Studying in the UK

Moving to a new country to live and study can be very exciting, but it can also be challenging. The information in this section will help you to prepare for your studies on the University of Bath International Foundation Year. The more prepared you are, the quicker you are  likely to settle in to your new life in the UK.

Culture shock and settling in

It’s fun and exciting to be living in new culture, but it’s not unusual for students to find it hard to settle at first, and difficult to study. Be assured that this experience, known as culture shock, is completely normal when people move to a new environment, and away from family and friends. Everything is different – the language, the manners, the food and the culture.

You will probably also feel tired and disoriented if you have travelled a long way and across several time zones. Just remember in your first few days to get plenty of rest, take some moderate exercise, eat a balanced diet and sleep well. The feeling will pass.

It is quite common at first to feel very positive as everything is new and exciting, but this can then sometimes change as you may feel confused, and isolated from friends and family. You might find you don’t sleep well, and feel anxious. Sometimes this develops into a negative and hostile feeling towards the new host country. Don’t worry about this, it means you are working out what you feel about yourself and your own country and values. You will gradually adjust to the new culture, and as you learn what to expect and develop routines you will start to feel more positive again.

Dealing with culture shock

Feeling culture shock is normal, and is the process of adapting to the new environment. Talk to the other students, who may be experiencing the same feelings. Keep in touch with friends and family at home, and make sure you have familiar things around you to remind you of home. Take note of activities around the college, and any clubs or societies that you might want to join to learn new skills and more about your new country. Take care of your health.

Study methods

You may find that study methods on the International Foundation Year differ from what you were used to at school in your own country. You will be expected to work independently, to develop skills of critical thinking, to analyse what you read and to express your opinion. You will learn through different study methods such as tutorials, presentations, informal discussions, small group work, self-study and lab work where appropriate. There will be a lot of independent study, and you will need to learn how to manage your time efficiently.

There is a  very useful interactive website Prepare for Success which is for international students who are planning to study in the UK. It has activity-based learning resources which help you to find out about academic life in the UK, how to manage your time, and the skills needed to be successful in your studies.  

lab_work

Attendance and punctuality

You will be expected to attend all of your timetabled classes. It is extremely important to be on time for your classes. This means arriving at least a few minutes early so you can settle in and be ready to start the class at the correct time.

If you arrive late, it is disturbing and inconsiderate to the other students, it causes difficulties for the teacher, who may need to recap what he or she has already covered, and you will have missed some of the information given out in the lesson.

We hope that you will always be punctual for your classes. Please remember that a record is kept of your attendance, and if there are any problems with attendance or punctuality, this may affect the terms of your visa.

Managing your time effectively

One of the most difficult aspects of studying away from home for the first time is learning how to manage your time effectively to make sure you get everything done. You will need to think about attending classes, completing assignments, preparing for exams, leisure time and sleep, and still have to find time for self-study. Sometimes it can feel as if you don’t have enough time to do everything, especially if you have several assignments due very close together, and this can create stress. Take the time to prioritise what you need to do.

Know when your assignments are due, and plan ahead to make sure you have time to complete them. Make a timetable for the week to allow for study time, and keep to it. It’s sometimes tempting to wait until the last minute, but then you won’t have enough time to research the subject or consult your tutor if you need to. It’s much better to start as soon as you can.

Remember that you also need breaks in your study schedule, so that you don’t become exhausted. If you study for long periods, you will probably lose concentration and won’t remember as much.

If you have difficulty organising your time, remember that you can always talk to your tutor, your teachers or someone in the International Office and we will support you.

Salisbury Room