Study abroad UK: tips and advice

01 March 2021
Student sits in the shade of a tree outside grand Cardiff University main building

Tips and advice for students studying abroad

1. Make new friends

Making friends will help you to settle into your new university life more easily and quickly. Attend all of your orientation classes and go along to as much of fresher’s week as you can. This first week or two will be the best time to connect with other students and start to build your social networks. You’ll meet and mix with both native students and other international students like yourself. Another piece of advice for students studying abroad is to join some university clubs – this is a great way to make new friends.

2. Become independent

Becoming independent is one of our top studying abroad preparation tips. Before you leave your home country, think carefully about the sorts of tasks you will need to do independently while you are studying abroad. Cooking meals, doing your laundry and keeping your room tidy and clean are just a few examples. Take time to learn how to do these things at home so you’re confident when you arrive in your new country.

3. Take responsibility 

Studying abroad will likely bring you many opportunities for fun and new experiences, but it’s also important to take responsibility for yourself. Take the time to learn about your new surroundings and culture. Make sure you know exactly what is expected of you both in class and on campus and ask a member of staff if you’re unsure.

4. Study hard

Graduating with a good degree is the main objective of studying at university. For many people, studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so making the most of this time is even more important. Always attend all your classes and engage with set tasks and independent learning. Forming study groups with other students is a great way to enhance your learning while also spending time with your friends.

5. Get organised before leaving

Perhaps one of the most important study abroad tips is to get organised before you leave your home country. Paperwork can be arduous and time-consuming but completing it ahead of time will allow you to relax and focus on your new student life. While still at home, ask your study advisor what you will need to prepare. Examples of important considerations include budget planning, health insurance, accommodation arrangements, airport pickup and things to buy for university.

6. Set goals

Setting yourself goals is a good way to remain focused and make the most of studying abroad. You may want to become fluent in a new language, take classes in a new major, or graduate with high grades to progress to further study. You’re likely to have many opportunities to have fun, but having clear goals in mind, and revisiting them regularly, will help you to achieve everything during your time abroad.

7. Immerse yourself

International students find the most success when they research as much as possible about the new culture before leaving their home country. Cardiff – and Wales – are packed with culture and history, from the national obsession with rugby, to some of the UK’s most amazing castles. Find movies, books and food that will give you an idea of what to expect. Investigate the culture’s famous athletes, singers, scientists and current events. This research will allow you to connect with your new home and will also give you some topics of conversation when meeting new friends.

8. Learn conversational language

If you’re studying in a country that uses a different language to yours, it’s important to learn not only the language for your studies, but also for socialising and conversation. Learning the language on a deeper level will enable you to get the most from your studies, social life and networking opportunities. In addition, an extra language will make you stand out when applying for jobs after graduation.

9. Don’t overspend

When in a new country it can be tempting to blow your budget on all the new temptations on offer. Meals out and activities with friends are all novelties when you first arrive. However, you will be in your new university’s country for months at a time and it’s important to make your money last for as long as it needs to. Make a weekly budget and stick to it, and take time to learn how locals live.

10. Explore

Be sure to explore your local area and, if you get the chance, the rest of the country. Welsh people are known for their friendliness, so go out and meet them! The country is full of stunning sandy beaches and beautiful lakes, forests and mountains, so you won’t run out of new things to see. Exploring will enable you to familiarise yourself with the land and culture and the people that live there.

11. Get a job or work placement

If your visa restrictions will allow it, getting a job or work placement will help you settle into your new country, learn the language, and expand your CV. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about the real world of work while you study for your degree.

Apply to Study in the UK

Cardiff University is a prestigious Russell Group university that celebrates difference. Cardiff is a safe, exciting, affordable student city, just over two hours away from London.

Cardiff University International Study Centre provides a friendly community and a solid introduction to living in the UK. You will study both academic classes and English language and study skills, giving you the knowledge and confidence to join the University once you complete the programme. Our dedicated staff will also support you outside of the classroom, with everything from learning about the local transport system to finding accommodation.

Our programmes prepare you to succeed in your studies and enjoy all areas of student life. You can choose from a variety of pathway programmes, depending on your level of study – we cater for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Studying at Cardiff International Study Centre will give you the opportunity to obtain a valuable degree from a prestigious Russell Group university.