10 Things to know before you land on the UK soil

10 Things to know before you land on the UK soil

Being an international student brings a whirlpool of emotions that include nervousness, anticipation, excitement, bewilderment, enthusiasm, exuberant, determined, combative, frantic and what not. Its a brave thing you are doing, and it will scare you and make you happy at the same time. So, while you sit trying to make that checklist, we would like to make a small contribution. Following are 10 things every international student should know before going to UK.

  1. Visas and Paperwork: Make sure you have the complete paperwork and the correct visas. It is not hard to get, and we at Shiksha Overseas help you through the process, but in any case, make sure you have it all at the ready.
  2. Part time jobs to work with study: If you wish to get those extra bucks to cater to your daily expenses providing that small bit of financial aid, need not worry. UK is very flexible with international employment. There are flexible jobs with timings to fit in your routine beside your studying and academic routine. They pay on hourly basis and generally it is good enough to cater your needs. Jobs like waiting tables, job at a supermarket, bar work or even promotional work pay good and are easy to adjust in your schedule.
  3. Student Bank Accounts:In UK, it is advisable for all students to have a student bank account. With decent sized no interest overdrafts of up to £2000, these accounts also often include gadgets and offers like railcards to get you to choose that specific bank. However UK banks are quite strict about new accounts as there is credit attached and they require a thorough inspection of your documents. You will need an identification (passport should do the trick), proof of address (you will need both, address proof of home as well as from UK), proof of income (worry not, with a credit check and an interview, they just want to make sure that you can maintain your account) and the confirmation letter from the university you will be studying at.
  4. University Bursaries: Many universities offer bursaries to international students which cover part of your expenses in UK. There are also external charities that do so. There is different criteria for different universities but the main few are academic brilliance, developing international relations and encouraging student population diversity in the university. It is advised to everyone to look into the bursary schemes and terms of the university they wish to apply to.
  5. Storage of luggage during semester breaks: Starting from the day you leave India, you will have to think about shipping all your goods to UK and storage facilities for when you travel back definitely. Your accommodation might not provide you storage facility between semesters. However, there are two options for this situation. Firstly, there are good storage unit suppliers who will guarantee the safety of your belongings until your return. This is the primary, cheap and most efficient thing to chose. Secondly, you could also try to sort out your accommodation for the next semester and store your stuff there, but this will likely be more expensive.
  6. Travel in UK: There are many options to make your travel cheap and convenient in UK. Firstly, for all local travels, make sure you have a student bus pass or you could consider cycling. Stagecoach is a bus company in UK that offers a bus pass UniRider which makes your travel very cheap and efficient within the city. In London, you could look at the tube for the fastest transport. Also, prefer getting an Oyster card in London. For within the country travel, you should get a young person’s railcard which entitles you to 1/3rd discount on all travels. Also, booking your tickets in advance can get you discounts as much as 80%. The cheapest train fares are available at First Transpennine Express. You could also opt for bus travel for inter city. It is a cheaper replacement for trains but much more time taking. Megabus (cheapest) and National Express (largest coach network) are the best picks. For traveling back home, you could compare flights at Opodo and choose the cheapest and most convenient flights for your travel. Also, you could avail exclusive travel discounts for students at speacialist student suppliers like StudentUniverse.
  7. Accommodation: This is where you will be spending a lot of your time and it is important you choose the right option. You could either live on-campus in university accommodation or off-campus local properties that are available for student letting listed in agents directory by landlords. However, it is suggested that students choose on campus accommodation for first year as it is more convenient as it will help you in all possible ways to settle in a new country and also is a great place to make friends; and then you go for alternative accommodations with the friends they make at the university. When looking at university accommodations, make sure you choose the right one. The cheapest halls might not be the best ones. Also, there are international student special halls with more experienced staff that help you adjust better by catering to all your needs.
  8. International Calls: UK operates on the GSM band which is what most service providers in India use. Thus, you could carry your phone and the same could be used. All you will need is a new sim card. PAYG (Pay as you go) is a good way to top your phone when your credit runs out as it helps you keep an eye on your expenses. For international calls, there are many service providers that have very low costs for international calls. RebTel (with cost as low as just 1p per minute), Lebara and Lycamobile are a few suck providers. Also, you always have the option to skype.
  9. Food: There are plenty options for vegetarians, non-vegetarians and even vegans. Being an island surrounded by sea, it is a great place for all sea food lovers. It is also loaded with meat. For vegetarians, all sorts of vegetables, breads, fruits, beans, rice, etc are easily available at the supermarkets. Also, a lot of synthetic meat brands are available. The local supermarkets and newsagents have great deals and discounts on all food items including vegetable and dairy products. If you hit the supermarket in the evening at the time it is about to close, you might get great discounts on the perishable items. There are also sandwich shops available at every nook and cranny. Kebab shops are open during late hours if you ever end up working/studying late and feel hungry in the middle of the night.
  10. Pack for the weather: Before you leave India, make sure you have packed right. The weather in UK is mostly wet and cold. Pack a lot of warm clothes and waterproof outfits as you will need them. The summers are not so hot either. Specially for a student from India, the summers will be pretty pleasant and the winters might feel freezing. Since your student budget won’t allow you the luxury of a heater, you will require the warm wardrobe.

