of food, one can always enjoy English breakfast with fish and chips.

UK entertainment for international students: As in many other cultures around the world, music is a big part of UK culture. One can enjoy all kinds of music in places as varied as small clubs, independent cafes and bars international-scale concert halls, rock festivals or gigs. The UK also hosts many museums that reflect its rich heritage and culture. Paintings and sculptures in the UK attract many visitors. UK towns and cities also cater to cinema fans.  The Film festivals are a major attraction. Besides all this, students can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the place by going for long walks, adventure trips and leisurely treks. If you are so inclined you can even take part in the Famous London Marathon. The UK leaves none disappointed. Life here is colorful and cheerful leading to new experiences.

Health Services in the UK: As an international student you may be entitled to free or subsidized treatment in the UK under the National Health Service (NHS). To avail this service, your course needs to be of at least six months’ duration. If you are in the UK for less than six months, you may only receive free emergency treatment on the NHS. You can find information and advice on the most common illnesses, and a range of treatments for them, on the NHS Direct website www.nhsdirect.com or by calling NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

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