International students share things they wish they'd have known before moving to the UK. ARC shares advice and resources to make the transition easier.
Going to university can be a daunting time for anyone but being thrown into an entirely new culture can cause even more anxiety.
Your International Liberation Rep, Mohammad, recently spoke to a group of international students asking what they wish they had known before moving to the UK. We have taken some quotes from these conversations so you can consider looking into these further. Where possible, an member of staff from the Advice and Representation Centre shares advice and resources that will hopefully ease the transition into life in the UK and at the University of Wolverhampton, whether you’re a current or incoming student.
"I wish I had researched about the prices of the bus, tram and train cards and find out how the lines operate during the day (colours, off-peak, etc) before coming to the UK but also find out about tv licensing (which are also for computers)"
Ines from France, Marketing Management & Media Studies
“I wish I had researched about the prices of accommodation before coming to the UK”.
Mohammad from Egypt, Business and Management
“I wish I knew about the cost of living before coming to the UK’.
Diksha from India, Aerospace Engineering
“I should have researched about the people and culture of the UK because it is very different from my home country, but anyway, I am getting used to it every day”.
Sara from Holland, Digital Marketing
“I wish I had researched about how to get a train going from one place to another before coming to the UK”.
Eunjae from South Korea, Business and Marketing
“I wish I knew that my giro card does not always work here. Even when the giro card sign was written somewhere, it often did not work”.
Bianca from Germany, English Linguistics and Literature
Key Tips from Wolves SU
Letter proving you are a student:
You can download a proof of student status letter from your e:Vision under the section that says ‘official letters and documents’. You’ll likely need this to set up a bank account and prove your council tax exemption.
If this isn’t available for you to download, it most likely means you have not completed your enrolment. Make sure all your UKVI check documents are uploaded ASAP to avoid delays in enrolment.
Student discounts for travel:
If you are using the bus or train to travel, we would recommend you get student discounted tickets to make these slightly cheaper. You can get the forms to fill in for student bus or train passes from the bus/ train ticket stations in town:
Wolverhampton Bus Station | Enjoy Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton Train Station | Trains to Wolverhampton | West Midlands Railway
If you need any of these applications stamped that can be done at ASK@WLV.
If you are travelling between campuses, you can use the campus bus which is completely free. You need to show your student card but if you don’t have this, yet you can show something that proves you are a student here to the bus driver.
Bus stop locations - University of Wolverhampton (wlv.ac.uk)
If you are a frequent traveller, live in or around Birmingham and commute into university daily, you may want to consider a swift card that allows you access to trains, trams, and buses. These range in price depending on which of these transport options you use. There are further discounts available for students and if you set up a direct debit.
This ticket finder can help you find the right option for you: Swift Card Ticket Finder
Getting involved in societies for a sense of home:
We hope that all UK students are warm and welcoming to their international course mates, however sometimes being with people from your own culture and background can create a closer sense of home and help with loneliness.
At the SU we have a wide range of cultural/ interest societies that can be a great way of widening your friendship network while studying abroad:
Current Societies (wolvesunion.org)
If you don’t feel there is a society for you then you can also make your own as long as you have a group of 10 that are interested in getting it set up:
Create a Society (wolvesunion.org)
Getting used to a new way of studying or referencing:
Most students are not familiar with the more independent style of learning university offers when they first join their course. However, for international student there can be even greater challenges when you are expected to write, analyse, interpret and reference academically in what may be your second language.
However, the university library has a whole range of workshops and one-to-one sessions that you can book to help. These are completely free and great source of academic support for all students.
For example, they have workshops on:
- Academic English language skills
- Digital skills
As well as, how to research effectively to find the information you need to support your writing and apply critical thinking.
Skills for learning - University of Wolverhampton (wlv.ac.uk)
Arrange accommodation before coming to the UK
We would strongly recommend that, wherever possible, you organise where you are going to live while studying before you arrive in the UK. Once you get here it can be a stressful process of finding available accommodation that suits your needs, arranging guarantors and paying your first instalment. This is all made significantly easier and less stressful if arranged before you get here.
We would recommend that you start by looking at the options available through the university as these are often cheaper as your utility bills are included:
Accommodation - University of Wolverhampton (wlv.ac.uk)
If you don’t want to live in university accommodation there are further options listed here:
Students Living Off Campus - University of Wolverhampton (wlv.ac.uk)
If you are moving to the UK with your family the university does not have options for non-students such as partners or children so you will need to find private accommodation. The Advice and Representation Centre in the SU has a list of approved letting agents which we are consistently refreshing so please contact us directly for this: firstname.lastname@example.org
Home comforts while you are away
Homesickness can be common when studying abroad but there are little things you can do to make yourself feel more at home. For example, cooking yourself something you would normally make at home. Or bringing a little memento from home with you such a family photo, a blanket or favourite mug. They may seem like small things, but they can provide a huge amount of comfort and reassurance when feeling homesick.
Wolverhampton is also a very diverse city and has a range of international food shops and an open-air market where you can easily pick up the exact ingredients and brands you know and love from home.
Know where to go for help
There are a wide range of services available for students in the university and if you are unsure there is likely a staff member around to help direct you to the right place.
For VISA or international enquiries, you need to speak with the VISA team:
For academic questions such as enrolment or module queries you need to speak to ASK@WLV:
ASK@WLV - University of Wolverhampton
Log an E:vision help desk call
Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm on one of the main University campuses:
City Campus in the Ambika Paul Building, next to the Harrison Library.
Walsall Campus in the foyer area of the Performance Hub.
Telford Campus on the ground floor of the Darby Building.
For Finance issues you can contact the Finance Information Hub:
9am-1pm, Monday-Friday, in the MX (Housman) Building
For study support there is the Library:
Library Home - University of Wolverhampton (wlv.ac.uk)
Opening hours - University of Wolverhampton (wlv.ac.uk)
Or, if you need independent advice and guidance, you can contact the Advice and Representation Centre in the Students Union:
If you are ever unsure of the right person to speak to, as a course mate, your personal tutor or come to the Advice and Representation Centre. If we can’t help, we will likely know and can direct you to someone who can ??