Life after IELTS, the realities of student life in a foreign land
By Prachi, Masters graduate from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales, UK (2019)
Every individual story varies according to an individual’s life experience. However, there is a common denominator. Today, many Indian students aspire to pursue their university level education abroad, in places like UK, USA, Europe, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
To get there we have to first master English, then of course, pass a recognised English assessment such as IELTS, TOEFL, UKVIELTS, but this is just the starting point. It is an awesome feeling to see one’s dreams turned into reality but that is also the point when the hard work begins.
Right from the moment you enter university you will be faced with millions of students speaking English very fast with a variety of different accents. This is a challenge for the most confident of English speaker. Finally, you must learn to stand on your own two feet mastering things like online banking, finding somewhere to live, dealing with landlords, getting your National Insurance number, registering yourself with the NHS to name but a few.
Having a guarantor who lived in the country was a real help to me, as a trusted source of local knowledge is vital. Also making use of the international student union is a must. Register with them from day one because it is the best place to get help and advice. Finally, download your university and banking apps to your mobile phone as these become your new best friends. For example, in Cardiff Metropolitan University we use Moodle to help us to get access to each facility.
Then there are a few things to watch out for. Safeguard yourself from spam emails and spam landline calls and be very careful with your banking details. For example, never give your bank details or the pin code to your top-up card to random callers no matter how genuine they seem. Banks will never ask for any confidential details from you over the phone. If you get a part time job alongside your studies, make sure it is with a reputable organisation, they should ask for your National Insurance number and will transfer your salary directly to your international bank account.
Finally, make the most of your time there. Participate in all the workshops, seminars, events and educational trips conducted by the university or by your respective course directors. Take part in social events arranged by the university as it allows you to meet a variety of people, get to know more about different cultures and explore new places. Have a positive learning attitude and be open to voluntary job roles as they give you vital work experience and boost the skill section on your resume as well.
To conclude, I would say remember one thing, dreams do come true, do not be afraid of dreaming but be prepared to work hard to turn them into reality. “You are the creator, you can choose. Say to yourself, I am ready to work hard to achieve what I really desire. I will choose, I will write my own destiny”. We only have one life to live friends and it up to us whether we stand out from the crowd or mingled into it.
Wishing you all the best with your next steps.
Sending lots of love and light