By Efenosa Ogumbor
When I decided to apply for Law School in the UK, it was one of the biggest (if not the biggest) decisions I’d made for myself and by myself. Having the guidance of the Across the Pond student advisors to keep you on task and provide all the information you needed to succeed made this process that much easier. After choosing my program, applying, and accepting my offer came the hard part – applying for a UK visa. I won’t lie and say it was a simple process, it wasn’t – or that it wasn’t expensive, it was. However, if (as it was for me) it is something you really wanted to achieve than it’s worth it. During the visa process you will need to pay for your healthcare for the length of time you’ll be in the UK. You’ll also need to book a biometric appointment to scan your fingerprints and take your visa photo. Because of the limited amount of time I had left before the beginning of my program I chose to pay for the priority visa application which returned my visa to me three days after it was submitted.
Arriving in the UK
My arrival in the UK was really quite simple, since the UK border agents are no longer stamping visas, I was able to simply scan my passport at the entry point and proceed to my luggage. The change of procedure for visa entry has made entrance into the UK a smooth and stress-less process.
Welcome Week/ Orientation
When I arrived on campus – on one of their designation student arrival days, I was given information on the events that would take place during ‘Freshers Week’, a free sweater courtesy of the school, and the keys to my flat on campus. Many of the orientation week events where targeted at getting international students situated in the UK. Things like setting up a bank account and providing workshops to help find part time work opportunities were helpful – especially because the UK does not operate by credit scores, your bank account is how you set up phone plans and works as a form of ID.
Don’t worry – orientation week is not all boring, the student’s union provided daily activities aimed at helping students connect and form friendships – games nights, roller skating, salsa dancing, and of course lots of parties geared at different music genres.
Orientation week also provided an induction week for all the classes you would be taking for your different programs for the year. Each course induction provided information on the format of the course and important deadlines to keep in mind, while getting you accustomed to the class structures. At the University of Hertfordshire, which is where I attend, our lectures are posted online in advance for students to view and prepare for the seminars in the following week.
While I’d been to university in Canada and had knowledge of how independent you become as a student, this process took it one step further and really expects you to make sure you’re keeping up with your courses and prepared for your seminars. It takes a little getting used to at first, but this system allows you to take your learning into your own hands to help you gain understanding in each subject while providing a forum for you to voice any questions or difficulties you experienced.
Overall, the beginning of my UK journey has been great. I’m learning how to adjust to UK society and customs, I’ve had a few lectures so far that have sparked my interest, I’ve joined a society and made some friends along the way. If you’re thinking or considering school overseas, go for it. It will not only allow you to get world class education but give you the experience of living in another country and open up many travel opportunities during your downtime. If you want to find out more about studying in the UK, please contact one of our student advisors.