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Student Life at WGU: Six Top Tips for Moving to the UK

I was only 18 when I took the big step. A baby still, some would say. I remember myself as a child watching Harry Potter and dreaming in front of the TV about moving to the UK.

Growing up, I used to flirt with the idea that one day I will go everywhere in the world. And I had to start somewhere. For me, this somewhere was the UK.

Moving to the UK wasn’t really the first time I was going to live abroad on my own. When I was 17, my mum sent me over to Sevilla in Spain, to be an au pair. It was only for a month and half over the summer, I knew I was coming back but more importantly, I didn’t have to do any of the planning and organising!

This time however, it was different. First of all, maman was not going to organise everything. And secondly, who knows if I was ever going to come back. (Spoiler alert, I did not!)

It wasn’t easy. I don’t believe moving to any new place to be an easy affair. But I had always dreamt of packing up my French life and starting again somewhere new. This was my time.

I know for a fact that when it comes to moving or travelling, some people are slightly over-anxious, stressed and over-prepared. Which was not the case for me. To be honest, I was more focused on the move itself. As for what to expect, the pros and cons or a few tips and advice, I had very little information. And I realised fast enough that it was a big mistake.

I mean, I didn’t even have an umbrella with me when I moved here. To the UK! Which is honestly the first advice I would give to any one moving here. Do not forget your umbrella (Britain being a rainy country is not just a myth).

Moving to the UK was for me also a life turning point.

I remember the first excitements. The suspense and waiting leading up to that moment when it is time to leave.

I remember the first new people I met, the friendships I built along the way. The more you travel, the more you will meet people coming from different backgrounds. And if there is something I will never get bored of it is listening to people’s stories. Everyone has a story to tell.

At first I was worried I was just going to be left alone in a foreign country, making new friends as an adult is not as easy as when you’re still just a kid. But out in the world people seem to be more friendly than back home. And chatty. Within a month, I already had a new group of friends. If you are willing to leave your ego at home if shouldn’t be too hard anyway. Meeting new people is just a matter of not being scared of talking to others.

The possibility of learning a new language was also really rewarding. Hard sometimes, but rewarding. When I first came here, my English was just as bad as my Chinese. And I do not speak Chinese.

Moving to the UK allowed me to discover more about myself. Stepping out of my comfort zone made me grow as a person.

And also, as an endlessly curious person, I needed to satisfy my curiosity. What was Harry Potter’s country really like?

They say the grass is always greener on the other side.

Maybe it’s your time to go and check it out!

And because I am such a nice person, here are a few tips if you’re planning on (or even just thinking about) moving to the UK:

  1. UMBRELLA! You need to prepare yourself for the British weather. Only in the UK can you find all kinds of weather in one day. You must always be prepared!
  2. Do some research. Trust me, you want to know a little bit about the destination you’re going to. There are always some important factors to consider, such as, for instance the cost of living. You can also search for Facebook groups related to the University, where you can discuss any concerns and ask any questions you have before arriving.
  3. Get connected. Will your current phone work in the UK? If you’re from Europe with the new roaming free law, you can now use the minutes, texts and data from your plan while abroad to stay in contact with friends and family back in your country. If not, there is always the option of a pay as you go sim or even a one year contract. They are a few cheap student mobile deals available on the market.
  4. Do not come here with a big full suitcase. Even though you might think that you will need most of your unnecessary stuff, you will come back home with double the amount of unnecessary stuff you came with in the first place.
  5. Money! Make sure you save a little bit before, being a student is actually expensive. (Really I should say alcohol and going out is really expensive) It will also allow you more mobility, there are so many great places to visit in the UK!
  6. Working in the UK. If you want to make some extra money while studying, you might want to be familiar with the requirements and what your rights and options are. In any case, you will need a National Insurance number.

The UK is a great destination for those looking to make a move. And trust me, if you make the decision you won’t regret it!

About the author

Ophélie Lawson

Ophélie Lawson

Ophélie Lawson is a 23-year-old broadcasting, journalism and media communications student at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. Born in France and raised in Paris, Ophélie enjoys low cost travel and her dream is to make documentaries. She posts her travel photos on her instagram feed ophelieelk.