5 life hacks for studying in the UK
From dealing with British weather to saving money on transport, we give you our five top tips for studying abroad in the UK
1. Always bring an umbrella
It’s no secret that UK weather is a little on the drizzly side. In 2020, it rained a whopping 170 days out of the year!
That means you need to come prepared. A mini umbrella stashed in your bag can be a real lifesaver during an April shower – or a May shower… June… July… August… You get the idea.
A waterproof coat is also a good investment, for the winter months, some sturdy shoes – especially if you’re studying in the North of England or Scotland, where the weather can be more extreme.
2. Take advantage of loyalty cards and student offers
This is one of the easiest ways to save money as a student in the UK.
You should definitely sign up for a student card from the National Union of Students, which will give you access to loads of discounts.
A loyalty card for your local supermarket is also essential: you can earn points each time you shop there and eventually get money taken off your weekly shop!
Restaurants and coffee shops offer loyalty cards, including student favourite Nando’s, and a National Art Pass will give you free entry into hundreds of museums, galleries, and historic houses, as well as 50% off big exhibitions.
And while we’re on the topic of cards…
3. Buy a Railcard
One of the great things about the UK is how accessible it is by rail. You can get the train from London, in the South of England, all the way to Aberdeen on the North tip of Scotland, in under 10 hours!
However, train prices can rack up over time, and that’s why you need a National Railcard. A one-year 16-24 Railcard is only £30, and sometimes less if you can find a good offer, and gives you a third off all your rail fares.
If you’re going to be travelling around the country to see the sights (which we really think you should be), you’ll save back what you spend on your Railcard in no time.
Pro tip: If you’re going to be spending time in London, add your railcard to an 18+ Oyster photocard to get discounted Tube fare, too!
4. Don’t forget an extension cord – and adapters!
This one might sound trivial, but it’s pretty important to make your student room as comfortable as possible.
You never know how many plug sockets your room will have, so an extension cord is essential to make sure you have enough for all of your devices.
And, not to sound like your mum, but remember to bring adapters for plugs from home. The last thing you want on your first day in a new country is to have to rush out to find an adapter to charge your phone!
5. Reach out to your fellow Cheveners
Moving abroad to study is exciting, but it can also be a little scary, and you might find yourself missing home.
Remember that your Chevening family is there to support you, and your fellow Chevening Scholars will all be in the same boat. Lean on your network, and have fun!
By Amy Hughes