With this, we hope your stay in UK is eventful and memorable. Prepare well, plan awesome and enjoy every last bit. And while you make the preparations to be there, we map out for you a easy road to get there. By taking care of all the formalities of studying abroad, we allow you to cherish the moments of anticipation and excitement. We at Shiksha Overseas provide you with the Roadmap to Success.

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Why Study Abroad?

Why Study Abroad?

We all face this question when thinking if an overseas education would help us better than one in India. It is a tough decision. Leaving your country, leaving your families, leaving your roots behind to build a career outside. Of course there are two sides to every coin. Studying abroad has its pros and cons too. Let’s take USA for example. On one hand you get to live and study in the greatest country with the best options for higher education. But, at the same time, it burns a hole in your pocket! Just when you think you have found your calling, you are surrounded by a million questions. A choice. A dilemma engulfs you. We give you the pros and cons of education outside, and solutions to them too. Weigh your factors, decide what you wish to do and maybe Shiksha Overseas can help pave your way.

Pros to studying overseas:

1. First and foremost, the education system. There is no doubt that the education quality at US or UK or Germany is far better than an Indian degree in many ways. They provide you the right exposure, a global platform, a chance to select from a wide range of courses and streams and the best faculty to guide and train you that won’t be available in India .

2. You witness a new culture. Studying abroad allows you to experience the world of the ‘foreigners’. How they live, work, celebrate, party, and everything. You get to spend quality time in a whole new place learning their culture.

3. You get to travel! We only have so many trips round the sun. If you choose a program in India, be assured you won’t find the time during the program to travel unless you take a few leaves and plan a trip or jump into an exchange program or unless your college offers you a trip. Either way, you would have a lot less time as compared to choosing an overseas education program. Then you have ample time to explore the entire country! And you would have gained more knowledge and experience and lived more life in those years of education than you every would in a few trips abroad.

4. Two words. Global Network. Just think about it. Wherever you go, you will meet hundreds of people. People from that country, people from around the world. It is a huge opportunity to make friends and have an international network for future. And being Indians, we know very well what a well accomplished network of people can help you with.

5. You get to learn a new language. If you study in destinations like Germany, China, or France, you will have the opportunity to learn their native language. Even in countries like US or UK, you might make friends from different parts of the world and you can always indulge in exchanging each others skills which includes teaching the other your language and learning theirs. In the world of globalization, we can definitely benefit from knowing a different language.

6. You get to live a different life. Their routine isn’t like the one we live. If you read our post Life in US , you will see how different a lifestyle abroad can be. It is definitely a cherished break from the routine we follow.

7. Jobs after graduating: Once you graduate, you can always come home for a job. But the much taken option is working in your host country. A job in their country will help you pay back that education loan much easily than a job in India would. And with the current status of the rupee, earning in foreign currency will also be a big gain for your family back home. The money you send back will be of much greater value here.

Although there are a lot more pros to living and studying outside, but having listed the major few, let’s begin with the few cons that there are.

1. Cost of education is higher abroad as compared to India.
Solution: You could apply for scholarships. Though those are hard to come by, with proper guidance, you could raise your chances of attaining one. Also, there’s always education loans. Shiksha Overseas helps you find the best loan options with Credila.

2. Cost of living is higher abroad than back home. Of course when you start a job, it gets even, but till the time you are studying, you have to deal with a lot of financial problems.
Solution: You could always do a part time job along with your education. Also, your education loan will help cover your basic stay expenses.

3. Clearing examinations like GMAT or GRE and TOEFL or IELTS are a must even for non-English speaking countries. Solution: You could hire professionals for the proper coaching and easily succeed in clearing them with the required score. Shiksha Overseas provides you training for TOEFL and IELTS.

Keeping this in mind, you have a decision to make. Study in India or studying abroad? And if you do chose to study abroad, you should know us. And we at Shiksha Overseas would love to know you, and guide you throuh the hectic procedure of applying for education abroad. That is what we are here for, and that is what we do. We provide you with the Roadmap to Success.

