Now that you’ve sorted your accommodation and successfully applied for your student visa, the hardest parts of preparing for your studies overseas are behind you, right? Maybe not.
While the visa and student accommodation processes can be stressful, when it comes to other pre-departure preparations student may start to draw a blank. If you’re worried about forgetting something during your summer prep, take a look at Across The Pond’s Pre-Departure Guide to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.
First thing’s first, be sure you pack a copy of your acceptance letter or email as well as official copies of your transcript, diploma, CAS and any other supporting documents you had on hand during your visa application process. You’ll want to pack these in your carry-on so that they are easily accessible when passing through Immigration Control at the airport. It’s also a good idea to travel with and keep photocopies of your passport and travel documents while you are in the UK.
Top Tip: Pack a day or two’s worth of clothes in your carry-on just in case your baggage gets lost or delayed on the trip over.
One pre-departure mistake that students often make is to underestimate how difficult it can be to pack for a year studying overseas. The best thing to do to ensure you have everything you want to bring but only what you need is to keep a running packing list before your departure. Start with your essential clothing and school items and then add onto that as you see fit. You’d also do well to keep the British weather in mind when writing and revising your packing list. Layers go a long way in the UK!
Top Tip: Consider investing in a travel or yoga towel to bring with you. They’re light, easy to pack and dry quickly.
Plan Your Arrival
Especially if this is your first time travelling to the UK, try to make good use of your internet resources to plan your arrival and travel from the airport to your accommodation. Make use of your university’s assistance and recommendations for arranging your travel and arrival. Remember, many flights from North America to the UK travel overnight and there’s a good chance you’re going to spend your first few hours on British turf jet-lagged. Try to make all the arrangements beforehand to make things easier on your knackered* future self (*British colloquialism for being exhausted)!
Top Tip: You’re likely to be arriving to a room devoid of kitchen utensils, linens and most importantly food! Try using Google Maps or Google Earth to get an idea of the layout of your UK university or town that way it’s easier to navigate on your own during your first few days.
Now that you’ve covered your basic preparations, go ahead and get excited! Watch all your favorite movies that are set in London or introduce yourself to some classic British favorites (the Monty Python film and TV shows such as The Office are a good place to start)! Do a Tumblr search to see if you can find any blogs written by students at your university or travel blogs with must-see British destinations. Check out the faculty page for your university department and make a summer reading list out of the articles and books of some of your future professors.
Top Tip: Check out Across The Pond’s “Pre-departure Guide” for further practical advice on preparing yourself for your studies overseas. If you already have an ATP Advisor, you can ask them for the guides.
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