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International students' survival

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Any student can find the first few weeks at university disorienting. But international students often face additional problems. If you have not spent much time in the UK before starting your course, you will have to learn to live with the English language and British culture as well as a new educational experience. However, there is a good deal of help available.

Most UK universities take international students seriously. There will be an international office, with dedicated student advisers; and the students’ union will usually have an international student orientation programme. The international office will offer counselling, help and support, as well as special social events. While you may not want to surround yourself with your compatriots all the time, it can be helpful to know that others share your specific worries and problems. Most university websites have full information tailored to international students’ needs. So you shouldn’t be ignored or isolated from the locals – staff or students.

You can get useful advice and information from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (www.ukcisa.org.uk).

The British Council website also has some useful information about studying and living in the UK (www.britishcouncil.org).

Visas. If you have a problem with a UK visa, contact your university international office. Also, the British government visa service website has specific guidance for students and deals fully with many common visa-related questions − www.ukvisas.gov.uk.

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