Leaving home to study abroad is an exciting stage in a young student’s life. 

They’ll experience a new culture, meet new people and study their chosen subject. 

The UK is one of the most popular places for international students. 

In 2020-21, there were 605,130 international students in the UK, 152,905 were from the EU and 452,225 were non-EU. 

Studying abroad is awesome, but there are a few things students should keep in mind. 

This article will discuss some of the upcoming challenges. But also offer advice for international students coming to study in the UK. 

Visa Applications

One of the first things international students coming to the UK must go through is applying for a student visa. 

You can apply for your visa six months before the start of your course. 

If you want to take time with the application, come back to it and upload supporting documents, you can log in and out of your gov.uk account. 

Get an eSIM plan from ZIM to stay connected wherever you are and make edits to your visa application whenever you like. 

Visa processing times vary, but you should get a decision within three weeks of your application. There are fast-track options where you can get a decision within five working days or by the end of the next working day. 

But this depends on where you’re applying from. 

Find out if your visa centre offers fast-track services on the VFS Global website

The visa costs £363 if you’re applying outside the UK. You’ll also need to pay the health surcharge. The cost depends on how long you’re staying in the UK. Check how much it’ll cost you before starting your application. 


Most first-year students go straight into their university halls. This can be costly, and some students end up unhappy with their living situation. They didn’t know they had other options. 

Student accommodation is becoming a more popular option. 

You still live with students, but you can choose your location and room.

Generally, it’s cheaper than living on campus, but this varies across the UK.  

Collegiate, Vita Student and Downing are some top student accommodation providers. Research them and others before deciding where you’d like to stay. 

Some students may want to rent a flat or house. There is more freedom this way. You’re in charge of where and who you live with. 

Some of the legal requirements with renting as a student are proving your status. You’ll have to show your landlord a letter from your university confirming your course and your student visa. 

You may need a guarantor who lives in the UK, but this isn’t realistic for all international students. If you don’t have a guarantor, be prepared to pay 3-6 months of rent upfront. 

Spareroom, Gumtree, Zoopla and Rightmove are great resources for hunting down your future flat. If you’re deep into searching for your next place in the UK, consider downloading ZIM the App and getting an eSIM plan. You’ll stay connected and can continue your search through your mobile anytime. 

Scholarships for International Students 

It’s always worth looking into university scholarship programs for international students coming to the UK. You never know what you could find.

International students come to the UK for quality education. 

But tuition fees can be expensive. A scholarship cuts costs.

The Kotzen Scholarship at Simmons University is an example of a full scholarship for undergraduate international students. 

To qualify for the Kotzen Scholarship, you must show excellent academic achievement. The scholarship provides full tuition but also full room and board. Plus, an additional $3,000 for academic goals. 

The University of Bristol offers the Think Big scholarship from £5,000 to £10,000 per year. This can only be used towards tuition, but international students worldwide can apply. You’ll need to be enrolled on a full-time course. Then, you’ll be presented with three questions. These questions want you to explain why you deserve the scholarship. Talk about your skills and any proud achievements. After applying for the Think Big scholarship, you’ll automatically be considered for other international student scholarships.

Research and learn about UK universities’ scholarships

Three Helpful Apps

Studying in the UK as an international student is a fantastic experience. We want to suggest three apps you should download and use. 

You will be doing a lot of writing with your studies. Grammarly is the perfect tool to help you with grammar and spelling. Don’t worry about making errors with this app. 

You may want to earn some money on the side while you study. But a job with lots of hours isn’t ideal. Unigigster is an app that helps students find part-time work and get paid fast. 

Moving into a new flat with friends can be fun. Keeping track of bills and who owes what is not fun. Splitwise helps keep track of shared expenses, so everyone is on the same page. 

Download ZIM and get these apps to make your transition into life in the UK that much easier. 

You’ll return home from studying abroad with many lessons learnt and memories created. 

Being prepared before you go is essential. Now that you have a few good starting tips, you’ll know what to expect. 

The UK has a lot to offer. You should be very excited to be studying there. Don’t forget to stay connected. Get yourself an eSIM plan from ZIM. With our help, you’ll be online as soon as you arrive.

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