Words by Fay Millar


You've won a coveted place at university and are excited about coming to study in the UK. But before you've even stepped on a plane, you start to worry - How will I cope? Will I understand everyone? What if they don't like me? What if I run out of money?

We know going to university for the first time can be exciting and frightening in equal measure but even more so if you’re doing it in a different country – after all, it’s a huge move you’re making.

We also know, you have nothing to fear – this is going to be one of the best times of your life! We’ve teamed up with Swansea University to prove you really do have nothing to worry about.


Feeling homesick


Most students feel homesick, and if they say they don't they're probably lying. Moving out of home for the first time is a big step, made even harder if you're moving countries as well.

Make sure you find out about counselling services your uni runs and get involved with any international student support groups. Not only will it give you someone to talk to but you'll meet other people in a similar position who might become your friends. Swansea has 120 societites and 50 sports clubs where you can meet new people and make friends.

International maritime lawyer and former student Debbie Obiegu says: “When I first arrived, I knew I had a found a place I could call home. Home is a place where you find warmth and laughter, a place where you can express yourself, learn and become a better person. I found all that and more in Swansea.”

Money worries


We've yet to meet a student who doesn't worry about money - rocketing tuition fees, living costs, books, equipment and money for going out - there are a very few who don't feel the pressure.

You'll know about any fees up front and you can get detailed info from your uni about average living costs to help you budget. Many unis also offer scholarships to international students to help with tuition fees.

Failing your studies


Once you're accepted into a UK university, universities will generally do all they can to support you through your studies. High failure rates don’t look great for them and of course, they want you to succeed, so there is plenty of support on hand to make sure you achieve your goals.

Getting used to a new culture


No matter how open-minded you are, a new culture can be a bit of a shock, even if you’re just moving from one European country to another.

Give yourself time to adjust and accept you might not like everything about UK culture. Talk to the university’s counsellors if it is really getting you down – a friendly ear can make all the difference.

A Swansea University spokesman says: “We have a dedicated support service for international students, providing advice on non-academic matters, including immigration, wellbeing and spiritual guidance in all major faiths.”

Language Barriers


You may have learned English from a young age but if it's not your mother tongue you might wonder what everyone is saying when you first arrive.

Key to overcoming this is to keep trying – avoid speaking your own language as much as possible and make efforts to speak English whenever you can. You’ll make silly mistakes but people will appreciate your efforts and soon English will come naturally.

Most unis also have free English language classes you can attend.

Finding somewhere to live


Moving to a new city can be stressful but never fear, all universities will support you when choosing accommodation. Once you’ve been accepted on a course they will give you lots of details about halls of residence or private accommodation available.

Crime rates


It doesn’t matter where you go or what country or city you’re in, there will always be crime of some sort. If you worry about becoming a mugging victim, you shouldn’t. Rates of this sort of thing happening are pretty low and your uni can offer you lots of advice to keep you safe and remain vigilant.





For more information about studying at Swansea University visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/.