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Tips for students travelling to the UK
Nabiha Ismail Wangde
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July 11, 2007

With departure dates rapidly approaching, Indian students are booking tickets and preparing to leave for international universities.

To ease their concerns and answer their questions, we've asked students who are already studying abroad to share their experiences.

Today, we share the story of Nabiha Ismail Wangde.

completed my Master's of Science in Biotechnology at Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, UK in 2004. Overall, it was wonderful to study in a totally different academic environment.

One of the striking features of studying in the UK is that the structured system of written coursework -- labs, projects and regular exams -- encourages you to grasp concepts through active learning and interaction.

Essay based assignments ensured that we read and studied the theory of a topic, while 'practicals' and a two month project in the lab enabled us to learn a variety of 'real-life' scientific techniques and skills.

Usually you are assigned mentors from within the faculty. Don't hesitate to ask them what is required of you in any specific assignment, or if you need guidance in a particular area. They will be more than happy to help!

Also there will always be a student service centre within your university that will try their best to help you in any query, be it extension of visa, finding suitable accommodation or looking for a part-time job hence trying to make your stay there a pleasant one.

Moreover, we were encouraged to contact our professors and other members of the faculty at any time, should any difficulties arise. The library, aptly called the learning centre, was excellent. It was fully equipped with networked computers, printers and photocopiers on each floor, scanners, study rooms, audio visual areas and rooms to practice presentations. The best part was that it would be open 24 hours during weekdays (this facility exists in almost all universities in the UK).

Homesickness can sometimes be an issue, but at the beginning I was so busy exploring and discovering the city and its sights, that I didn't find the time to be lonely. I only missed my parents and felt homesick when I fell ill with the flu.

Comfortingly, international students constitute a good percentage of Sheffield, so I never really felt out of place. Also, Sheffield is considered one of the safest and friendliest cities in the UK.

The university offered a two day orientation programme, exclusively for international students, a week prior to the commencement of our courses. Not only did we get familiarised with the city and the university, we all built great friendships that lasted well beyond graduation.

Moreover, all universities have various clubs and societies like the Indian club, Christian, Hindu and Islamic Societies and many others.

Here are a few tips that students travelling to the UK might appreciate:

My final advice to any student travelling to the UK is: don't be afraid to ask!

Things may appear intimidating at the beginning, but once you get used to learning in such a challenging way, you will thoroughly enjoy it.


~ Are you a student who is studying/ has studied abroad? What advice would you have for other students who may soon be pursuing studies in a foreign country? What are your experience as an international student? What were the things you wished you knew before you left home? Write to us at and we will feature your experiences right here.

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