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Tips For Moving To The UK

posted on Monday 26th November

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If you’re applying to study at Harven School of English from overseas, it may seem a little daunting travelling to a new country and settling into a different culture.

To help ease the uncertainty, we’ve put together these top tips to ensure you have a smooth start to life at the school.

1. Apply for a visa

If you live outside of the UK or EU, the first thing you need to do before making any further plans is to apply for your visa. You can check whether you require a UK visa online.

If you are only studying for a short course, you may be eligible for a short-term study visa. This is valid for up to 6 months and can be extended for a stay of up to 11 months for English language courses. If you are applying to study for a longer course, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa.

Make sure you leave plenty of time for your application to be processed. To find out more about UK student visa requirements and fees, please visit the Government’s Visas & Immigration website.

2. Set up a UK bank account

This will save a lot of hassle with extra fees and other charges by using an account from your home country.

To open a basic or international student bank account in the UK, you will need to show some documentation. This usually includes a passport, visa and the address of where you will be staying in the UK but may vary from bank to bank.

It’s a good idea to choose a bank that is not too far from the school, and one that will not charge you a lot of money for international transfers if you wish to send and receive money from home.

3. Transport your belongings

If you’re moving to the UK from another EU country, then you shouldn’t have to pay customs duties on any of your belongings.

If you are arriving from outside the EU, you may be able to claim tax exemption on some of the charges applied. Your shipping company will ask you to fill out a Transfer of Residence Form (ToR1) so that customs officers can work out how much tax and duty you owe.

4. Make a note of your accommodation

At Harven School of English, we provide home stay accommodation for all our students. Make sure you know all the details of where you’ll be staying before you leave home.

To find out more about your accommodation while studying at the school, please visit our Accommodation guide.

5. Sort out your healthcare

The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s state healthcare system providing a wide range of services including doctor appointments, hospital treatment and dental care. You should register with a doctor as soon as possible after your arrival in the UK.

Those applying for a Tier 4 student visa and coming to the UK for 6 months or longer are required to pay an immigration health surcharge as part of their visa application fee. This allows you free access to NHS healthcare at a hospital or GP surgery.

Students are asked to pay £150 per year, although you will only pay £75 if you are studying for 6 months or less in an academic year.

6. Calculate living costs

It’s important to work out how much money you will need to cover all your expenses so you know how much you’ll need in your account each month, and don’t go overdrawn.

This will include food, transport, study materials, and socialising.

7. Investigate transportation

It’s a good idea to think about how you will get around Woking (and the surrounding areas should you wish to explore further afield), as well as how you will travel to the school from your accommodation.

Bikes are convenient, but you may also want to consider walking (especially during the spring and summer months), or taking a bus/taxi.

8. Prepare to study

Contact the school for information on which books you will need for your studies. You can then look into purchasing them online, or from one of the many bookshops in Woking.

You can also look at any appropriate online materials to help you get started.

9. Enjoy yourself!

Studying an English language course isn’t all about hitting the books! Woking has a lot to offer in terms of pubs, restaurants, theatre, sports, art and other recreational activities.

Socialising is such an important aspect of life at our school, as it encourages cross-cultural communication, and gives you the opportunity to improve your own English. Our Cultural Programme will help with this, but it’s great to plan your own nights out with any friends you make at the school!

We hope these tips make settling into the UK and the school a little easier. For more information and advice, please read our other blog posts.