Last Updated 13 Jan 2021

5 Things they don’t tell you about being an International Student in the UK

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Starting University can be a pretty daunting challenge for anybody – with most students leaving home to move to a new city and to meet new people – there can be a lot of surprises along the way. However, for those international students who move to the UK to study this can be even more of a challenge with a lot of things to look out for. Here are 5 things they don’t tell you about being an international student in the UK.

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1. It’s hard to find work

Apart from the basic hurdles that come with finding a job, international students face more difficult challenges when it comes to the job search process. Employers are unwilling to hire students from abroad because of the perception that hiring an international student is costly, time consuming, and they are likely to end up leaving after 6 months! Employers also worry that if they hire foreign students, they will end up with employees who have poor English skills. Whether these attitudes are valid or not, these fears mean it is hard to get decent jobs, especially with no post-study work visa.

2. If you can get a job, your ability to work is limited!!

While EU students have no restriction on the amount of hours they can work, international students can only work 20 hours per week – including voluntary work!! If you are studying a course below degree level, you will only be allowed to work 10 hours per week during term time. The 20 hour per week maximum during term time is not flexible and cannot be exceeded in any given week. This means earning your keep can be very difficult whilst studying as an international student in the UK.

3. Getting funding for your study is almost impossible

Getting funding or grants for your study is a major challenge for all students, but international students from outside of the EU do not qualify for support from Student Finance England at all! What makes this even worse, however, is that it is a major condition of receiving a visa that you must be able to provide evidence of your funding before you begin a course!! If you do not have funding in place, you cannot obtain a visa!!

4. There is minimal support for ESL students.

Many international students from abroad are treated like second class citizens at university in the UK. There is a serious lack of adequate ESL/ELD programs, which fundamentally undermine the overall quality and effectiveness of university education. The number of ESL students is highly disproportionate to the amount of ESL and/or Bilingual teachers and without the number of necessary trained ESL/Bilingual teachers, and lack of first language support, students can receive poor marks.

5. Some Universities are only after your money!

The misselling of university education to international students is one of the biggest scandals in the UK. Overseas students applying to study in Britain often find themselves forced to pay tuition fees twice in order to secure a place at their chosen college, while others have discovered they have to pay more when they arrive in the country! It is a common perception that International students have lots of money, and so are being misled by their university and are cheated out of thousands of pounds by UK universities, with no avenue to reclaim the money.

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