If you have never been to the UK before, or have no idea how to prepare for a student life in the UK, there are services available to help you along the way. These come in the form of a pre-departure briefing. There are annual pre-departure briefings held for inbound students who are coming to study in the UK.
A pre-departure briefing is a seminar that is held at multiple locations in your respective home country that will run you through the “A to Z” process of everything you will need in order to prepare for your journey. Its main aim is to help international students prepare as best as they can prior to starting their journey.
These seminars will cover all the key points some of which includes a talk on visa requirements specific to your nationality, travel options to the UK, an example of a typical luggage inventory and how to settle into your new accommodations. Additionally there may be some guest speakers who are graduates of UK universities who will be talking about their experiences of being students in the UK and offering first hand advice.
The cost of attending one of these events is free; however you will need to be able to produce a proof of acceptance to a UK educational facility such as an acceptance letter or CAS letter. Additionally you will need to factor in the cost of travel and possibly overnight accommodation if the nearest event venue is not very close to your home town. Keep in mind that these events are very popular, so you might not be able to show up on the door, call ahead and reserve a seat for yourself where possible.
Nearly all UK universities offer pre-departure briefing seminars in many nationwide locations, try searching your chosen universities’ website for more information. Alternatively, you can visit the British Council Office website and contact them for more generalised seminars hosted in a location near you.
It is recommended that before attending your first pre-departure briefing that you read through these additional resources. Below are three free guidebooks with all the essential information to get started:
- First Steps: A comprehensive pre-departure guide for inbound students with advice and guidance on all the key topics such as immigration, additional fees, preparing for your trip, your arrival and settling into your accommodations.
- Creating Confidence: This is a guide that shows students how to stay safe in the UK and how to avoid being a victim of crime. It explains the emergency services and how to contact them should you need assistance during emergency and non-emergency situations.
- Keeping Healthy: is a guide that explains how the healthcare system works in the UK. It has advices on what to do if you find yourself injured or unwell and whether or not you maybe entitled to NHS care.
If you want a taster of what UK life is like before committing yourself to a study there is a hosting scheme in place, where you are able to visit the UK for a short while being hosted. For more information on hosting, visit the Host UK website.