Survive Fresher’s Week
Freshers Week can be at once an exhilarating and frustrating experience for international students. On the one hand, your adrenaline is pumping, excited to be in a new country with different customs and perhaps a different language. On the other hand, navigating your way through Freshers Week can be a daunting experience, which is why we’ve compiled a list of ‘top ten tips for surviving Fresher’s week’:
You’re by yourself in a new country and a new environment – don’t lock yourself in your room or worry about sightseeing. Go out and meet new people!
Chances are your University hosts events for new students. If possible, purchase a pass in advance to avoid the queues.
Explore the banks near you. Some banks may be on campus during Freshers Week – find out about transfer fees from abroad, minimums, and monthly fees. Don’t just sign up for the most convenient bank; with due diligence you should be able to find one that doesn’t charge monthly fees. (For Americans: ‘current account’ means ‘checking.’)
Make sure you hit the societies fair – sign up for at least one club or society that takes your interest and one that challenges you to go outside your boundaries! This is one of the best ways to meet people. Be aware, though, that many societies charge membership fees (ranging from £5 to £35).
Before you leave your home country, be sure to have your mobile phone provider “unlock” your phone so you can purchase a British SIM card. If you can’t unlock your foreign phone, look into buying a cheap mobile that will work in the UK. Once you’re here, find a mobile plan that works for you: the UK has a hybrid system that offers top-up plans (receive a bulk amount of texts/minutes for a fee) and monthly plans on a yearly contract. Note: if you go with a contract plan, you’ll likely need a UK bank account (see step #3).
Go with your flatmates or new friends you’ve met during Freshers week on a walking tour near your Uni or flat – combine it with a pub crawl to get a feel for the area and what the best pubs are! Go out of your comfort zone – if only for a night. It’ll probably pay off!
Not wanting to sound too much like your mother, but this is an important and easy thing to do. You’ll be thankful in the event that you’re sick or need medical attention. The NHS is a great service and is available to students studying in the UK.
While it’s important to be social and get involved, don’t feel like you have to commit to everything that interests you in the first week – you’ll have plenty of time over the course of your studies.
Attend the University’s academic fair or consult your course organiser. Sometimes new classes or ‘modules’ are on offer.
Freshers Week will be full of highs and lows, but remember this is the beginning chapter of one of the most exciting periods of your life. Enjoy every moment of it. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Freshers Week can also be exhausting, so make sure to arrive to the UK early enough to get adjusted to the time!
Written by Kevin Boland
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