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The international student’s guide to moving to the UK

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

Coming to the UK to study as an international student can be daunting, especially if it's your first time at university. If you have travelled halfway across the world to study, you'll have a lot of things to consider both before and once you arrive.

There's a lot to think about when it comes to studying in the UK, from visas and tuition fees to health insurance and bank accounts, so we've put together a step-by-step guide to get you prepared!

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Student visa

One of the most stressful parts of choosing the right English course in the UK is knowing which visa you can or should use to enter the country.

At Think English, we can offer you advice on which visa to apply for and guide you throughout the process. Please click here to check what kind of visa you need.

Standard Visitor visa

If you would like to study English in the UK for up to 6 months (180 days), you can use a Standard Visitor visa. You can come to the UK as a Standard Visitor:

  • For tourism, for example on a holiday or to see your family and friends.

  • For certain business activities, for example attending a meeting.

  • To do a short course of study.

Short Term Study visa

The Short-Term Study visa is for you if you would like to study English in the UK for between 6 and 11 months. It costs £186 for a Short-term Study visa.

EU Citizens

If you are an EU citizen and you were living in the UK before 1 January 2021, you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living and working here.

If you would like to come to the UK for 6 months or less as an EU citizen you won’t need a visa, but you can’t work in the UK. The purpose of your visit must be to study English, see the UK as a tourist or go on a business trip.


You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your online application. It usually costs £470. This is so you can use the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Click here for more details.

Improve your language skills

During your time abroad, it is critical to improve your English whilst undergoing your academic and study skills. Improving your English skills will help you to communicate more effectively with native speakers and boost your confidence.

You will need to speak English through your studies and daily life in the UK so you can push yourself to improve your language skills by practicing speaking before you arrive. If you are not in touch with any native English speakers, you can still practice with English-speaking friends in your country or even speak English to yourself.

Reading in English can help you expand your vocabulary and have a better understanding of other cultures. Magazines and daily newspapers are good examples of informal English in context, particularly idiomatic idioms and phrasal verbs. Reading more formal literature can also aid in the development of formal vocabulary required for academic writing.

Set up a student bank account

If you want to stay in the UK for more than a few months, why not open a student bank account. If you use an international account for the duration of your studies, you may be subject to extra charges and fees that you could easily avoid.

Opening a bank account may be a lengthy procedure, including paperwork and identification, so do your homework ahead of time to choose which student account is ideal for you.

Study a range of English language courses in the UK with Think English.

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