UK university hacks from a current Chevening Scholar

Current Chevening Scholar and Social Media Ambassador (SMA) Hafsat Dauda shares her tips for how to put your best foot forward as an international student in the UK.

There are many things I wish I knew before commencing my life as an MSc student in the UK, so I’ve compiled a list of ‘UK university hacks’ for you! Whether you’re a current or aspiring Chevening Scholar, I hope they will help you to put your best foot forward and achieve your academic goals.

1. Embrace change

The difference between the UK educational system and that of most other countries is so stark you will probably need some time to adjust. Postgraduate degrees are also more demanding than undergraduate degrees, so don’t panic if you feel a bit overwhelmed to begin with.

What’s important is that you embrace, rather than resist, the changes that follow.

Be ready to make changes not only to your study and learning habits but also to your psychology on learning. Surrounding yourself with friends and getting involved in outdoor activities is a great way to manage any anxious feelings that might accompany this.

2. Remain calm

For me, the first few months of university were the roughest. When the results of your assessments start rolling in, they may not look as great as you would have wanted them to. But this isn’t unusual. Navigating a new system and finding your feet takes time.

The worst mistake you can make is to lose your calm and panic. Try to remain calm, as things always get better.

If you need any help, take advantage of the resources and support provided by your university and try to find the best learning method for you.

3. Get Involved

You are at university to study, but that’s not the only thing your university has to offer. There are always tons of activities to get involved in.

To maintain a good study/life balance, I recommend joining some clubs, societies and groups. This will help you reap more out of your year than just academic achievements.

4. Befriend

If you can, try and locate one or two people from your university even before you leave for your studies. I was lucky enough to have befriended two Cheveners and two Nigerians before I arrived in the UK. Having some friendly faces to turn to really helped me to settle into university life. You get to share your troubles with each other and learn from each other’s experiences. It also helps with those lonely days.

5. Experience

One year may seem like a long time but once you get into it, it just speeds by.

Manage your time so that you can stay on top of your studies while also experiencing a social life away from school. Travel, hang out with friends, try new foods, go hiking, and have fun! It really makes handling the stress of university assessment much easier.

Finally, for everything it’s worth, leaving your comfort zone and experiencing life in the UK as a student is so worth it… just make sure you employ the right hacks to make it so.

From Hafsa, With Love.

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