The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

This is for all who love to travel ! Go ahead. Explore the world. The world has a lot to offer to those who are willing to grasp it. We at Shiksha Overseas are here to give you the opportunity to travel and learn; to live a life that is new to your soul; to study at a place that opens the doors leading to success for you. Take the road less traveled by because oh! It makes all the difference. And we are here to guide you to it. We provide you with the Roadmap to Success.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Life In The US

Life In The US

With a bag of dreams, pocket full of aspirations and gleaming eyes to see a world of possibilities; you will be entering a new culture carrying a little piece of home in your heart. A new country, different people, different lifestyles will be your own for the next few years. And if you like that better, the number of years might even increase. It is on you. It is all in your hands. You are the traveler. You are the student aspiring to be somebody in this world of nobody-s. You wish for better education options. Absolutely no offence to the Indian education system but it is beyond question that a degree from the US carries much more weight on our CVs than one from an Indian institution. Getting into prestigious Indian colleges is no easier than walking on water. The competition and struggle is breathtakingly difficult. So, when we have an option to travel to a different country, study at a different education system, learn a new culture and obtain a degree that is way better than a large number of colleges in India (excluding all the prestigious ones with all due respect), who would ever think of missing out on that option?

Life in the US is very different from the one we’ve been living in India. Indians are a pampered breed. We have all our services at our doorstep. Food, groceries, clothing, laundry, dry cleaning, housemaids, car services, banking, etc. is all done with one phone call. There are even “work from home” options available. We could spend our lives at home without having to step out ever! We are pampered to a point of no return. We are used to getting our work done the easy way. In the US the lifestyle is quite different. Nobody pampers you. Nobody does your work for you. Nobody gives you services at your doorstep. It is a different culture, different people with different mindsets, it’s a new world. A world ready to be explored by you!

Here are 7 major differences you’d find between the lifestyles of India and US.

  1. The Education System: If you think your education will be as it was in India, you are in a very big misconception my dear friend. You don’t get spoon-fed by your faculty. You don’t get to copy paste your friend’s assignment. You don’t get to learn one textbook and pass the examination. You don’t get to attend a course “just because”. The education system is difficult to adapt to at first. But eventually, you know if played by the rules, you will find your path. The classroom is fun and interactive with less lecturing and more practical knowledge. The professors won’t spoon-feed you but they will be available to help all the time. The difference between group study and copying one’s work is well understood and you actually get to bank on your friend’s knowledge along with yours. It is difficult, but it is fun.
  2. Medical Insurance is a must: or you will end up being bankrupt every time you are down with a fever. The medical industry in the US is very expensive as compared to India. It is advisable to get a medical insurance before you set your life there.
  3. Residence is away from work and grocery stores: Here’s a scenario. You wake up. You want to have peanut butter and jam for breakfast only to realize you’re out of peanut butter. In India, you would generally step out of your house, walk 10 steps, enter a convenience store and buy a bottle of peanut butter. This is not possible in the US. If you face a scenario like this, you will have to curb your craving until the next day. You would have to drive to the grocery store. Since it’s quite a drive, you would want to make the trip more useful and purchase all the groceries you need altogether. This way, you’ve save another trip because gas isn’t exactly free. And then, once you’re home with your groceries, if you still want to have peanut butter and jam, go for it. Or you could wait until the next morning to see if your wake up fetish remains.
  4. Nobody will do your laundry: For a student, this is probably the most annoying concept. Nobody is going to wash your clothes for you. You will have to find the time between the classes and assignments and exams and parties and tell your girlfriend “see you later” once in a while to be able to go to the laundry room and wash your dirty underwear. But there is definitely one perk. Every time you tell your mom about this, she’ll go all “oh my child has to work so hard” and shower you with her love.
  5. Transport and Connectivity is a GO: Yes. No more traveling in buses or local trains with one man’s sweaty armpit smashed to your nose. There is comfortable public transport available everywhere. There’s air conditioning everywhere it is needed, and a heater where that is required. So, traveling will never be as tedious or tiring as it is in India.
  6. Freedom: There is more freedom in the US as compared to India. Here, if you question a law enforcement officer any sort of question over something he did, you might end up behind bars. In the US, there is freedom of speech, as in, actually allowed and not just on paper. You can have any sort of lifestyle you want without being judged over it or having to face “society”. Of course there is a difference in opinion everywhere. You might have a different experience with some people, but overall, you have a lot more freedom in the US as compared to India.
  7. The culture: The US culture is more open minded, less judgmental and allows more freedom than Indian culture. Honestly, they won’t even care! Here, you father’s friend’s wife’s kitty party member’s sister-in-law would also be interested to know what you are doing in life. In the US, the chain would stop at “father’s friend”. People there allow more personal space. To them, privacy is of utmost importance at home or work. It is definitely a culture to experience.

The US is a vibrant country. It is nothing but an opportunity to learn new ways and grow as a person! We at Shiksha Overseas, have just that in mind. We make sure that you get to grab all the opportunities that come down your path, and choose whatever is best for you. A life and education in the US is the dream of many, and we are here to make yours a reality. Find the best counseling team at Shiksha Overseas to guide you through this journey. After all, we provide you with the Roadmap to Success.