Find out about these 10 top tips that can help any International student moving to Cambridge.
Cambridge has a lot to offer International students. The world class university is quite the draw, but there’s also a great social scene, amazing restaurants, beautiful scenery and lots of cool architecture and history to tuck into.
If you’re moving to Cambridge as an International student there’s a lot to do before you can feel fully settled in. It’s going to be such a big learning curve, but one that sets you up for feeling happy, secure and excited, ready to make many incredible memories in this beautiful place.
To help every International student embarking on this exciting chapter, here are 10 top tips:
1. Be Open To Employment
Getting a job is a great idea financially and also to get more of a social life during your time in Cambridgeshire. Just make sure that you know how many hours you can work with your specific type of student Visa.
2. Start Off Living In University Accommodation
International students are advised to live in university accommodation for their first year of study. This gives you time to make friends, get over any culture shock and settle in before potentially finding a student house share in your second year onwards. Of course, you can find student housing away from university halls if you want to live somewhere else from the beginning of your education. Just be sure to use legitimate sites and agencies before sending any money across to secure your spot.
3. Choose Your Housemates Wisely
Studying at Cambridge is a huge undertaking and choosing the wrong housemates could scupper your plans to do well in your studies. When the time comes to house share, don’t assume friends who are great to go out on a night out with are great to share a house with. Courteous, friendly housemates are the best, ideally those with the same study ethics as you.
4. Practise Using Public Transport
Getting around is always more fun when there is no pressure to get anywhere on time. Before your studies start, get yourself used to the public transport system in Cambridge. You can walk most places but public transport makes it much easier, especially if the weather is bad. Cycling is also a great option if you are eco-conscious, especially with the incredible cycling routes not just in Cambridge itself but across the county.
5. Get Stuck Into Clubs & Societies
One of the best ways to find support and people who have things in common with you is to join clubs and societies, of which Cambridge has many. Try not to only choose societies who have your language in common, but also clubs which share your passion for different subjects. It is a great way to improve your language skills whilst also meeting new people who share your enthusiasm for certain pastimes or topics.
6. Register With A GP
As part of your VISA application you have to pay a surcharge so you have access to the NHS whilst you are here. This means you can register with a GP at a health centre when you get here, and make an appointment to see a doctor if you feel unwell. You should also locate your nearest A&E in case of emergency illness or an accident. Addenbrookes is the main hospital in Cambridge but you should only visit in case of an emergency, ideally calling 111 beforehand. You are also encouraged to use pharmacies to access treatments for different ailments that don’t require a GP appointment or
7. Utilise Cheap Self Storage
Self storage in Cambridge is a fantastic facility for International students. You can use it to store expensive items whilst you are visiting your home country. You can use it to store extra belongings that clutter up your student room. You can also use it to store all your things when you are between accommodations or between semesters. It’s extremely useful and self storage in Cambridge is also very affordable, making it easy to keep your things safe when you have no permanent ‘neutral’ address like you would have in your home country (IE your parents house).
8. Get To Know Your Peers
The UK lifestyle is very different to other cultures and has its unique humour, range of accents, slang and other quirks you will get to know in time. The best thing to do is make friends with people who speak your language, but also spend time around people who are from the UK and other countries. People travel from all over to study at Cambridge and you’re bound to get the hang of socialising here by immersing yourself in all the parties, social gatherings and events you can in between studying.
9. Get To Know The UK
Whilst you are studying in the UK you should make the most of the culture and the various offerings available that you only find in the UK. Try traditional British pub food, enjoy traditional British pastimes like punting (associated with Cambridge) and consider travelling to other parts of Cambridge outside of the city. When you feel confident, Cambridge is also well connected to other parts of the UK like London, the Midlands, East Anglia and even down South in Devon and Cornwall.
Learning a new monetary system is challenging enough, let alone as a student. As soon as you travel to the UK try to learn the cost of general items, and learn to budget accordingly. Ideally, if you can, try to handle some cash as well as using your card so that you can actively practise using the different notes and coins.
As an International student there are so many different resources for you to use within the Cambridge education system so that you have a great time and make the most of this chapter of your life. Just remember to immerse yourself, be kind to yourself and most importantly – don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it – there is support available for you.